Veterinarian Remains in Ukraine to Assist Pets
Since the Russian invasion, more than 3.4 million people have fled Ukraine, many of whom have brought their pets with them, while others have left their pets behind.
Animal rescuers are helping in a variety of ways, including treating animals in Ukraine as well as those that have migrated into safer nations like Poland.
Vladyslav Matviichuk, a veterinarian, was compelled to evacuate his house and clinic. In another region of Ukraine, he and his wife Iryna, as well as their two rescue cats, sought safety with his parents. In the kitchen of his parents' house, he now treats dogs for free. 2
A lot of animals are killed by explosions, missiles, and tanks. Many animals were forced to become homeless. Veterinary clinics are being demolished or shut down. Purchasing animal food and medicine is a major issue today, according to Matviichuk. I make an effort to assist everyone. If it is not possible to aid animals offline, I treat and operate at home, take calls, and consult online, by phone, or via video. Regrettably, my resources are currently depleted.
Iryna has had to tear up bedsheets to prepare bandages for the animals' post-operative care due to a lack of resources.
Today is a really terrible day for us, Matviichuk writes in an email to Treehugger. In the area where we are temporarily residing, there were more than seven air danger alarms. And we had to spend the majority of our time in the bomb shelter. All of my family, friends, and patients are alive and healthy, thanks to God.
Matviichuk responded to a few questions regarding his current activities and why he is staying in Ukraine.
Vladyslav Matviichuk: I've been a veterinarian in Kyiv for over six years. Prior to the war, I worked as a surgeon and therapist in a private veterinary clinic. I had pleasant working conditions and all of the tools I needed to do my job, including an ultrasound machine, an X-ray machine, a laboratory, and medications. My family was compelled to relocate temporarily to a more secure location for my parents. I brought everything I had with me to work, and I used my own money to buy a diathermocoagulator so I could conduct surgery. I now assist stray animals, refugees, and anyone else in need. In addition to treating animals at my parents' home, I make phone calls, consult online, by phone, and via video. Now I work in difficult circumstances: I do medical procedures in the kitchen, assist people on the street, and provide temporary sanctuary for stray animals.
Uncomfortable working conditions, on the other hand, are no longer an issue. The most serious issue is the threat of conflict, as well as the inability to conduct the necessary diagnostics to give a definitive diagnosis. An X-ray, for example, is not possible in the case of injuries. Also today, I had a patient who complained of regular vomiting, and because there is no lab here, I was forced to prescribe medication symptomatically. I adore animals and my job, and I'll do everything I can to aid them.
What made you and your family decide to remain?
We are Ukrainians, and our Motherland is in need of assistance, protection, and support right now. We are all incredibly peaceful, nice, and kind people, but we are also quite brave and willing to save and safeguard our country. My family, friends, and millions of other Ukrainians do everything we can, as well as everything we can't, to aid our homeland. Ukraine is to be praised!
Who are the people you're helping? What kinds of injuries or illnesses have you been treating?
All animals in need are treated and assisted by me. These are stray animals, people who have stayed with their pets, and people who are fleeing to a safer location with their pets.
A family from Bucha, for example, just stayed the night at my parents' house. Despite the tough circumstances, they did not abandon their eight cats and instead brought animals with them. Not just the migrants, but also their animals, require assistance. Refugees from the conflict are also war victims. We assist them in finding housing for themselves and their animals, as well as providing veterinary care and food. We provide information regarding aid available in various places. Give advice on how to keep animals quiet during an explosion. I am completely free to treat, operate, and consult. I assist in the temporary housing or care of animals abandoned by their owners. In addition, infections, viruses, and animal injuries require treatment during the battle, all of which I have provided. Of course, we are in the midst of a conflict, but animal concerns have not vanished in Ukraine. In Ukraine, the number of stray animals has been and continues to be a major issue, therefore I assisted volunteers with free castrations to help eliminate the problem.
I'd also like to bring up the numerous instances of animals being left alone in apartments. People fled their homes in fear and left their pets behind, hoping to return soon. Some animals were imprisoned for up to seven days. They were saved and adopted by someone. The animals received first aid from us. Thankfully, many animals have been rescued and have found new homes.
What are the most pressing needs for veterinarians and rescue organizations treating pets in Ukraine and in neighboring countries?
Animals in Ukraine are currently confronted with the following issues:
- Feed and food shortages
- In some areas, diagnostic facilities are lacking.
- Medicines and resources for their treatment are in short supply.
- Clinics and pet stores that are no longer open
- Animals and people who are deprived of food and water in some locations
- An increase in the number of stray animals as a result of their owners fleeing the war.
- People who do not have the money to care for animals
Assistance has been requested in some circumstances, but it is not possible to grant it. I'd want to call attention to the volunteers who were killed by Russian soldiers while delivering livestock feed to Bucha. To this day, the Sirius shelter in Dymer is likewise closed. The occupants refuse to consent to any terms for assisting or evacuating the animals. In the Hostomel shelter, the scenario remains the same.
People who have migrated to surrounding nations, as far as I know, have not had problems or difficulties receiving aid and treatment for their animals. Even without animal documents, European countries allow Ukrainians to cross the border. Veterinarians evaluate the animals, and governments provide the required aid and shelter.