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San Diego Humane Society launched its new Community Veterinary Program in August. Courtesy photo
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New program provides low-cost veterinary services

As anyone with a pet knows, veterinary care is expensive — too expensive for many San Diego families. And many people don’t have pet insurance, like they do personal health insurance. This difficult reality means many pets never receive even basic medical care such as vaccinations, spay or neuter surgeries, or treatment for common pet illnesses.

San Diego Humane Society — our region’s largest not-for-profit animal shelter with campuses in Oceanside, Escondido, Ramona, San Diego and El Cajon — has long worked to make pet care more accessible by providing low-cost services and vouchers for local veterinarian clinics. But the problem of limited access to veterinary care persists, and the organization knew it was time to take a bold step to address the community’s needs.

“This August, we have launched our new Community Veterinary Program, a suite of services that substantially expands access to veterinary care for San Diego families that need it the most,” said San Diego Humane Society President and CEO Dr. Gary Weitzman. “This new medical team is solely dedicated to providing care to owned pets, and their services will target areas in San Diego where our research shows the greatest financial obstacles to medical care.”

Featuring both a stationary clinic at the organization’s San Diego campus and a new mobile clinic that will travel to various neighborhoods, the new Community Veterinary Program will provide the following low-cost services:

• General medical veterinary exams — preventive and basic sick care.

• Wellness resources like vaccinations, flea medication and education on pet health.

• Pet medication pharmacy services.

• Vouchers for veterinary care and partnerships with private practices for follow-up.

“For our initial rollout, we will be taking our mobile clinic to areas in southeast San Diego, including Barrio Logan, Lincoln Park and Valencia Park, as well as neighborhoods near the U.S.-Mexico border,” said San Diego Humane Society Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Zarah Hedge. “As we learn more about the needs of our community, we will expand our reach throughout the county.”

San Diego Humane Society has a history of pioneering innovative ways to serve community needs, including a Kitten Nursery, Behavior Center and other lifesaving programs that help make San Diego committed to Stay at Zero euthanasia of healthy and treatable animals. They hope the Community Veterinary Program will also serve as a model for how shelters nationwide can create a more humane world by providing low-cost veterinary services directly to neighborhoods that need them most.

To learn more about the new Community Veterinary Program, make an appointment with the clinics, or make a tax-deductible contribution to support these services, visit sdhumane.org/cvp.

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