ANIMALS in need now have a new helper on the road: the RSPCA Mobile Animal Care vehicle (MAC).
Launched in February by the RSPCA, MAC is a custom-built Isuzu FSD 850 model truck equipped to treat injured animals and provide veterinary assistance on the go, especially during natural disasters.
The RSPCA is a community-based charity that works to prevent cruelty to animals by actively promoting their care and protection.
The Victorian branch encompasses 120 employees across 10 shelters with an additional 2000 volunteers.
The idea of MAC was born during the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009. It was estimated that about one million animals perished in the disaster.
Helen Cocks, executive manager of Animal Services of RSPCA Victoria, said the Black Saturday fire identified the need for mobile veterinary assistance.
"When you are fighting against nature and trying to save animals' lives, you need a vehicle that is functional and reliable," she said.
"The Isuzu FSD 850 fits all the requirements we need to support a host of animal welfare services.
"It is a multi-purpose vehicle with a body that has flexibility in mind, and a model that is dependable and can be used in a variety of situations as well as be on call 24/7."
The services that MAC provides includes: surgical and emergency support for disasters, acting as a mobile de-sexing, micro-chipping and vaccination unit, acting as the mobile headquarters for communicating and co-ordinating animal welfare emergency services for the RSPCA.
In addition, MAC is utilised by the RSPCA's Education and Events teams at community events.
The MAC Isuzu also provides support for RSPCA inspectors who investigate complaints of cruelty and neglect, attend to sick and injured stray animals or those that have been abandoned as well as provide guidance and education to animal owners where necessary.
The eye-catching blue truck body was designed by Rambler Concept Vehicles and took 12 months to build.
For versatility and practicality purposes, the van body is packed with veterinary equipment as well as a generator to keep the fully functional mobile clinic operating in times of disaster.
It also includes holding cages to transport animals.
Helen believes that MAC will provide valuable support across all areas of service that the RSPCA provides.
"Not only will MAC help prepare us for future emergencies, it also significantly enhances the RSPCA's reach to promote a host of welfare initiatives," she said.
"It will also ensure that the RSPCA is ready and equipped to deal with disaster situations at a moment's notice."