Why an ultrasound machine is essential to this rescue group
FRIENDS of the Koala are celebrating the chance to further help koalas with the newest addition to their clinic - an ultrasound machine.
North Coast Radiology (NCR) donated the second-hand machine, which will help give a better understanding of koala's health and result in fewer trips to the vet.
Ulstrasound Team Leader at NCR Jodie Dwyer said older equipment is typically sold off, usually to vets.
"We've recently upgraded our equipment but in this instance the timing was good as Friends of the Koala was seeking a machine," Ms
"We wanted to support the community and the good work they do."
Friends of the Koala Inc. is licensed by the NSW Office of the Environment and Heritage to rescue, rehabilitate and release koalas to the wild across the six Northern Rivers Local Government areas of Ballina, Byron Bay, Kyogle, Lismore, Richmond Valley and Tweed.
In an average year they rescue 300 koalas, although in the 2016/2017 financial year rescued 437, and rescue more koalas than any other koala rehabilitation group in NSW.
Sadly, they generally only release 15 per cent of those rescued to the wild, as the remainder either die, are euthenased or go into permanent care because they're un-releasable.
President Ros Irwin said their rehabilitation work requires them to have koalas examined and treated by vets, which entails many visits either to the Keen Street Vet Clinic or (often as well as) either Currumbin or Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospitals.
"In NSW all females rescued have to be scanned by ultrasound to identify whether they have cysts on their ovaries, and of course if they do, then generally they are euthenased," Dr Irwin said.
Friends of the Koala is in the process of upgrading one of two buildings to provide a Triage, Treatment & Pathology Clinic at the East Lismore Care Centre.
Dr Irwin said the ultrasound machine and clinic was as to enable them to make an early assessment of the state of the koalas and hence lead to fewer trips to the vets or at least have a better understanding of what needs to happen.
"We have volunteers who are qualified vet nurses and have recently decided to employ a vet for five hours each week to check out the health of our koalas in care," she said.
Ms Dwyer showed the vet nurse how to use the new equipment.
Dr Irwin said the with clinic operating they should be able to reduce the number of times koalas have to be transported elsewhere.
"Every time koalas are handled and transported it increases their stress levels, which can result in diseases such as chlamydia or retrovirus becoming active."