OSU Vet Med students serve community with low-cost vaccine clinic
Tuesday, May 2, 2023
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Students from the Oklahoma State University College of Veterinary Medicine recently partnered with Stillwater Animal Welfare to hold a low-cost vaccine clinic. Community members could bring their cats and dogs to receive a physical exam and routine vaccinations for only $15.
The Students for One Health, One Medicine club organized the event. Club president, Julie Hyatt, was excited to offer this service to the community.
“I am incredibly proud of the OSU veterinary and pre-veterinary students, Stillwater Animal Welfare and the Stillwater community for making this event such a success,” Hyatt said. “We were able to provide essential healthcare to 126 family members today. It was a great chance for the students to gain hands-on clinical experience, practice valuable communication skills and become more aware of the challenges pet owners can face, such as access to quality healthcare.”
Many in the community know the importance of these vaccinations, but barriers such as time and cost prevent them from making those appointments.
“I wanted to get my dog updated on shots, but after COVID it was kind of out of routine to go into the vet, so this was perfect and convenient,” said clinic attendee Raquelle Parli.
Second-year veterinary student, Ashley Intihar, frequently volunteers for vaccine clinics and explains that cost can be a major factor in animals going unvaccinated.
“There are a lot of people who have unvaccinated dogs or cats because they have to come into regular veterinary clinics and pay additional costs for necessary physical exams, etc. on top of the vaccines,” Intihar said. “We get the vaccines either through donation or at a lower cost and we [veterinary students] do the physical exams for free under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian. Low-cost vaccine clinics like this, help reduce financial constraints and provide a convenient way for people to get their pets vaccinated.”
Ensuring pets are up-to-date on routine vaccinations contributes to the health and well-being of not only the pet, but the community.
“More than 100 families are now able to feel more secure with the decision to have pets as their animals are now protected against deadly diseases, such as rabies and distemper,” Hyatt said. “These events help shed light on serious issues facing the veterinary field, such as a lack of affordable healthcare for pets and a gap in the quality and accessibility of rural medicine.”
Preventative medicine, such as a rabies vaccination, protects the health of both animals and humans. This is an example of the One Health concept, which is an approach that recognizes the health of people is closely connected to the health of animals and our shared environment.
The clinic provided students with valuable hands-on experience and the ability to see a practical application of the One Health concept, all while serving their community.
“This is a wonderful service that they're able to provide to the community and they're doing a great job,” Parli said.