September 22, 2023
College of Veterinary Medicine students bring services to underserved community members
Volunteers on behalf of the K-State College of Veterinary Medicine had a busy day providing care for animals at the Everybody Counts event held on Aug. 5 at the Douglass Community Center in Manhattan.
The purpose of Everybody Counts is to provide no-cost services to vulnerable populations of the Manhattan community. Other participants in the event provided dental care, medical care and other social services from school district representatives, local organizations and other community organizations.
A team of about 35 volunteers, including veterinary students, nurses and veterinarians, participated. Pet owners invited to attend Everybody Counts are those without a primary care veterinarian and cannot afford care elsewhere.
“We’re thankful to the group of volunteers who dedicated a remarkable amount of their time and effort for Everybody Counts,” said Beth Davis, associate dean of clinical programs. “They stepped up to help people in the Manhattan Community through the planning and execution of this important event. Because of our team, we believe we were able to make a positive impact in our community and have a very successful event.”
Due to a high attendance volume, not all participants were able to be seen during the Everybody Counts event. Those who weren't seen were directed to the previously scheduled community outreach event the following Tuesday.
“The event that happened after Everybody Counts is part of a course that is called Shelter Medicine Community Outreach,” said Ron Orchard, postdoctoral fellow and director of community outreach. “We hold an event like that in town once a month. It just happened to be that these services were being offered again just a couple of days after Everybody Counts, which worked out great.”
At most monthly outreach events, a group of two to four veterinary students will provide care for an average of about 30 animals. At the event held after Everybody Counts, the K-State College of Veterinary Medicine team saw 128 animals by the end of the event.
"Our normal scope of services is doing wellness care, services such as vaccines, flea/tick medicine, heartworm testing and education," Orchard said. "Education is a large component of the provided service; however, we don't turn someone away if they need help. One of our mottos is, 'There is always something we can do.'"
The College of Veterinary Medicine team performed physical examinations, administered vaccines and provided preventative care. Products were donated by pharmaceutical and nutrition/pet food corporations. Veterinary students in the weeklong Shelter Medicine Community Outreach rotation also travel to Kansas City and Topeka, where they partner with local animal-care organizations for similar events. Orchard said this ensures that students have several opportunities to gain hands-on experience and client communication skills while caring for animals in a variety of settings.
More information about these outreach events will be posted to the T. Russell Reitz Animal Shelter Facebook page.