Graduate vets receive MPI funding to work in rural areas

Thirty-four graduate vets are being placed in rural areas, from Kaitaia in the far North to Gore in Southland, through the Government’s Voluntary Bonding Scheme for Veterinarians (VBS), Agriculture and Rural Communities Minister Damien O’Connor has announced.

The successful recipients will each receive funding of $55,000 over five years, in a bid to help ease the shortage of veterinarians working with production animals in our regions.

“It’s well known that there’s a real need for vets, especially in rural areas,” Damien O’Connor said.

“Since it began 12 years ago, the Voluntary Bonding Scheme for Veterinarians has made a big difference in attracting and retaining graduate vets to rural communities that can be challenging to recruit staff to. Continue reading

Regional vet graduates to receive financial boost from bonding scheme

Thirty graduate vets will receive a financial boost from the Voluntary Bonding Scheme for Veterinarians to help ease the shortage of veterinarians working with production animals in the regions, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) announced today.

Since it began 11 years ago, the ministry’s Voluntary Bonding Scheme for Veterinarians had made a huge difference in attracting graduate vets to rural areas that were traditionally challenging to staff, says Steve Penno, director investment programmes at MPI. Continue reading

Regional vet graduates to receive financial boost

Thirty-two graduate vets will receive a financial boost from the Voluntary Bonding Scheme for Veterinarians to help ease the shortage of veterinarians working with production animals in our regions, the Ministry for Primary Industries  announced today.

“Our Voluntary Bonding Scheme for Veterinarians is designed to support and boost the number of graduate vets in our regions,” says Steve Penno, director investment programmes at MPI.

“It’s available for graduates who are working with production animals such as cows, sheep, and working dogs.” Continue reading

Solving a hidden threat to New Zealand’s meat and dairy industry

Beef and lamb exports, among New Zealand’s major industries, potentially will exceed $3 billion for the first time this year. But a high prevalence of veterinary pathogens causes high rates of animal death, suffering, and decreased production, and diseases like pneumonia in sheep and mastitis in cows lack effective vaccines.

Associate Professors Bridget Stocker and Mattie Timmer, from Victoria University of Wellington, are working with AgResearch to help address this problem, developing vaccines to help prevent ovine pneumonia, with promising early results.

This is the next step in an ongoing project for the university researchers, who have spent the past few years developing a new class of vaccine adjuvant—which is an additive to a vaccine that improves the host’s immune response and increases vaccine efficacy.

During the development of this adjuvant class, the researchers, along with their PhD student, Amy Foster, worked with Professor Sho Yamasaki, from Japan, one of the world’s foremost experts in immunology. Continue reading

Massey announces Hamza Mustafa Memorial Scholarship for veterinary students

Massey University’s School of Veterinary Science has created a scholarship in the name of 16-year-old aspiring veterinarian Hamza Mustafa, who was killed in the March 15 Christchurch shootings.

A talented horse rider and year-12 pupil at Cashmere High School, Mr Mustafa was an aspiring vet, a passion supported by his farrier father Khaled Alhaj Mustafa, who also died in the massacres. The Mustafa family were Syrian refugees in Jordan for five years before moving to New Zealand last year.

The scholarship fundraising and organisation is being driven by vet school staff members Dr Kate Hill and Eloise Jillings. The Hamza Mustafa Memorial Scholarship will be awarded annually to one or more veterinary science students who meet criteria to be determined in conjunction with his mother, Salwa Mustafa. Ms Jillings says Mrs Mustafa was very touched when this idea was discussed with her and grateful for the opportunity to have her son’s name remembered through a scholarship.

The aim is to raise a minimum of $30,000 to invest, enabling about $1500 per scholarship to be awarded in perpetuity.

“Hamza dreamed of being a vet and now a scholarship in his memory will help others achieve that goal,” Ms Jillings says.”We are hoping to collect between $50,0000 and $100,000 to enable a larger scholarship to be awarded and to have the option to contribute some funding support directly to Salwa and her remaining two children. So we still have a long way to go.”

Givealittle web page has so far raised $30,000 including a $10,000 kickstart from VetNZ, which represents Vet Clinic Morrinsville, West Coast Vets and VetSouth, as well as donations of $1000 each from DermCare (Australia) and NVS (Australia).

Source:  Massey University

New online tool to help dairy farmers identify M.bovis risk

A new cost-effective tool for dairy farmers aims to help in New Zealand’s quest to eradicate the cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis.

The Dairy Risk Assessment tool is an online questionnaire that helps a farmer to get an accurate understanding of the M. bovis risk on their farm. Used with their veterinarian, the tool can help a farmer make informed decisions about managing M. bovis risks and reduce possible spread of the disease on or off a farm.

The New Zealand Veterinary Association’s (NZVA) Chief Veterinary Officer Helen Beattie says dairy farmers should talk soon to their veterinarian about using the tool. Continue reading

Govt boost for vet graduates

Thirty graduate vets will receive a financial boost to help develop their careers through the Voluntary Bonding Scheme for Veterinarians, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced today.

The Ministry for Primary Industries Voluntary Bonding Scheme for Veterinarians is designed to support and boost the number of graduate vets in our regions who are working with production animals such as cows, sheep and horses.

