Positive Impact of Mobile Clinic

Through our Reservation Animal Rescue™ (RAR) program, PWNA provided a $10,000 grant to Midwestern University’s Animal Health Institute in Glendale, AZ.

The funding was slated to support spay and neuter services for the San Carlos Apache Tribe using their mobile clinic.

Photo of Midwestern's Mobile Clinic

Rachael Kreisler, VMD, MSCE, an Assistant Professor for Shelter Medicine at the new state of the art veterinary facility, shared “these dogs are the most challenged with the greatest health issues” that she has seen.

She recognized that the communities surrounding the university facility have had animal welfare issues, but those living in tribal communities were compounded by lack of access and remoteness.

Photo of Dr. Kreisler performing surgery Dr. Kreisler said the grant helped spay and neuter animals, but equally providing invaluable experience for the university students.

We recently sat down with Dr. Kreisler to learn more. She talked about moving from Pennsylvania to Arizona to be part of the newly opened Animal Health Institute at Midwestern University, which provided opportunities for veterinary students while serving the pets and their human companions.

Although the mobile clinic was a mere fraction of space compared to the 100,000+ square foot of teaching clinic, it provided the equipment and environment needed to provide veterinary services in areas that lacked the benefit of a local vet or clinic.

Dr. Kreisler said the grant helped spay and neuter animals, but equally providing invaluable experience for the university students. She added, “The slots for students is already full for the next clinic scheduled for February 25th- everyone wants to be part of this. We roll with about 6-9 students, plus staff and we can get about 25 animals a day done” in the truck.

They were able to get many more done by setting up shop as a “mobile style unit” using a community building, allowing for more tables and surgeries at one time, but this often caused hardships for communities that don’t have the extra facility space to accommodate a large team. Dr. Kreisler credited Dr. Lisa Shriver, from Ohio, and her work in tribal communities as the foundation for the partnership. “She is a regular and predictable resource--she gets them healthy, providing to the animals medically and we provide the surgical support—we complement each other,” Dr. Kreisler stated.

In addition to the 20 spays and 21 neuters provided in the first two of four mobile clinics in San Carlos funded by the RAR program, they were also able to provide some specialty surgeries that would not have been possible without the mobile clinic and staff and students being on site.

Dr. Kreisler recalled a dog brought to the first clinic. It had been attacked by a Javelina, a small wild pig prevalent to this area. Fortunately, they were able to repair a laceration to the leg. During another clinic, a cat was brought in with an injured leg. The owners were left to self-care strategies without a local vet and knew that the cat needed more than they could provide. Even with a forelimb amputation, the feline seemed relieved to have the pain gone and recovered quickly.

Midwestern wants to continue their collaborations to support reservation animals and companion families. Dr. Kreisler clarified that, “I would love to develop ways to get more (Native) kids and teens interested in veterinary education. A goal over time would be to look for model resources, support community education because having a healthy animal community is important in all communities.”