The Montgomery County Animal Welfare League was visited Monday by the traveling Purdue University Veterinary School mobile clinic.
Three senior veterinarian students were on board, along with two registered veterinarians and a veterinarian technician, who arrived to spay and neuter 22 animals.
Priority 4 Paws, a program established in 2012, visits the local shelter once a month. The veterinarian team has a custom built-trailer and will visit 12 animal shelters in West Central Indiana every month. The traveling lab turns into the student’s classroom for the day under the direction of Dr. Carol Fellenstein and Dr. Lynetta Freeman. The experience of performing repetitive procedures is a good way for the students to get practical experience.
“There are numerous benefits to the students,” Freeman said. “First, the chance to repeat procedures will give students confidence after they graduate. Also, we try to create a philanthropic mindset with our graduates and this allows our students to see the value of giving back to the community.”
Eleven cats and 11 dogs were either spayed or nurtured Monday. Purdue University and corporate sponsors pay the expenses so the local shelter’s only cost is to provide the Purdue staff with lunch.
In addition to the cost savings, the AWL also gains other benefits from the program.
“When a dog or cat is already spayed or neutered it speeds up the adoption process,” Freeman said. “When an animal moves quickly, it saves the shelter money and it opens space for other animals. People tend to adopt a pet that is already neutered or spayed.”
On Monday, AWL board vice president Anne Lovold was on hand to greet the traveling veterinary clinic. Lovold appreciates Purdue for having the program.
“This is such a great thing that Purdue offers,” Lovold said. “And to think, it is at no cost to the shelter. The vet students always do a great job.”
Since its inception, the Priority 4 Paws program has performed more than 5,000 surgeries at area shelters. Fellenstein is the lead veterinarian on the mobile office. She enjoys getting out of the building and visiting animal shelters with her students.
“It is good that our students get to experience what it is like in a ‘real world’ shelter,” Fellenstein said. “The students come away with a better understanding of the local shelter and how they operate.”
The AWL is always fighting a budget battle, Lovold said.
On May 4 the AWL will conduct its annual Stroll for Strays at the General Lew Wallace Study & Museum. The popular event is a major fundraiser for the local animal shelter.