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College of Veterinary Medicine celebrates new mobile spay/neuter vehicle

by Rodney Tanaka

October 29, 2013

Read 2 mins

A new mobile spay/neuter vehicle will provide valuable community services while also giving Western University of Health Sciences students vital surgical experience.

WesternU’s College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) unveiled its new Veterinary Ambulatory Community Service (VACS) vehicle Oct. 29, 2013.

The College of Veterinary Medicine received a $300,000 grant from PetSmart Charities® to acquire, equip and operate a high-volume mobile spay/neuter vehicle. The vehicle, VACS II, will be a key component of the College’s Shelter Medicine fourth-year rotation. VACS II will take two to three fourth-year CVM students to area shelters to perform about 30 spays and neuters per day.

“We want the College of Veterinary Medicine to be socially relevant. We believe in teaching by doing,” said CVM Dean Phillip Nelson, DVM, PhD. “This gives us an opportunity to do that.”

PetSmart Charities also funded CVM’s first mobile unit, VACS I, which will continue to serve the community and provide valuable experience to first- and second-year CVM students.

“The gifts we receive from PetSmart Charities are the gifts that keep on giving, because it’s not just about the procedures you get to do in these vehicles,” Nelson told the many students who attended the ceremony. “It’s about the skills you learn, and how you apply those skills after you graduate. You already know that we expect you to continue to contribute to society. Not just to your clients, but to society in general. This is consistent with the ethos of PetSmart Charities, which has done a wonderful job supporting veterinary medicine, veterinary colleges and your education.”

PetSmart Charities works with 3,000 animal welfare organizations across North America and provides $3 million in funding to veterinary colleges across the United States, said PetSmart Charities Executive Director Jan Wilkins.

“This is a dream come true for us,” she said. “When we see how excited you are, and know the good work that you’re going out and doing, it just makes me smile. Our vision is a lifelong loving home for every pet, and this helps that. Thank you so much for what you do. We’re so proud to be partnered with you, and we look forward to continuing that partnership.”

Also recognized at the event were WesternU Senior Vice President Thomas G. Fox, PhD and Tim McPheron, CVM director of development, along with the team in charge of operating VACS II, CVM Assistant Professor Frank Bossong, DVM, and Eva Jaeger, RVT. Dean Nelson also thanked Frank Heller, president of HMC Surgical, for donating surgical equipment for both VACS vehicles.

“The concept of training young surgeons in doing surgical procedures for animals in shelters who wouldn’t have that medical attention otherwise is incredible,” Heller said. “It’s a win-win for the community, for the animals, and for the students, and I’m very proud to be part of that.”

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