SOURCE: University of Calgary

University of Calgary

February 09, 2017 10:00 ET

Vet med students offer pet wellness clinics at CUPS

Tough economic times create greater demand for the University of Calgary service learning initiative

CALGARY, AB--(Marketwired - February 09, 2017) - The University of Calgary Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (UCVM), in partnership with CUPS, is offering a series of pet wellness clinics to CUPS clients living below the poverty line. Third year UCVM students will provide free preventative health care for the pets of clients of the social agency, while honing their professional and communication skills and gaining experience with clients.

The current economic climate makes the initiative all the more crucial for CUPS clients.

"The economic downturn has increased the need for CUPS in general," says Amanda St. Laurent, manager of community development and engagement at CUPS. "For those with pets, this means that accessing veterinary care becomes incredibly difficult if not impossible."

The primary purpose of the program is to provide veterinary students an opportunity to interact with clients and their animals in a closely supervised situation. In exchange for spending approximately an hour with UCVM students, CUPS clients are not charged for the health visit. Students have the opportunity to take what they learned in the classroom out into the real world. With a veterinarian coaching them, the students do preventative medicine, deworming, vaccines, nutrition education and wellness education.

Dr. Serge Chalhoub, with UCVM, calls it a win-win-win situation, where veterinary students, pets and clients all benefit.

"It's about service learning," says Chalhoub, who, along with Dr. Jack Wilson, championed a pilot project two years ago that was so successful it is now part of the third-year curriculum. "Students learn by doing and also by doing in the community for real clients and pets."

"The UCVM clinics are a huge success," says St. Laurent. "For some clients, pets offer the only regular contact they have and help them overcome the social isolation and loneliness that accompany profound poverty. They are incredibly grateful for the care and information provided and the phone now rings all year round in hopes of getting in. We would love to see the day when this is offered year round, and we are so happy to be a part of it."

NOTE: Dr. Serge Chalhoub, Amanda St. Laurent, UCVM students and CUPS clients and their pets will be available to the media on Thursday, February 9, at 12:15 p.m. at CUPS, 1001 10 Ave SW, Calgary.

About the University of Calgary
The University of Calgary is making tremendous progress on its journey to become one of Canada's top five research universities, where research and innovative teaching go hand in hand, and where we fully engage the communities we both serve and lead. This strategy is called Eyes High, inspired by the university's Gaelic motto, which translates as 'I will lift up my eyes.'

For more information, visit ucalgary.ca. Stay up to date with University of Calgary news headlines on Twitter @UCalgary. For details on faculties and how to reach experts go to our media center at ucalgary.ca/mediacentre

Contact Information

  • Media Contact

    Collene Ferguson
    Manager, Marketing and Communications
    University of Calgary Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
    W: 403.210-6615
    C: 403.472.0206
    collene.ferguson@ucalgary.ca