Western University of Health Sciences College of Veterinary Medicine

students and faculty are taking their skills and altruistic spirit on the


The college’s Veterinary Ambulatory Community Service mobile unit is

complete and ready to serve.

“”This is a chance for students to experience the small animal

ambulatory experience, which is a small but unique and growing niche in

the veterinary profession,”” said Lara Rasmussen, DVM,DACVS. “”House calls

are making a comeback.””

The 36-foot-long vehicle features two main rooms — one that serves

primarily as a sterile procedure room and the other that will allow for

minor treatments and exams. It is outfitted with three procedure tables,

patient prep table, four anesthesia machines, a limited diagnostic lab, a

darkroom and a kennel area. A campaign is underway to develop funds for

the purchase of the X-ray machine and processor.

The $190,000 vehicle and its equipment were funded primarily through

the Leonard X. Bosack and Bette M. Kruger Foundation. It was

manufactured by Universal Specialty Vehicles in Perris, Calif. and is a

first for the company which usually constructs mobile units for dental

groups, medical centers and law enforcement.

“”It’s been an exciting project and a learning experience,”” said Mary

Hall, University Specialty Vehicles’ vice president. “”We’re looking

forward to getting into the community.””

Under the supervision of CVM faculty and technicians, first- and

second-year students will provide primary care services, including

physical examinations, surgical sterilizations, microchipping and


The mobile clinic, with services subsidized by the CVM, will

coordinate services through human organizations and target the pets of

homebound senior citizens, people with disabilities and hospice

patients. Animal rescues and shelters that do not have on-site

veterinary services will be assisted as well.

“”Students will provide a service to populations of animals and

humans that would otherwise go without care,”” said Shirley Johnston, DVM,

PhD, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine. “”The positive

environment this creates for learning is tremendous.””

The mobile unit ties in well with the college’s emphasis on altruism

and provides a unique learning arena that goes above and beyond learning

clinical veterinary procedures. Students also learn about the human-

animal bond, altruism, underserved populations and quality communication

with diverse clientele.

“”The philosophy behind this unit includes both serving to learn and

learning to serve. It’s a beautiful merging of both important

professional concepts,”” Rasmussen said. “”We’re modeling noble

professional behavior for future veterinary professionals.””