Vet student placement subsidies

To introduce vet students to opportunities in northern  Australia, NABS recently provided three $2,000 subsidies to veterinary  students. The subsidies are intended to assist students with the cost of travel  and accommodation for undertaking placements on pastoral properties, with vet  practices and placements with DPIR in northern Australia.

Applications for placement subsidies in 2019 will open later  this year; contact your regional veterinary officer or livestock biosecurity  officer for more information.

Vet student placement report

Written by Jessica  Bammann, final year Doctor of Veterinary Medicine student, University of  Adelaide

Having grown  up on a farm in the Flinders Ranges, SA, I have always had a passion for  working with large animals, especially cattle. Therefore, in July 2018 I  organised to complete a two-week university placement at the Alice Veterinary  Centre in Alice Springs. I had travelled to Alice Springs once before and fell  in love with its stunning scenery, so I was keen to get back there.

Travelling  to the Northern Territory (NT) would simply not have been possible without a  generous subsidy provided to me from the Northern Australian Biosecurity  Surveillance Project. It helped enormously to cover my travel and accommodation  costs, for which I am extremely grateful.

During my  stay at Alice Springs I was fortunate enough to be offered the opportunity to  assist in taking blood samples from sentinel cattle and chooks with Peter  Saville and Greg Crawford at the Arid Zone Research Institute (AZRI). I enjoyed  learning more about how the regular testing of the blood from these animals is  used to prove the absence of diseases in the region and to also detect the  spread of local and exotic diseases. It highlighted to me how important  sentinels are to maintaining and improving the biosecurity status of the NT.

I was also  kindly invited by Jocelyn Coventry to receive a tour of the Old Man Plains  (OMP) Research Station, owned by the Northern Territory Department of Primary  Industry and Resources. OMP is a 522k square kilometre property near Alice  Springs used to conduct research into various areas, such as fertility and  reproductive loss in Droughtmaster cattle. Jocelyn explained how she performs  regular ‘calf checks’ in the breeding season to record observations for her  research, including matching calves with their mothers and the different  behaviours they display.

The time I spent with Peter, Greg and Jocelyn definitely gave me a better  understanding of what it is like to work as a veterinarian in the field of  biosecurity. It also gave me a greater appreciation of how important  biosecurity is to protecting the Northern Territories’ environment, economy and  community. I would definitely consider returning to the region to work as a  qualified veterinarian in the near future, as I enjoyed the challenges of  working in a remote location and would like to get involved in working with  Indigenous communities. I would highly recommend any veterinary student to  undertake placement in northern Australia, as the experience I gained was like  none other.

I would like  to again thank Peter, Greg and Jocelyn for giving up their time to teach me  about the work performed at AZRI and OMP, the Northern Australian Biosecurity  Surveillance Project for offering this subsidy and making this unique  experience possible for me, and the Alice Veterinary Centre for hosting me for  placement.

Figure 16: Jessica Bammann at Old Man Plains Research Station

Figure 16: Jessica Bammann at Old Man Plains Research Station

Last updated: 30 April 2020

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