“WisCARES, started in July of 2014, as an interdisciplinary outreach program at the University of Wisconsin that combines veterinary medicine, social work, and pharmacy to support pet owners experiencing housing instability or barriers to access veterinary medical care in the surrounding county. Students from participating disciplines work in collaboration with each other and with professional staff and volunteers to provide support from multiple angles, always with a goal of keeping pets with their families. Over the past 3 ½ years, we have worked with over 450 families experiencing homelessness or housing instability by providing basic veterinary care, boarding and foster for their dogs and cats so that they may access shelter of their own, pet food and basic pet supplies, and integrated case management geared towards increasing access to social services and human healthcare. We have had nearly 100 VM1-VM3 students volunteer with this program and, since January 2016, the vast majority of fourth-year students have spent time with WisCARES as part of their primary care rotation.
This past year has been one of growth for WisCARES as we position ourselves to expand both our footprint and clinical offerings. Originally, we had hoped to move into a larger space in June of 2017, which will allow us to add additional diagnostic imaging options along with a surgery suite. Unexpected events pushed back that timeline, but we are moved in and open now. We started seeing clients in our new location in June of 2018.
During the delay in getting into the new space, we took the opportunity to work with students and the Primary Care department to develop clear protocols for its use in the new space along with comprehensive training on how to use the machine provided in part by SOUND®.
We are grateful for the donation of the P6 ultrasound from SOUND®, which provides a high level of care to WisCARES clients. We are particularly appreciative of the ability to triage urgent cases and the opportunity to teach students how to perform safe sample collection via ultrasound-guided cystocentesis that this machine provides. We have also been using the ultrasound more and more each week to help with urgent cases coming through our doors.
Prior to our move, WisCARES and the upcoming move was highlighted in December of 2017 the Wisconsin State Journal – please see the the following link to the story! Click HERE to read that article.
We are tremendously grateful of the support for our students, clients, and patients that you have provided!
-Dr William Giles