Thousands of puppies and kittens are born in the United States every day. Only a few are able to find loving owners to care for them. What happens to the rest?
Mississippi State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine is lending them a helping hand. Through the Humane Ethics and Animal Welfare Program, many animals are receiving the veterinary care they need to ensure their health and increases their chance of adoption. The program’s faculty and staff are dedicated to creating solutions to unwanted pet overpopulation issue
Pet Overpopulation Facts
- Younger adults and those living in the South are the least likely to have their pets spayed/neutered
- An increased number of dog and cat litters in the United States are unintentional
- Millions of animals are euthanized each year
- Millions of tax dollars are spent annually to shelter and care for unwanted pets
- Roaming dogs and cats can spread diseases, posing a risk to public health
Shelter Medicine Program
The Shelter Medicine Program spays and neuters puppies and kittens as young as six weeks old at Mississippi humane societies, shelters and rescues. This greatly increases the chance of adoptions and prevents additional litters of unwanted animals. Because many of these shelters do not have surgical facilities, the program utilizes mobile veterinary units. Their use expands the capacity to perform these important surgeries. The entire cost of this educational and outreach effort is funded by grants and donations, with no state appropriations, and no cost to taxpayers. Help fund this program.
Mobile Veterinary Program
The Mississippi State College of Veterinary Medicine has had a cooperative program with Mississippi animal shelters since the early 1990s. Until 2007, the Shelter Medicine Program was limited to taking students to a few shelters that had surgical facilities. Following hurricane Katrina, outside grants allowed the program to greatly expand. In 2007, Mississippi State acquired a 32-ft. gooseneck trailer fully equipped as an emergency response vehicle and a spay/neuter clinic. In 2013, the program acquired a second mobile unit, a 38-ft. gooseneck trailer, fully equipped for spay/neuter.
With two mobile units, the program has grown significantly over the years. It now provides spay/neuter services to 27 animal shelters/rescue groups within Mississippi. Since 2007, students have performed over 74,000 spay/neuter surgeries. The true impact of the spay/neuter program, however, is much greater than the surgeries provided to shelters and rescue groups. It is the surgical experience students obtain and the understanding the students receive about pet overpopulation. Every junior student, spends 2 days performing spays/neuters at shelters, averaging 15 spay/neuter surgeries. Fourth year veterinary students enroll in a two-week Shelter Medicine Spay Neuter elective. Senior students average approximately 60 spay/neuter surgeries during their 2-week rotation; 5 senior students enroll in the elective every 2 weeks. In addition, the program offers up to 30 positions in the rotation to extern students from other schools. At present, more than 700 students have completed the spay/neuter elective, including extern students from 20 U.S and several foreign veterinary schools.