(December 1, 2008 Stillwater, OK) – Students at Oklahoma State University’s (OSU) Center for Veterinary Health Sciences are doing more at OSU than learning how to be a veterinarian. They are volunteering in the Stillwater community. Such is the case for Carey Bachman, Class of 2010, and Shana Watkins, Class of 2011.
“Every Wednesday afternoon since my second semester during my first year of veterinary college, I have worked at the Stillwater Humane Society,” says Bachman. “Now that I’m a third year veterinary student, my schedule is too full with junior surgery and Shana has stepped in.”
The veterinary students assist Dr. Katrina Meinkoth with medical treatments of the shelter animals and serve as teaching assistants when veterinary student classes come to the shelter. The program has been in place for 13 years.
“When I learned that the Stillwater Humane Society was the benefactor of the OSU Homecoming philanthropy, I thought it was a good way to get more veterinary students involved,” explains Watkins. “We worked two weekends and had about 16 volunteers including Dr. Brenda Love from the Oklahoma Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory.”
In addition, various OSU Greek community members and residence halls volunteered walking and bathing shelter animals. The veterinary students helped prepare the facility for Homecoming and repaired some fencing.
“Our goal was to make the facilities look nice and to clean the wards to a level that would improve the quality of life and medical care provided to the animals for months to come,” says Watkins. “It helped having the veterinary students there because they know how to clean to medical standards. It’s part of our training.”
According to Watkins, the wards still look great now, nearly two months since their work day.
“About two weeks before Homecoming, the shelter experienced a ring worm outbreak,” adds Bachman. “Basically you have to bleach all surfaces, isolate the infected animals and give them special baths. The Omega Tau Sigma veterinary students came out and bathed the cats and kittens that were affected.”
Both students agree that volunteering at the Humane Society is a good way to apply many of the things they are learning in class such as Parasitology, working with different drugs and the various treatments different species require.
“It’s fulfilling to help animals in need,” smiles Bachman. “And, of course, you end up fostering dogs or cats until a permanent home can be found.”
“It was great to see so many people helping at the Stillwater Humane Society. It generated a lot of interest in the Humane Society and their needs,” adds Watkins. “I hope to make the Vet Med Work Day an every semester activity.”
Although the final count is not yet in, the OSU Alumni Association estimates that almost $9,000 was raised to benefit the Stillwater Humane Society.
The Oklahoma State University Center for Veterinary Health Sciences is one of 28 veterinary colleges in the United States and is fully accredited by the Council on Education of the American Veterinary Medical Association. The center’s Boren Veterinary Medial Teaching Hospital is open to the public and provides routine and specialized care for small and large animals. It also offers 24 hour emergency care and is certified by the American Animal Hospital Association. For more information, visit www.cvhs.okstate.edu or call (405) 744-7000.