CHECK-UP: University of Queensland veterinary students Elaine Lin and Angela Tse tend to Kimba at the Cherbourg community day for the visiting vet program on Tuesday October 9.
CHECK-UP: University of Queensland veterinary students Elaine Lin and Angela Tse tend to Kimba at the Cherbourg community day for the visiting vet program on Tuesday October 9. Jessica McGrath

CHECK UP: Vets tackle Cherbourg animal problem

CHERBOURG pet owners took the opportunity for free check ups and to meet the vets in town this week.

The visiting vets were at Cherbourg's Anzac Park for a community fun day, giving pet health advice on Tuesday, October 9.

The vets from AMRRIC, Animal Management in Rural and Remote Indigenous Communities, partnered with veterinary students from the University of Queensland, who will provide vet treatments over the next three weeks.

Darling Downs Health physician Penny Hutchinson said this was their third trip to Cherbourg, giving pet owners an opportunity to ask questions.

The visit is part of a health initiative, targeting animal health and human health.

"Our goal today is to improve animal health and encourage responsible dog ownership,” she said.

The program encourages residents to register their dog with council, and gives owners an opportunity to de-sex their dogs for free.

Health checks for the dogs are being provided, and treatments are being provided for dogs and cats owned by Cherbourg residents.

The program would help keep both the animals and humans healthy.

"We know that if a dog has things like worms or parasites they can actually transmit to humans, so by being able to better control that in the dogs, we can achieve positive health outcomes for the people,” Dr Hutchinson said.

Cherbourg is the only place in Queensland where a university public health unit and a council are working together on the innovative program.

Senior environmental health officer Amanda Hutchings said the program was started when the Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council identified the problem of large numbers of dogs roaming the streets of Cherbourg, causing nuisance and being aggressive.

"It's all to control the community dog numbers, to promote dog ownership and by doing those, we can reduce the impact dogs have on public health,” Ms Hutchings said.

AMRRIC project officer and vet Bonny Cumming said by providing free desexing for the dogs, they could better control the dog population.

"Our aim is to try an get about 80 per cent of cats and dogs desexed,” she said.

Ms Cumming said it was a well rounded program, also targeting the schools with educational visits and colouring competitions.

"The community has really taken it on board,” she said.

For more information Cherbourg residents may contact the Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council's animal management worker.

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