2021 World Spay Clinics Persevere Despite Pandemic 

May 19, 2021

Heather Schrader, RVT, MCJ
Program Manager, Student Outreach

Despite all the obstacles the pandemic has thrown at the world, World Spay Day Clinics continued making a difference in the lives of pets, their people, and the veterinary professionals who volunteered their time this year.  HSVMA was excited to learn that many clinics were still being organized to celebrate Spay/Neuter Awareness Month in February and World Spay Day on February 23rd.  We offered our support in the form of $500 and $1000 grants to help veterinary students and the organizations who ran the clinics serve their communities.  For some of these instructors and students, this was the first time in quite a while that they had the opportunity to come together in a hands-on environment.

Louisiana State University SVM Shelter Medicine Program

Under the guidance of Dr. Wendy Wolfson, Assistant Professor of Shelter Medicine, the Shelter Medicine Program at the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine used their mobile clinic to sterilize feral cats at the Dixon Correctional Institute.  Several correctional facilities in the area have feral cat populations and the vet students gain skills and experience while also keeping the cat populations healthy.  One of the vet students who participated in the clinics, Jane Ellis, LSU SVM class of 2021, said this of her experience: "The Shelter Medicine rotation with Dr. Wolfson is one of the best rotations that LSU offers for those interested in learning more about small animal medicine. This is mostly in part due to Dr. Wolfson's amazing teaching and the opportunities we get on the rotation. The opportunity to learn and perform surgery is not something that every veterinary student gets the chance to do. With your donation it is possible for us to have the opportunity to learn surgery and other important clinical skills (such as venipuncture, performing HW testing, fecals, administering vaccines, anesthetizing animals, and more)." 

North Carolina State University CVM and Saving Grace

As part of the Perfect Pet Program at the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine, vet students volunteered with Saving Grace, a private shelter that serves homeless animal in rural North Carolina.  The students helped spay/neuter over 30 animals in February as part of the ongoing partnership between Saving Grace and the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Foundation.  A NCSU CVM class of 2023 student, Daniel M., said this of his participation: "I am immensely grateful for the learning opportunity, as it helps us apply the information we have learned and have a greater appreciation of anatomic variants (size, fat content, tissue appearance). In addition, it provides a sense of wellbeing to contribute back to our community by providing this service to the animal shelters and facilitating an animal finding its future forever home." 

Kansas State University CVM and Spay Arkansas

Veterinary students from Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine volunteered with Spay Arkansas, a clinic that specializes in low-cost spay/neuter services.  Dr. Eric Jayne, our HSVMA Arkansas State Representative, is a veterinarian with Spay Arkansas and frequently teaches vet students the skills involved with running a clinic that serves at-risk communities.  “Helping at Spay Arkansas was one of the best veterinary experiences I have ever had.  I got a ton of hands-on experience and got to learn surgical skills from some amazing doctors.  They run such a great organization and I am truly grateful for the opportunity,” said Alyssa Becker, a class of 2023 student at K-State.  Over 70 animals were altered in February!

Ohio State University CVM and Shelter Outreach Services of Ohio

Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine vet students volunteered with Shelter Outreach Services of Ohio to help alter over 70 pets in the Columbus area.  “My goal upon graduation is to help improve the quality of life of all animals by providing affordable veterinary care and reducing the homeless pet population. Being able to participate in this day allowed me to really focus in on my passion,” said Hayley Apple, a second year student at The Ohio State.  It is clinics such as this that help students realize their passion and feel equipped to help communities in need after they become veterinary professionals.

St. George's University SVM and the Grenada SPCA

Liz Peach, HSVMA Faculty Adviser at St. George's University School of Veterinary Medicine and Co-Course Director for the Shelter Medicine Selective, helped secure a grant for World Spay Day clinics at the Grenada SPCA in February.  SGU vet students helped coordinate the spay/neuter efforts and worked with Grenada residents who needed services for their pets.  Dog overpopulation is a problem on the island and the GSPCA's collaboration with the vet school is an effort that benefits all involved.  “Population control is such an essential part of our work as shelter veterinarians.  World Spay Day/awareness month was an opportunity for us to be able to offer help to those who would otherwise be unable to afford the procedure.  It's incredible to be able to make such a big difference to animals and families with such limited resources," said Drs. Jessica Riley and Nicola Davis, two of the Grenada SPCA veterinarians.  

University of Wisconsin SVM and Green County Humane Society

Every February, our HSVMA Student Chapter at University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine participates in a February clinic to recognize World Say Day/Spay/Neuter Awareness month. Led by our HSVMA Faculty Adviser and UW SVM Lecturer/Instructor in the Department of Comparative Biosciences, Dr. Karen Hershberger-Braker, several vet students partnered with the Green County Humane Society to spay or neuter 40 community cats.  Dr. Hershberger-Braker commented, "It was wonderful to have the veterinary students from the University of Wisconsin to participate in an HSVMA-sponsored spay/neuter clinic at Green County Humane Society. I am grateful to the other volunteer veterinarians (Drs. Donnett, Krebsbach and Sheldon) and the staff at GCHS for all of their help...During this special World Spay Day clinic, I realized how much I had missed teaching the students about high-quality, high-volume spay/neuter over the last year!”   The student participants were likewise excited to receive some much-missed hands-on instruction.  Sophia Chao, class of 2022 UW vet student and Secretary of the HSVMA Student Chapter, commented: "It was so nice to finally be able to participate in Spay Day again! It was great to be able to work with my classmates, the veterinarians, and the CVTs that all volunteered their time to help these animals and their families. I had an amazing time and learned so much from everyone! It was a much appreciated and needed break from all of our virtual lectures and a great reminder of why we are in veterinary school. Thank you HSVMA, Dr. Karen Hershberger-Braker, and Green County Humane Society for making this happen!”