According to the Census Bureau, in 2015, about 66.7 percent of Washington County residents had an annual income of $50,000 or lower.
The Humane Society of Washington County is doing their part to help two-thirds of its population by introducing a wellness clinic for pets.
“I would see animals that came here that had not had the correct vet care and had things that could have been taken care of on the front end, and so, people are having to give up their animals because they didn’t take care of something 5 years ago,” said Dr. Kate Allison, Humane Society of Washington County veterinarian.
“To see that animal come in and be suffering from something you know that could have been prevented — it’s tough,” said Nikki Houser, Veterinary Center director.
Treatment packages at the clinic include a wellness exam, deworming and vaccines. Additional services offered at the clinic are flea care, micro chipping and FeLv/FIV testing.
“Those vaccines — you’re probably looking at about $150 versus $50. I know most examines run $35-$45 — sometimes $49 — ours are $15,” Allison said.
Pet owners can bring their animals in between 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. every Wednesday. Every first and third Wednesday is a “cat day” while each second and fourth Wednesday is a “dog day.”
“It’s better for them, but it’s also better for the community, too, because it decreases the amount of people that get sick from say, roundworms, hookworms, that kind of thing. We get them dewormed, we send off a fecal to the lab,” Allison said.
Similar programs have already rolled out in D.C. with proven effectiveness, according to Allison, who said the clinic could help Washington County for decades in the future.
“A little bit of prevention is much easier than dealing with a big bordetella outbreak,” Allison said.
“What I’m most looking forward to is the ability we have of preventing animals being surrendered to us that come in with illnesses that these vaccinations could have prevented,” Houser said.
Pet owners are required to show documentation that proves that they make $50,000 or less annually to qualify for the clinic.
Dogs must be on leashes and cats must be crated.