Visit to Low Cost High Volume Clinic in Shenandoah Valley
I went to the Shenandoah Valley Low Cost High Volume Spay Neuter clinic today, set up by Spay Virginia. It wasn't a huge clinic in terms of size, but they're sterilising 25 animals a day - both cats and dogs. They set up using the Humane Alliance Model - the Humane Alliance come in and help teach the protocol based on the model they used in their first clinic in Ashville. They gave a presentation at CHAMP last year and were very impressive.
Cate, the lovely lady who manages the Shenandoah clinic, and who took time out of her busy schedule to show me around, said that the Humane Alliance were quite invaluable in helping out. She said that they came and showed them everything from samples of the forms they might want to use to vet techniques to do high volume spays and neuters.
The low cost rate applies to everyone - they aim it at low income and feral cat caregivers, but no one is turned away if they can pay the cost, which is US$35 for males and US$50 for females. It would be too time consuming and complicated to do means testing for income. They're also considering switching using sutures to stainless steel, because it is cheaper and apparently the cats have no reaction to it at all, which is great!
They have two operating tables, which I was told saves a lot of time because the vet can easily move from room to room.
The clinic also has a van that does pick ups for rescue groups or people living further away - it services an area of about 100 miles. Residents from the nearby areas must however bring the cats in themselves. Cate mentioned they will be expanding the clinic so that they can have three surgeries and hire more vets to do more animals.
She mentioned that they still have a waiting list of people who want to bring their animals in and that around 80% of their clients have never brought the animal to a vet, whether it be a pet or a feral/community cat. As such, this clinic is the only chance these cats will have to be sterilised. They also did an event last month where they worked with a local welfare group to do cats and did 330 in three days! Amazing work.
Few of the cats have complications and those that have died have had pre-existing conditions when they did a necropsy.
Thanks to Teresa and Cate for organising my visit!