World Veterinary Day 2020: SPCA Veterinarian clocks up 60,000 desexing operations over 25 years
A Wellington veterinarian has performed over 60,000 desexing operations, preventing thousands of unwanted litters, and millions of unwanted animals being born.
Anthony Wong, a veterinarian at SPCA’s Wellington Centre, has worked at SPCA for more than 25 years, dedicating his life to treating sick, injured and abused animals that come through the animal charity’s doors.
A quick estimate confirmsthat he has operated on over 60,000 animals during his time at SPCA including dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, goats, sheep, mice, rats and chinchillas just to name a few.
The majority are cats and kittens. A female kitten can fall pregnant at just 16-20 weeks old and can have 12 kittens in one year on average. If the cycle continues and her offspring reproduces, 2107 kittens would be bornovera period of four years.
In 2019, 897 kittens were desexed and adopted from SPCA’s Wellington Centre alone.
Anthony’s work isn’t just limited to Wellington, he has helped in various community desexing initiatives, once desexing 500 animals in Porirua in just six weeks. He also performsdesexing operations on animals from SPCA centres in Waikanae, Masterton, and Levin.
Along with breaking this cycle of unwanted litters, Anthony also performs complex surgeries, trains junior vets, and travels to other SPCA centres in the wider Wellington region to support and work additional shifts.
This World Veterinary Day, with the theme of environmental protection for improving animal and human health, Anthony says animal and human health are intimately linked.
“It is all about changing attitudes and minds with education programs that promote animal care and welfare.Like Nelson Mandela said, ‘education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world’,” he says.
Anthony recently took his passion for animal welfare to Luxor, Egypt, where he volunteered at animal charity Animal Care Egypt (ACE) for two weeks.
“I wanted to be able to use my veterinary skills and knowledge and do something that is directly hands on with animal care and welfare. ACE has vets and vet students from around the world volunteering to assist in providing free vet care for the animals of Luxor,” he says.
Anthony saw dozens of animals every day; camels used in the tourism industry, children bringing in family pets, even a dog arriving with suspected rabies.
“I carried out a few surgeries while I was there including an amputation, tumour removal, an eye removal and desexing,” Anthony says.
His work now continues back at SPCA’s Wellington Centre, supporting the team during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our centres may be closed to the public, but behind the scenes, our work hasn’t stopped. Our vet team are still caring for animals in the centre and providing emergency care to animals that are brought in by our inspectors.”
When asked what he was looking forward to workwise after lockdown, Anthony says he is looking forward to being able to see and treat more animals again without restrictions.
“We have almost 300 animals in foster care just in our Wellington Centre, and more incoming animals each week, so it’ll be good to desex all those foster animals and help more animals that need SPCA and that are coming into our centre.”