From September to December, the Humane Society of the United States is bringing veterinary services and animal care education to remote areas across the country and abroad, while giving veterinary students on-the-job training.
The HSUS Remote Area Veterinary Services program provides spay-and-neuter services, veterinary care, and humane education to people and animals in rural communities who have no access to such pet care. More than 400 veterinary students from 18 universities participate each year.
In the United States, the program serves communities in Appalachia and on 20 American Indian reservations across Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Wyoming, Utah, South Dakota, North Dakota, Arizona, New Mexico, and Minnesota. The program also serves communities in Latin America and Micronesia.
Students perform more than 4,000 spay-and-neuter surgeries. A typical expedition consists of three veterinarians and 20 veterinary students working for one or two days. Large-scale, no-cost spay-and-neuter clinics are set up at community centers, firehouses, school auditoriums, and other accessible areas where pet owners can easily bring their animals.
The program is being offered this year in counties in Georgia, Tennessee, and Ohio, as well as Isla de Mujeres, Mexico.
"There is a real need for veterinarians to serve many poor, rural areas around the country and abroad," said Melissa Seide Rubin, HSUS vice president of field services. "Many of these communities do not have veterinary services readily available or cannot afford regular checkups for their animals. Through the RAVS program, veterinary students will provide sick and wellness care for animals that otherwise may never receive the medical care they need."