January 8th
Community Veterinary Outreach Clinics

Earlier this week we announced the receipt of a $30,000 PetSmart Charities of Canada Grant to help homeless or vulnerably housed pet owners in KW and in the surrounding areas through ongoing Community Veterinary Outreach (CVO) clinics. Our news received a lot of media attention and we’d like to take this opportunity to tell you a bit more about how we plan to use this money.

What are Community Veterinary Outreach (CVO) pop-up clinics and how are they accessed?

These clinics are not a new idea. In the past they were run by Golden Triangle Community Veterinary Outreach, of which we were partners, but at their request and for 2021, funded by the PetSmart Grant these clinics will continue.

CVO clinics are run in partnership with community social services, including Supportive Housing of Waterloo, Kitchener-Waterloo YWCA, City of Kitchener, City of Waterloo, Ontario Veterinary College, the Region of Waterloo and Waterloo Region Police Services, to name a few.

To gain access to a CVO clinic the pet owner needs to be referred by one of more than 28 partner organizations.

Are CVO clinics really needed in KW?

According to 2018 Region of Waterloo statistics, there are an estimated 2,652 homeless/vulnerably housed individuals in Waterloo Region and 20% of them are pet owners. That’s over 500 pets that are in need of veterinary care that their owners most likely can’t afford.

Providing veterinary care, at no cost, allows clients to reserve their funds for other personal needs. We understand the value of the bond between pets and their owners, and how important they are to both their physical and mental health. Ensuring these pets are healthy and vaccinated/sterilized may even assist them in obtaining long term housing. 

What services are provided at a CVO clinic and what veterinary professionals are involved?

At the clinic each pet will receive vaccines, preventative de-worming and flea prevention, and is treated for minor medical (eye/ear infections). If further medical care is needed the pet owner is referred to the Animal Hospital located at the 250 Riverbend Dr. (Kitchener location of the Humane Society). All services are offered free of charge.

Education on the benefits of proper pet nutrition, dental care and spay/neuter are also provided during these clinics. 

Services are provided by the humane society veterinary team and supported by other veterinarians in the community, vet techs, volunteers, University of Guelph veterinary students and social support workers.

But that is not all..

What is One Health Approach?

One Health Approach is a way of providing medical care to the pets and pet owners at the same time. While pets are receiving veterinary care, CVO clinics also offer human health services at the same time/location.  These could include smoking cessation session, access to a harm reduction nurse, a visit to a dental hygienist, or even getting a flu vaccination.  The idea is that when speaking to the owner about why we do this preventative type care for their animals, we can encourage them to access these services for themselves as well. Human health services are also offered at no cost through our partner organizations. 

When will be CVO clinics be offered again?

Having just received the grant and given the COVID-19 restrictions we don’t know when the next clinic will be offered, but we are hopeful that we’ll be able to set a date for later this year. Ideally, we’d like to provide 4 pop up clinics each year and each clinic is estimated to serve 25 individuals and their pets.

By: Anya Barradas, Marketing and Communications Manager