Medical care at the T. Russel Reitz Animal Shelter will be expanded thanks to a new partnership with Kansas State University.
The Manhattan-located animal shelter will work with KSU College of Veterinary Medicine’s shelter medicine program to provide services at the facility to improve the welfare of animals in their care and give students more opportunities for hands-on education.
Students with the university’s shelter medicine mobile surgery unit will be stationed at T. Russell Reitz evaluating cases and performing surgeries on a weekly basis. Additionally, interns will also be utilized by the shelter another day each week enabling them to have a day-to-day presence.
Manhattan Director of Parks and Recreation Eddie Eastes says the city and shelter are pleased about the partnership.
“This partnership will help the animal shelter fulfill its mission to protect public health through the sheltering of homeless companion animals and promote humane treatment and responsible pet ownership,” Eastes says. “We are confident this partnership will benefit the community by ensuring animals at the shelter have the best care possible as we help reintroduce them into the community through our adoption program.”
College of Vet. Med. Interim Dean Bonnie Rush says their goal is to “enhance the health and adoptability” of the animals they treat.
“Occasionally, there are relatively inexpensive interventions — beyond spay/neuter — that will improve the likelihood of adoption,” says Rush. “True to our motto, ‘Future Vets Helping Future Pets,’ senior veterinary students appreciate the opportunity to strengthen their skills. Even more so, they appreciate using their skills to improve the lives of unwanted and abandoned pets.”
Since its creation in 2015, the shelter medicine program has completed more than 16,000 surgeries for more than 20 partnering groups since it was created in 2015. In 2018, T. Russell Reitz placed 1,398 animals — and Manhattan Director of Animal Services Deborah Watkins is confident the university’s involvement will help increase that.
There is also the possibility of future expansion of services provided by the shelter and its KSU partners as the shelter is in the process of building a surgery suite that can also serve as a dental unit — but additional funding is needed to complete it.