Animals with burn injuries from the Australian bush fires have had their healing significantly aided with the help of a Te Awamutu animal laser therapist.
Heidi Richardson works for Spectra Vets, a company that designs and manufacturers therapeutic laser units to be used for light therapy healing on injured animals.
The company was started by Peter Jenkins in Adelaide and has now expanded globally.
Heidi is the company's Southern Hemisphere manager and has over 200 clients.
Recently she spent just under a week in Australia donating the therapeutic laser units to various veterinary clinics and wildlife rescue organisations.
"I had an amazing but heart-breaking trip to Australia. It was very intense but well worth the effort," said Heidi. "Laser therapy can help to speed healing, decrease inflammation, decrease the chance of infection and offer pain relief."
She first travelled to Adelaide before going to Kangaroo Island where she spent a day with veterinarian Greg Johnson from Kangaroo Island Veterinary Clinic.
The day started with a training session about laser therapy and the units. After the training, Heidi helped to treat a dog with a fractured leg, a puppy with superficial burns, a ring tail possum with burnt paws and a koala with burns.
Heidi was then taken on a drive along the path of the first and second fire and witnessed its destruction.
"Kangaroo Island survives on tourism and agriculture and both of those were wiped out by the fires. Their two biggest incomes have taken such a big hit and it's going to be the secondary effects of the fire that will be felt for a long time," said Heidi.
The donated therapeutic laser unit will also help to aid over 400 injured koalas currently being looked after by the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park.
Heidi then went to Melbourne where she spent time at a privately owned sanctuary called Wildhaven and treated burns on kangaroos alongside Wildlife Rescue Incorporation representatives and volunteer veterinarian Alistair Brown.
There were six kangaroos at the sanctuary and sedating, cleaning, debriding and re-bandaging them took three hours and had to be done every three days.
Spectra Vet and Heidi plan to continue to offer on-going support to these organisations and will be trying to help out others that have since come forward.
"I am so privileged to be a part of a company, which without a doubt or question, stepped up to help. There was no red tape, no CEO having to approve it, no official emails – just an idea and a text message from my boss telling me to go for it," said Heidi.