University of Florida veterinary program gets funding to address shelter vet shortage

Published: Jan. 25, 2023 at 6:10 PM EST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine is receiving a grant of $510,000 from Petco Love to address the shortage of shelter medicine vets.

“There are some shelters in Florida that have no vet,” said Julie Levy, professor of shelter medicine. “Sometimes it’s because they’re small, they don’t have the budget for it to have their own full time vet.”

Workers at Alachua County Animal Resources and Care said their facility has one shelter vet, and because of UF’s veterinary program, they have several vet techs.

“Between more animals coming into shelters because of economy pressures and that shortage, it’s very difficult for animals to get the care they need,” said Levy.

The grant will support an internship program for six vets to get experience in shelter animal care.

Alyssa Comroe, Director of Shelter Medical Services at Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League in West Palm Beach, is a clinical mentor for these shelter medicine interns.

She said shelter vets do spay/neuter surgeries at much higher rates than vets in private practices.

“A difference is high volume spay/neuter. So my team of veterinarians today is going to do about 70 surgeries between two doctors. In private practice you’re looking at more like ten surgeries throughout the day,” said Comroe.

Avnee Mistry is one of the two interns currently supported by this grant.

“I knew that I wanted to go into shelter work but wanted to get a little more experience under my feet before going straight out to practice,” she said.

Mistry is currently working under Comroe at Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League. Through the grant, interns can work in the field at any shelter.

“I can be that person who has this amazing power to save their life, give them a new home, give them a second chance,” said Mistry.

With this grant giving that same opportunity to more vets, she’s hopeful it will change the fate of shelter animals for years to come.

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