Training the next generation of Specialist Vets in the Netherlands
Vets play a key role in an oiled wildlife response, which is why EUROWA has developed a training path specifically for veterinarians. For the first time, vet students in the Netherlands completed EUROWA Specialist Vet training.
The EUROWA Specialist Vet course is aimed at vets and animal keepers who may or may not have experience working with injured wildlife, but have not yet experienced an oiled wildlife incident. The course is designed for vets who want to take responsibilities in a wildlife rehabilitation centre in an oil spill. It provides them with an understanding of the effects of oil on aquatic birds, the knowledge and skills to enable them to develop correct husbandry and herd health management and apply the necessary medical treatments.
Two courses took place in September and October 2022, hosted by the University of Utrecht Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and organised by EUROWA network member SON-Respons. The course was delivered by veterinarians Lieze Rouffaer (University of Ghent) and Marian Mensink (SON-Respons).
Veterinarians play a key function within the framework of the Dutch national oiled wildlife response plan, which foresees the setup of a tent-based temporary wildlife hospital for large incidents which exceed the capacity of the permanent centres in the Netherlands. This temporary facility was created for the Bow Jubail oil spill incident in 2018, where both course trainers were mobilised as Specialist Vets as part of the EUROWA expert team. 21 people completed the training, including 18 vet students and 3 already qualified vets, who are now part of the pool of EUROWA trained responders in the Netherlands.
The course participants reflected that the course was an interesting addition to their education. SON-Respons plans to keep this group of veterinarians on board and to involve them in national oiled wildlife preparedness exercises and part of a wider exchange group on oiled wildlife issues.
This training was made possible with the support of Rijkswaterstaat as part of the project to maintain national preparedness in the Netherlands.