The College of Veterinary Medicine received a $300,000 grant from PetSmart Charities® (www.petsmartcharities.org) to acquire, equip and operate a high-volume mobile spay/neuter vehicle.
“This is a significant contribution to our academic program that doubles the College’s mobile capacity to address community needs in the Inland Empire and the LA basin,” said College of Veterinary Medicine Dean Phillip Nelson, DVM, PhD. “The support of the VACS II by PetSmart Charities, and the contribution of personnel and medical supplies by WesternU College of Veterinary Medicine, will result in a partnership designed to provide a measurable impact on the population of unowned/unwanted animals in local communities, while providing valuable learning experiences for our students.”
The vehicle, VACS II (Veterinary Ambulatory Community Service), will be a key component of the college’s Shelter Medicine fourth-year rotation. VACS II, which is expected to begin operation in August 2013, will take two to three fourth-year CVM students to area shelters to perform about 30 spays and neuters per day.
“We’re going to be doing high-volume spay and neuter with those students,” said CVM Assistant Professor Frank Bossong, DVM. “By the time students get to their fourth year, they’re pretty seasoned. They are well prepared to be performing spays and neuters on dogs and cats at this point in our curriculum. We’ll really be making a bigger impact on the animal population at the shelters here in Southern California.”
WesternU applied for a grant to build a second VACS dedicated to pediatric spays and neuters. VACS II is under construction and, when completed, will go out on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
University Specialty Vehicles Inc. in Perris, Calif., constructed CVM’s first mobile unit, VACS I, said Eva Jaeger, RVT, who is working closely with the company again 10 years later. “Getting a second opportunity to perfect a job well done the first time is an exciting prospect for all involved,” she said.
VACS I will continue to serve the community on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Generally, seven first-year students work in VACS I in the morning, and seven second-year students come on board in the afternoon to learn about anesthesia and surgery.
“The VACS II will further ensure that our graduates will be ready to do surgery on day one with their new employer,” Bossong said. “As with the VACS I, this new mobile unit demonstrates WesternU’s continued commitment to producing health professionals who embrace the idea of community service.”
About Western University of Health Sciences
Western University of Health Sciences (www.westernu.edu), located in Pomona, Calif. and Lebanon, Ore., is an independent nonprofit health professions university, conferring degrees in biomedical sciences, dental medicine, health sciences, medical sciences, nursing, optometry, osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy, physician assistant studies, podiatric medicine and veterinary medicine. The Chronicle of Higher Education named WesternU a 2012 Great College to Work For.
About PetSmart Charities®
Established in 1994, PetSmart Charities, Inc. is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that creates and supports programs that save the lives of homeless pets, raise awareness of companion animal welfare issues and promote healthy relationships between people and pets. The largest funder of animal-welfare efforts in North America, PetSmart Charities has provided more than $165 million in grants and programs benefiting animal-welfare organizations and has helped save the lives of more than 5 million pets through its in-store adoption program. To learn more about how PetSmart Charities is working toward its vision of a lifelong, loving home for every pet, visit petsmartcharities.org or call 1-800-423-PETS (7387).