Tufts Vet Students to Host Vaccination and Educational Clinic with Worcester Housing Authority

Veterinary students and supervising veterinarians from the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University will visit six Worcester Housing Authority locations on Saturday, March 5, 2011 to provide physical exams, vaccinations, and owner education to an estimated 200 resident-owned dogs and cats. This event is open to WHA residents only.

Six teams of volunteers, led by second-year students Daniela Gilbert, Melissa Doolin, Katie Holmes, Jessica Brown and Alexis Messler, and third-year student Deb Thomas, plan to vaccinate about 200 dogs and cats belonging to Worcester Housing Authority residents early Saturday afternoon. 

Each volunteer teams consists of Cummings School students, a supervising veterinarian and a Worcester Housing Authority representative. Students from Worcester’s Becker College will assist with steadying dogs during the examinations and providing basic grooming such as trimming nails. Funding from Tufts’ Tisch College Fund for Civic Engagement and several corporate sponsors allows the clinic to be offered without charge.

The annual event, initiated by two second-year students in 2009, has expanded each year in response to the positive feedback from housing authority residents. In 2010, the clinic was cited as one of many rabies-related outreach efforts that led the Alliance for Rabies Control to name the Cummings School as the host site for its annual World Rabies Day Symposium.  

“The relationship between the Cummings School and the Worcester Housing Authority has been strengthened through this event each year, and we look forward to continuing services for the residents,” said Dr. Emily McCobb, director of the Cummings School’s Shelter Medicine program and the clinic’s faculty advisor. “The Veterinary school is committed to helping underserved people and animals throughout our community, and this annual clinic is a vital part of that effort.”

In addition to helping resident dogs and cats, the clinic allows students both in Tufts’ Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program and Becker’s Veterinary Technology program to practice their clinical skills. 

Vaccines for the clinic were donated by Merial, Intervet/Schering-Plough, and Boehringer-Ingelheim. In addition to the grant from the Tufts University’s Tisch Civic Engagement Fund, the clinic was supported by the Tufts Shelter Medicine Program.  Additional items donated to the WHA residents include slip leashes, dog and cat treats, feeding cups, and cardboard carriers thanks to Purina, Dechra (previously DermaPet), Bayer, and Hills.

Tufts’ Shelter Medicine program runs several other programs for the care and well-being of low-income, shelter-owned and un-owned animals, including a free spay lab, a high-volume, high-quality clinic for homeless animals, and an annual dental day for shelter dogs. The program also offers electives and other programming for Cummings School veterinary students.

About the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine
Founded in 1978 in North Grafton, Mass., Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University is internationally esteemed for academic programs that impact society and the practice of veterinary medicine; three hospitals and two clinics that combined treat more than 80,000 animals each year; and groundbreaking research that benefits animal, public, and environmental health.

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