LSU Shelter Medicine Program Receives Grant from the ASPCA
The LSU School of Veterinary Medicine has received a grant of $5,000 from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASCPCA) to benefit the LSU SVM’s Shelter Medicine Program, which provides veterinary medical services for 30 animal shelters and shelter medicine programs at three prisons in south Louisiana.
The LSU SVM Shelter Medicine Program services animal shelters and feral cat populations on prison grounds in Louisiana using one faculty veterinarian, a shelter medicine fellow and fourth-year veterinary students. The program also works with animal control facilities to improve animal health, spay/neuter adoptable animals, increase adoption rates and ensure humane euthanasia. This program also gives educational seminars for shelter volunteers, shelter workers, and school children on various issues related to the care of shelter animals and pets.
Feral cat issues are addressed as a major problem on the grounds of the three state prisons: Dixon Correctional Institute, Angola State Penitentiary and Avoyelles State Penitentiary. This grant will provide funds so that the shelter medicine program can continue to work with feral cat populations at these prisons. At Dixon Correctional, which has an animal control facility on the prison grounds, the inmates who work with the animals also attend seminars conducted by LSU SVM veterinary students. Seminar topics include parasitology, dermatology, proper disinfection protocols, and recognizing common diseases found in animal shelters.
“We spay and neuter feral cats and provide rabies vaccinations and flea control for feral cats on prison grounds,” said Dr. Wendy Wolfson (LSU SVM 1986), director of the Shelter Medicine Program. “The faculty, staff and students in the program also provide seminars for the prisoners to help them better understand veterinary medicine. Once they have completed the seminar series, they receive an LSU Shelter Medicine Certification. Three prisoners have continued their education in veterinary medicine to become certified veterinary technicians, and they paid for their certification with their own funds.”
“This program is truly unique, in the sense that the best interests of animals and humans are considered and brought together,” said Kathleen Makolinski, DVM, senior director of grants and spay/neuter programs at the ASPCA. “The ASPCA is pleased to provide this grant to the LSU Shelter Medicine Program so that they can continue to provide this innovative service and train the next generation of veterinarians regarding high quality, high volume spay/neuter and humane control of feral cat populations.”
This 12-month grant will allow the Shelter Medicine program to visit the prisons more frequently. Success will be measured by the number of ear tipped cats that are trapped. “We expect to spay or neuter 175 cats with these funds,” said Dr. Wolfson.
For more information about the ASPCA, please visit http://www.aspca.org. For more information about the LSU SVM, please visit http://www.vetmed.lsu.edu.
Photo: : Ashley Duvall, a fourth-year veterinary student from Ross University, and an inmate at Angola State Penitentiary work together to examine feral cats from the prison grounds.
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