We’d like to talk about Wildlife Rehabbing standards with regards to Vet/Rehabber working relationships…
When we developed the WCB (all of the Vet Professionals and Wildlife Rehabbers involved) we weren't aware how many Rehabbers across the UK were operating without support from a Vet.
When the WCB launched, we were surprised to hear from a lot of people that the standards were unrealistic: that to work with a Vet (take an animal to a Vet Practice) more than a few times a year was too demanding and expensive.
On researching this feedback more (having as many conversations as possible, often thanks to the help of friendly mediators helping us to bridge the gap) we can definitely understand better how some Rehabbers might feel this way. (Thank you, also, to every person who has taken the time to share their thoughts on this topic).
There is a general sense that Vets know less than Rehabbers about wildlife, so why work with them? Yes, this is absolutely true, in lots of instances. Vets however have a fundamental education in animal care, medications, procedures and diagnostics, which is essential. Some Vets (who also choose to independently rehab) can cover all of the bases required for wildlife rehabilitative care but Rehabbers alone never can, as they don’t have the fundamental training required on pharmaceuticals or diagnostic tools or what available procedures might save an animal’s life.
It is in the case of medications that most confusion seems to arise, we think. (That's certainly how it seems from all of the conversations we've had).
The medications that each wildlife casualty needs (just like us humans and just like our pets, as you all know) is incredibly complex. Every case will be unique. Lucy from Wild Things has just written an excellent post on the topic, check it out here: https://www.wildlifecarebadge.com/post/prescription-only-medication
To not work with a Vet and to only purchase the most basic of medications online - a couple of types of antibiotics and pain relief - can often only lead to the wrong or insufficient medication being offered to casualties who deserve much better bespoke care (again, the kind of care we demand for ourselves and our pets).
We humans can be incredibly kind and giving. We can suffer ourselves, in order to ease the suffering in another. In the UK rehab world, however, despite the best of intentions - and mostly, possibly, because an official structure has previously been missing in the UK, to get Wildlife Rehabbers started and to support them up to a high standard - it’s easy to fall short, without even realising, of the level of care that everyone ideally wants to provide.
The WCB is very focused on enabling everyone who loves and cares for wildlife, to be an example of great standards (and to be celebrated for the incredible work you do) and help us to improve standards across the UK, in the most positive and supportive manner, without judgement, so that every wild life can ALWAYS get the care they need.
We would be interested to hear, if you’d like, from everyone who has a great relationship with a Vet (if you’re a Rehabber) or a Rehabber (if you’re a Vet Professional) and all of the ways that the united relationship has helped you to help wildlife…