The Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine received an $800,000 grant from the Humane Society of the United States in December to launch a companion animal health program helping communities affected by Hurricane Katrina.
Set to begin in the spring 2007 semester, the initiative will provide veterinary students with medical and surgical experience while providing assistance for animals in underserved communities in southern Louisiana.
"The program provides real-world training for students as well as an opportunity to make a lasting, positive impact on the future of animals and the communities that they will help," said Andrew Rowan, PhD, HSUS executive vice president of operations.
Veterinary students will gain surgical and medical experience though spay/neuter clinics, animal control facilities and animal shelters, the sheltering operation at the Dixon Correctional Institute, and low-income communities in southern Louisiana, with a focus on the New Orleans and Baton Rouge areas.
The curriculum will also include training in animal wellness, pet population dynamics, disaster medicine, and animal behavior.
"This extraordinary opportunity will give veterinary students the chance to learn about community medicine and to explore the dynamics of controlling the pet population," said Dr. Susan Eddlestone, assistant professor of small animal medicine at LSU and program supervisor.
"Students will be helping to improve veterinary care in the Gulf Coast region as well as learning skills and knowledge that will carry over in their future areas of practice."