Growing demand for veterinarians in Samoa

The demand and need for veterinarians in Samoa is big, says Samoa Animal Protection Society (APS) chairperson, Dr. Joan Macfarlane. 

Dr. Macfarlane was present at the animal clinic in Vailima where Japanese volunteer vet, Dr. Rei Kashiyama, has been based for the past year. 

During the Samoa Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) tour of the clinic, Samoan media personnel had the chance to observe the work of Dr. Kashiyama, who is the only vet in the clinic. 

“One of the reasons APS relies on volunteer vets because people in Samoa don’t generally want to pay the high fees for veterinary services,” said Dr. Macfarlane. 

“If we were paying the salary of a vet, we couldn’t afford to keep the cost of services low enough that at least quite a few people can afford them.

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“But in order to attract more people to study vet science, they need to know about it so we have some expo planned this year during the career days.”

Dr. Macfarlane said more jobs need to be created for vets in Samoa.

“Samoa Government jobs probably, even a paid position at APS, and then as a career path for people who go and study vet science at the moment, there are not many jobs for vets. 

“There’s only probably one or two in Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries at the moment. If somebody trains for vet, they will probably go look for work overseas but we actually want them to come to Samoa and provide the service here. 

“We would like to increase it (number of vets) and if more people value their animals and look after them throughout their lives, there will be high demand for vet services, more vets required.”

Dr. Macfarlane said it is a continuous APS job to find vets to after the animals at the clinic. 

“Vet is a highly paid job and a lot of students need to know that. It is a specialised field.”  

Dr. Kashiyama has recorded and treated 20 poisoned dogs at the clinic, most of which are male, and has identified animal diseases mostly worms and virus to have been affecting animals.  She said such diseases can be prevented. 

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