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Drs. Carlos Risco (left) and Jerry Ritchey (right) as Dr. Kim Carter (center) visits with Rep. Mark McBride about the Shelter Medicine Program, which serves more than 30 shelters in Oklahoma providing spay/neuter surgeries to make their dogs and cats more adoptable to forever homes.

Rep. McBride Visits OSU’s Shelter Medicine Program

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Media Contact: Derinda Blakeney, APR | OSU College of Veterinary Medicine | 405-744-6740 | derinda@okstate.edu

State Rep. Mark McBride (R-Moore) toured Oklahoma State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine on Tuesday. Of particular interest to McBride was the college’s Shelter Medicine Program.

Earlier this year, McBride authored House Bill 1816. Known as Cali’s Law, the bill designates rescue animals as the state pet.

The Shelter Surgery Program partners with 30 Oklahoma animal shelters. Shelters bring cats and dogs of all ages to the veterinary hospital where, under the guidance of experienced clinical faculty, veterinary students evaluate each animal, anesthetize it, perform spay/neuter surgery, provide pain medication and allow the animal to recover comfortably in a low-stress environment. Animals then return to their respective shelters ready for adoption.

The hospital relies on donations from PetSmart Charities and private donors so they can offer this service to the shelters without charging a professional fee.

“It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved,” said Dr. Kim Carter, associate professor and section chief of shelter medicine. “Our students apply the surgical techniques they have learned, the shelters get a great service with no professional fees and the animals are returned ready to find forever homes more expediently.”

Carter said that veterinary students perform more than 3,000 spay/neuter surgeries, as well as other life-saving surgeries per year, gaining valuable surgical and clinical care experience during this rotation.

During a hospital tour, McBride met Milo — Milo’s owner Jennie Hays — and Dr. Erik Clary, a small animal surgeon at the hospital. Milo is the puppy that was born with upside down front paws. Dr. Clary performed life-saving surgery on Milo, rotating Milo’s paws upright. In the community practice service at the veterinary hospital, McBride’s dog, Cali, experienced a wellness exam. In the exam, fourth-year veterinary students Holly Richter and Breanne Morrell reviewed Cali’s medical history with McBride and gave the dog a physical exam. Dr. Lara Sypniewski supervised the students. The hospital’s community practice service sees approximately 4,150 wellness visits a year.

Left to right: Dean Dr. Carlos Risco, Rep. Mark McBride with Cali, Dr. Erik Clary, Leah Eaton (fourth year veterinary student), Megan Billen (fourth year veterinary student), Dr. Jerry Ritchey, Jennie Hays with Milo, Dr. Rosslyn Biggs and Dr. Jeff Studer. Both Milo and Cali are rescue dogs. Rep. McBride authored Cali’s Law which designates rescue animals as the state pet.

Rep. Mark McBride discusses Cali’s health with Dr. Lara Sypniewski while fourth year veterinary students Holly Richter (left) and Breanne Morrell (right) examine Cali.

“We appreciate Rep. McBride’s interest in our Shelter Medicine Program,” said Dr. Carlos Risco, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine. “In addition to obtaining clinical experience, our students gain an understanding and appreciation of the value that animal shelters have in mitigating the homeless pet problem in many of our communities.”

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