Dogs, cats and their owners arrived by the car load for free health checks and vaccinations in Gunnedah.

The visit by the Animal Welfare League (AWL) and its purpose-built mobile vet truck provided complimentary vaccinations, microchipping and simple health checks for the local pets.

Event coordinator Derek Thompson said the service runs state-wide and is funded for the next three years by a grant from the NSW Department of Primary Industries.

“We travel all over rural NSW and try and visit our 22 (AWL) branches,” he said. 

“It’s all free for the community, working with the councils and our branches.

“We also visit other areas that have been hit by parvo virus and try to help out where we can.”

Mr Thompson said the mobile clinic can also advise about common concerns pet owners have with their animals such as dental disease, lumps and ear infections.

A big drawcard for many attending the Gunnedah clinic was that the services were provided free of charge and no bookings were necessary.

“The cost of living is going up and people are finding it harder to afford things so if we can give them some peace of mind their animal is okay, it helps them out,” Mr Thompson said.

The visit also helped to alleviate the demand for veterinarian services – something readily apparent to the AWL during its stops elsewhere across the state.

“We have been to a few places, Parkes and Narromine where there are  not many or no vets in the area – after COVID hit they closed up and haven’t returned,” he said.

“Other vets are being overwhelmed and not taking on new clients because the clinic can’t handle the demand.”

Karen Urquhart arrived at the Gunnedah clinic with Bobbie, a 13-week-old Moodle-cross-Pomeranian, for a vaccination and quick check-up.

The pensioner said it was her first visit to the mobile clinic and unlikely to be her last.

“This is great, it means I can help keep their health in check,” Ms Urquhart said.

Also taking advantage of the service was Trish Conway with her mature-aged former rescue dog, Sally.

Trish said the 15-year-old Labrador-Retriever is now showing her years and a free check-up was too good of an offer to pass up.

Resting calmly to the side of the excited barks of in the canine queue were five-month-old kittens, Tom and Sooky.

Their owner Emily Luxford lives on a farm and hoped the new additions to household could help them to deter rats from the property.

The AWL, which recently established a new branch in Gunnedah, saw 125 animals at the Gunnedah mobile clinic (97 dogs and 28 cats), and provided 117 vaccinations and 49 microchips. Prior to its Gunnedah visit the clinic visited Moree where 110 animals were presented. 

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