The Community Practice Service of the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vétérinaire (CHUV) of the Université de Montréal just received a financial boost thanks to one of Canada’s leading funders of animal welfare. PetSmart Charities of Canada has provided a $25,000 grant to the Community Medicine Fund to help support the community practice service.

This service will provide veterinary care to animals from vulnerable clientele such asunder-resourced communities, people living with mental health issues, living in precarious or homeless circumstances or with social phobias. In addition, it serves animals at high-risk of abandonment from vulnerable clientele of the Maskoutain region, as well as in Indigenous communities in remote areas. The community practice service also offers veterinary care and a consultation service specializing in shelter medicine to animal rescue organizations.

Services are offered through ad hoc mobile clinics, by telemedicine consultations, and in situ at the CHUV Shelter facilities to enable sterilization and minor surgery, vaccination as well as preventive and curative medicine for minor pathologies.

This project also aims to develop an educational component, as well as tools to raise awareness for stakeholder populations regarding the challenges linked to pet ownership, basic care and responsible adoption. It will also educate veterinary students to the realities faced by vulnerable clienteles regarding the accessibility of veterinary care, and  will  significantly increase the annual capacity for student internships (from 15-20 to 25-30).

Across the country, PetSmart Charities of Canada has provided more than $300,000 in support to some of the nation’s foremost veterinary schools. The grants all support similar initiatives that enhance the practical experience of future veterinarians while also improving access to high-quality wellness services and medical care for pets. These low-cost pop-up clinics, placed in communities where they are needed most, can help reduce barriers pet parents may face due to language/translation challenges, socio-economic status or access to pet-friendly transportation.

“At PetSmart Charities of Canada, we believe that all pet guardians want to provide the very best care to their pets, and we want to help them access that care,” says Dani LaGiglia, regional relationship manager at the national pet charity. “At the same time, we know that students pursue a career in veterinary medicine because they want to help all pets in need. Grants like this one enable us to bring those two principles together by funding community veterinary clinics that will help pets and their people to live their healthiest, happiest lives together.”