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WSU Clinic Treats Pets And Their Owners

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

When pet owners take their animals to the vet, it’s not often they can also get care for themselves. But Washington State University has introduced a “Healthy People, Healthy Pets” clinic that allows animal owners to take care of two things at once at no cost. The latest day was Friday.

In an exam room in WSU’s Veterinary Specialty Clinic, Travis Vasconcellos is finishing a quick check on a young jet black cat named Roxie. Vasconcellos is a fourth-year vet student. He turns to talk to Roxie’s owner at the end of the examination table.

“I didn’t find anything abnormal, so our game plan here is I’m going to go talk to Dr. Bell and then we’re going to come in both together to examine her. She’s going to get her one set of vaccines as well as we’re going to do a test on her. This is just to check if there’s anything wrong. We’re checking for leukemia in the felines," Vasconcellos said. 

“Worms or anything?” asks Roxie's owner.

“Worms we won’t check. However we will prescribe medications for her that can de-worm her,” Vasconcellos said.

As she waits for Roxie’s shots, the cat’s owner says she heard about the clinic on Facebook. So, apparently, did some of the dozen or so other animal owners waiting in the lobby. Several people lined up outside in the cold a half hour before the clinic was scheduled to open.

Vasconcellos is one of 10 vet students and two professors who drove from Pullman this morning. They were accompanied by Veterinary Medicine dean Bryan Slinker.

“This is kind of how they would work if we were in our hospital in Pullman," Slinker said. "The student does most of the interaction. It’s part of their education. And the faculty checks in with them to see how it’s going. They’re not doing anything really different than they’d be doing if they stayed in Pullman today. They’re seeing different stuff and getting what I think is an enhancement to their education by being here rather than in Pullman.”

When the work is done on the pets, the owners have the option of visiting WSU nursing students who are sitting at tables in an area near the exam rooms. Students in crimson scrubs check blood pressures and perform other simple tests. Two students explain to a young man here with his dog that they can give him up to three vaccines: flu, hepatitis and measles, mumps, rubella. He accepts all three.

This is the third time WSU has offered this combined animal/people clinic in Spokane. Slinker says vet students who do rotations in Seattle participate in similar events every other week at a clinic in Belltown.