Vets helping pets who don’t have homes stay healthy

Mobile vet care unit stops at Adair Co. Humane Society (KTVO)

A veterinary care service not only helps out shelter animals -- but also teaches veterinary school students how rewarding their future careers can be.

The service was at a shelter here in the Heartland to help pets who don’t have a home stay healthy.

“We have been lucky enough now to have them with us over a year, and it’s made such a huge impact on our small shelter here,” said Adair County Humane Society manager Missy Decker.

Every five weeks, the mobile shelter medicine service pulls into the Adair County Humane Society.

It's staffed by the University of Missouri’s Shelter Medicine Service team.

They serve rural shelters around a hundred-mile radius from their main location in Columbia.

“Our mission with our program, in addition to training our students, is to be able to provide services to rural shelters who need access to spay and neuter services for their animals,” said Dr. Amie Burling, of the shelter medicine program. “We serve a really important dual role in providing those services to the shelter, but also training the veterinary students, and giving them exposure to shelters and shelter animals that they can carry forward into their careers.”

The shelter medicine program has been in service for five years, and the mobile unit has been helping the area for two years.

In that time, hundreds of rural shelter animals have been impacted.

They perform medical procedures from spay and neuters, to administering rabies shots, to small operations like hernia repairs, in addition to general medical advice.

“The health of the animals at the shelter has been phenomenal since working with them,” said Decker. “The education we’ve received here at the shelter from the doctors coming in has been unbelievable. That's been the most important thing, because the better that we can take care of them, and work with them, the better off we are at getting them adopted.”

Providing the veterinarians-in-training with an experience they won't find in a classroom.

“The students that come in are always excited to come in, where we're the ones that are always so happy to have them here,” Decker.

“This is so rewarding, we love coming here, and on all of our trips, but we really love working with the shelters and it is so fascinating and exciting to see the impact it makes for the students as well,” said Dr. Burling. “We feel really, really good about the work were doing for the animals, but also in helping the students to understand the impact that they can have.”

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