Shelter Pet Vet Care

Vet examining a cat

The Animal Foundation runs one of the most successful high-volume veterinary care operations for shelter pets in the nation, serving thousands of lost and homeless animals that come to us in need every year.

In addition to our public Low-Cost Vet Clinic, our veterinary medical team provides specialized and compassionate medical care to every shelter pet that enters our doors. Last year, the team performed over 14,000 spay and neuter surgeries on pets at the shelter, in addition to treating thousands of sick and injured animals.

Highly-Specialized Veterinary Skills and Care

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The animal shelter environment is unique in the veterinary care field, encompassing challenges that are either less common or nonexistent in private veterinary clinics. Shelter veterinarians treat patients that often have no known health or behavioral history. These pets are generally sicker than owned pets, suffering from malnutrition, severe injuries, parasites, infectious diseases, and more. Beyond the needs of individual patients, shelter veterinarians must also be experts in managing the health and care of large pet populations, with hundreds of individual pets under their care each day. The shelter team must be experts in animal behavior, disease control, preventative medicine, organizational policy, and more.

Highly-Focused, Individualized Pet Care

Taking care of hundreds of animals on a daily basis requires a high level of oversight and organization involving many highly-skilled and trained people. Each day, there are four veterinary teams focused on providing medical care for shelter animals (including those in foster care), and there is one team performing spay and neuter surgeries on shelter pets. Our medical teams evaluate every animal’s health every day. They treat dozens of sick and injured pets each day and ensure that all shelter pets are up-to-date on preventative healthcare. Our highly-skilled surgeons perform 45-50 spay and neuter surgeries daily. Our veterinary team also works closely with our behavior/enrichment team to protect the mental health of our shelter pets. Daily collaboration between our veterinary and behavior teams ensures that we are able to care for animals with more complex medical and behavioral conditions each year. These teams together provide multiple layers of care and touchpoints for each of the homeless animals in our care on an ongoing basis.

Evolving Needs, Expanding Pet Services

As an open-admission animal shelter, we take in every lost, stray, and homeless animal who comes to us in need, no matter how sick or how severely injured. This includes not just dogs and cats, but reptiles, birds, small mammals, farm animals, and more. With the support of our community, we are working toward saving every healthy and treatable animal who comes to us in need. As we move closer and closer to this goal (and continue to decrease shelter intake through preventative programs such as spay and neuter services and Community Cats), many of the animals in our care have more complex health and behavioral issues and take longer to adopt. In our new facilities, we will have increased capacity for vital procedures and more advanced equipment for trauma care, as well as the capacity for more staff. As we increase our shelter care, we will also increase our public clinic services to meet the community’s need for affordable, low-cost, high-quality pet healthcare for all.

Community Leadership in Pet Healthcare Issues

The Animal Foundation’s clinic plays an unparalleled role in animal welfare in the community, both in terms of community access to services and community awareness. The outbreak of highly-contagious canine influenza in Reno, Nevada in early 2018 is a good example of this. When canine influenza entered the state of Nevada, The Animal Foundation, with an at-risk population of hundreds of dogs in close quarters, became ground-zero for prevention efforts in Las Vegas. Our veterinary clinic acted immediately to secure the two-step vaccination for our entire shelter pet population. Policies were instantly changed to require the vaccination of all current and incoming residents. Additionally, the decision was made to secure and offer canine influenza vaccinations at cost through our public Low-Cost Vet Clinic to the Las Vegas community.

In the event of potential risks such as these, the media turns to The Animal Foundation for answers. Our communications staff, working closely with our veterinary team, were able to stay ahead of developments, keep the media informed, and quickly launched a marketing campaign to alert the community that vaccines were available at cost at our public Low-Cost Vet Clinic.

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