LSU veterinary school receives ASPCA grant to support the large animal shelter program

For Immediate Release:  April 6, 2017


BATON ROUGE—The LSU School of Veterinary Medicine (LSU SVM) has received a $5,000 grant from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) to provide care for horses in need, community disaster planning and response and expanded services to underserved areas of Louisiana.


The LSU SVM Disaster Response & Training Program provides needed aid during a disaster and uses these experiential opportunities as a teaching tool for present and future veterinarians and other animal care personnel. Hurricanes Ivan, Katrina, Rita, Gustav, Isaac, the 2010 Gulf Oil Spill, the Mississippi River flooding in Tennessee (May 2011), the flooding in south Louisiana in August 2016 and smaller scale rescues including vehicular accidents and flood rescues make up the list of responses since the program was formalized in 2005. Regular maintenance of vehicles, medicine, supplies and travel to keep this program funded is vital. Responding to disasters and helping serve the needs of shelter horses also provides valuable experience for the LSU SVM faculty, staff and students.


“There is a growing problem in our state and nationally with overpopulation of unwanted horses, with municipal animal shelters usually unequipped to care for so many neglected animals,” said Rebecca McConnico, DVM (LSU SVM 1987), PhD, DACVIM, professor of equine medicine. “Engaging our veterinary students as part of a medical team to work with the shelters provides vital medical services for these animals and, at the same time, provides the students with real-life hands-on experiences, strengthening the students’ core skills and confidence as they move into the veterinary work force. Students participate in animal physical assessments, body scoring, vaccinations, deworming, castration procedures, first aid, dentistry, problem-solving, and client communications. It’s a win-win community engagement for us as it makes up an important part of the clinical training program, and the shelter horses, ponies, and donkeys receive needed care which in turn, improves their chances of having a quality life and of eventually being re-homed. Generous and continued support by groups such as the ASPCA allows us to continue this important work. We were delighted to hear this news and deeply appreciate this support!”


“There are many wonderful horses available for adoption at rescues and sanctuaries around the country, and we applaud LSU for dedicating their time and resources to rehabilitating these animals to ensure they can escape the sad fate that awaits over 100,000 American horses who are sent to slaughter each year,” said Matt Stern, senior director of ASPCA Anti-Cruelty Operations. “The ASPCA is pleased to award this grant to the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine to assist in their critical efforts to provide care to horses in need to give them a better chance at finding a loving home.”


About the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine:

The LSU School of Veterinary Medicine is one of only 30 veterinary schools in the United States and the only one in Louisiana. Our faculty, staff and students are dedicated to improving the lives of people and animals through education, service and research. 


Photo: St. Landry Parish Animal Control & Rescue takes in approximately 100 horses each year.


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