With more than 50 bushfires burning across New South Wales, the AustralianVeterinary Association (AVA) is warning of serious impacts of bushfires onAustralian wildlife and pets.

Dr Julia Crawford, President of the AVA, said that with so many Australiansliving in bushfire zones it’s critical that they are prepared in an emergencyand pet owners should include their pets in any emergency plans.

“Planning is key, and can not only help save human lives, but also save pets’lives.

“The decision to evacuate or stay at home is always a critical one. Try toconfine your pets to the safest enclosed room of the house, such as thebathroom, where they can be quickly collected if you need to leave urgently,and make sure you have their carry cages and leads on hand.

“Put together an emergency kit for your animals with lots of non-perishablefood and water in spill-proof containers.

“If you become separated from your pet in an emergency evacuation advise localvets, animal welfare shelters and rescue organisations. It’s crucial that yourpet is microchipped and registered with the local council to make it easier tobe re-united in an emergency,” said Dr Crawford.

Fires don’t just threaten people, their homes, pets and livestock, but thewildlife that make their homes in bushes, hollow logs, trees and underground.

“While it’s absolutely tragic when wildlife is destroyed or injured in abushfire it’s important not to put your own life at risk when rescuing ananimal.

“Extra care should be taken with venomous or aggressive animals. If you findinjured or orphaned wildlife call your nearest wildlife rescue organisation orlocal vet,” urged Dr Crawford.

Veterinarians across fire affected areas are working with wildlife rescuegroups and treating pets and wildlife in the aftermath of the fires.

The NSW bushfire information hotline is 1800 362 361. AVA resources onprotecting horses, livestock and pets in natural disasters are available fordownload from the AVA website at https://www.vetvoice.com.au/ec/animals-and-natural-disasters/

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