This year’s successful applicants will receive $55,000 each over five years — a total of $1.65 million.

“Our regions are desperate for skilled workers, including vets, so it’s important we give them every encouragement to pursue their veterinary careers in the primary industries, which support our rural communities, regions and economy,” Mr O’Connor said.

Find out more about the Voluntary Bonding Scheme for Veterinarians HERE.

Source: Minister of Agriculture

‘Wormy lambs’ video takes out national award

Massey University PhD student Seer Ikurio has won a Royal Society Te Apārangi award for his video about lambs and worms.

Mr Ikurio won the Future Leader Award as part of the Royal Society Te Apārangi Early Career Researcher video competition – 180 Seconds of Discovery. The award comes with a $3000 prize.

His video was titled, ‘Wormy lambs: Using sensing technologies to make targeted treatments’.

The competition asked New Zealand-based postgraduate students to share their research in a three-minute video, uploaded to The videos received over 20,000 views from around world and a total of 1326 votes.

Earlier this year, Mr Ikurio, from the School of Veterinary Science, was voted the People’s Choice Award of $1000 for his presentation titled, ‘My lamb is behaving odd, it might have worms’ at the Massey University’s doctoral Three-Minute Thesis final.

The video was edited by David Achegbulu.

Source:  Massey University

Career funding available to support graduate vets in the regions

Associate Agriculture Minister Meka Whaitiri is encouraging the next generation of vets to apply for career funding through a scheme designed to support and increase the number of graduate vets working with production animals in the  regions.

Having opened applications for 2018, Minister Whaitiri says the Voluntary Bonding Scheme for Veterinarians offers 30 recipients who are developing careers in our heartland, $55,000 each over five years.

“Animal health and well-being is critical to the success of our primary industries and wider economy. Having skilled workers such as vets in our regions, where they are desperately needed, plays a key part in that success,” says Meka Whaitiri.

“To date, 256 graduates have benefited from this initiative and made a valuable contribution to rural veterinary centres focused on working animals – such as cows, sheep and horses.

One hundred and sixty-eight female graduates have seized this career-enhancing opportunity and the Minister encouraged even more women who want a rewarding role in rural vet services to apply.

Ministry for Primary Industries officials are about to conduct a survey of all scheme participants, to investigate how the scheme can be further refined in line with the Government’s priorities in terms of inclusivity and diversity. Ms Whaitiri expects this work to be completed by the end of the year.

Applications for career funding close at 3pm on Monday August 27.

Source:  Associate Minister for Agriculture

It’s a snip – learner vets provide cut-price de-sexing service

An item of news from Massey University’s publicity department drew attention – it seemed – to activities worthy of some sort of protest. Or some glimmer of public concern, at least.

It was headed 500th surgery for de-sexing programme and featured a picture of the programme coordinator, two students and (his, her or its identify camouflaged by a sheet) the 500th patient.

So what’s going on?

According to the opening sentence:

A Massey University programme that has been providing discounted de-sexing surgeries for community service card holders reached an impressive milestone of 500 surgeries.

The demand for this sort of medical intervention from community service card holders with an urge to be neutered is bigger than we ever imagined, obviously.

The article went on:

The clinics have been running on Saturdays and Sundays at the Massey Veterinary Teaching Hospital since August last year with more than 250 staff and student volunteers involved so far.

Programme coordinator Dr Carolyn Gates decided to set up the clinics up after being involved with a similar initiative while she was a veterinary student at University of Pennsylvania in the United States.

Only when we read on do we get a hint that maybe this is not a service providing cut-rate de-sexing procedures for low-income people; it is being provided for their pets.

“I wanted to create a similar programme here because I saw how much value there was for the students, cats and community. In a short amount of time, we have made real progress in improving student confidence with basic clinical procedures while also providing a valuable low-cost desexing service to the community.”

SPCA Palmerston North maintains the waiting list of clients and the Massey Veterinary Teaching Hospital provides the facilities and equipment.

With more than 150 cats still on the waiting list, it shows no sign of slowing down.

All Bachelor of Veterinary Science (BVSc) and Bachelor of Veterinary Technology (BVT) students can help out in various roles based on their experience level. These range from administrative and assistant roles for first year students (responsible for client communication, patient restraint, and medical record keeping) to anaesthesia and spay surgeon roles for fourth and fifth-year BVSc students.

“Before participating, the students are required to read detailed step-by-step guides outlining the tasks and responsibilities for each role to make sure we are keeping the patients safe at all times,” Dr Gates says.

“We have two fabulous student leaders from the BVSc4 [fourth-year Bachelor of Veternairy Science] class, Maggie Gater and Dani Harris, who have done an amazing job preparing the training materials and coordinating the army of volunteers.”

The de-sexing procedures involve basic surgical skills including making an incision, identifying different organs in the abdomen, tying off blood vessels, and suturing the body wall and skin closed.

The students practice these skills on simulated models to make sure they are competent before working with live patients. With an experienced teaching vet guiding the students through the entire procedure, there is a very low risk of things going wrong.  Most students are ready to go “solo” after about six to nine supervised procedures, Dr Gates says.

The programme is now financially self-sustaining and will continue as long as there are  staff volunteers willing to come in on weekends to help teach.  How much the programme is impacting students and the community is being monitored.

Source: Massey University