Michigan State cancels mobile spay/neuter clinic following competition complaints


MSU cancels mobile clinic partly in response to concerns about competition from local DVMs.

EAST LANSING, MICH. — Michigan State University's College of Veterinary Medicine (MSU) cancelled its Mobile Spay and Neuter Clinic program, partly in response to concerns about competition from local practitioners.

The three-week mobile program was designed to serve as a hands-on surgical experience for MSU veterinary students, says MSU spokesperson Kristen Flory. The mobile clinic traveled to various locations across Michigan once a year with about 25 veterinary students performing some 1,400 surgeries to low-income areas. The primary goal of the program was to provide experience for veterinary students, not to develop a low-cost sterilization service for Michigan residents, Flory says.

The college received "many" complaints about the program over the last few years, Flory says, with the majority of those complaints coming from veterinarians across the state and, more recently, leaders in the veterinary profession. The complaints from veterinarians ranged from loss of business to concern about the absence of follow-up for monitoring animals, lack of continuity of care and the absence of consistent service. While the concerns from practitioners factored into the decision to cancel the mobile clinic, the discontinuation was based primarily on the college's mission and goals, Flory says.

"It is not true that we discontinued the Mobile Clinic because of a few veterinarians' complaints about losing business," says Dr. Charles DeCamp, professor and chair of Small Animal Clinical Sciences. "With our limited funding, and our commitment to quality education, the college cannot be a low-cost spay-and-neuter service for the state of Michigan. There are other organizations in the state that do have that mission."

Flory says the mobile clinic is being replaced by a new program that will better serve veterinary students. A new shelter-medicine program currently in development will provide long-term, structured, continuous education for veterinary students, Flory says.

"While serving the community is extremely beneficial, the primary mission of the College of Veterinary Medicine is to train veterinarians to become the best practitioners," says Christopher Brown, dean of the veterinary program at MSU. "All of us at CVM are deeply committed to the care and welfare of animals. However, we are even more passionate about teaching the next generation of veterinarians in the best possible way."

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