Western University of Health Sciences’ College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) reintroduced its Pet Health Center to the community in late January with a ribbon cutting ceremony that included tours of the facility. The focus of the center, according to the university, is to nurture the human-animal bond.
CVM fully operates the Pet Health Center, which was previously a Banfield Pet Hospital as part of a 10-year affiliation agreement with Banfield. CVM has spent the past year retraining staff and will continue to make improvements and changes to the center in the coming years, said Phillip Nelson, DVM, PhD, dean of the college.
“The vision for our Pet Health Center is to be the essential veterinary resource for the communities and students that we serve,” he said. “Our mission is to enhance and prolong the loving relationship between our clients and their pets for a lifetime. We are committed to making sure that we improve the health of the pets in this community, and in doing so we make a significant contribution to the public health of this community.”
The Pet Health Center will be remodeled to create stress-free environments for patients and to improve the learning experiences of CVM students, Dr. Nelson said.
“We will be changing our practices to make sure that the experiences our pets have are pleasant experiences,” he said. “We want to make sure we’re a family practice and an educational institution that’s committed to the community. On top of all that, we have to train our students. Some of the remodeling will be for student space.”
Other ways to make pet patients feel more comfortable: spraying pheromones in exam rooms or on towels to help calm down dogs and cats, and wearing muted grays and greens rather than white coats, which might be more pleasing to the eyes of a dog or cat.
“We’re trying to tone things down a little bit, trying to keep them calmer,” said Pet Health Center Hospital Director David Clark, DVM, Dipl. ABVP. “If a dog gets really upset I’ll take my coat off and get on the floor with them. It makes a huge difference. That’s how we want to approach care.”
The center will also one day house a dental suite and laparoscopic training, including digital dental radiographs, wet tables and an anesthesia machine.
CVM has two Veterinary Ambulatory Community Service (VACS) mobile units that provide preventative and wellness care and spaying and neutering in other communities.
“We’re going to spend the next year further integrating those mobile units so we can pick up and deliver animals for our clients to make it easy to get them in and out of the hospital, because we know we’re off the beaten path,” Nelson said.
“Being an educational institution, we believe it’s our obligation to develop new models and new methods of practice, and the veterinary profession is being challenged with the economics of health care delivery for animals,” he said. “We’ve got to be able to deliver quality medicine at an economical price.”