The University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine and the Central Missouri Humane Society have begun a program that will give veterinary students hands-on surgical experience with cats and dogs from the Humane Society, allowing animals to receive surgical care free of charge at an MU facility.

MU students will spay and neuter animals from the Humane Society, gaining valuable surgical experience. “By fixing these animals before they are put up for adoption, it gives them a better chance to actually be adopted,” says Matthew Prator, a clinical instructor of shelter medicine in the MU College of Veterinary Medicine. “Students also will be providing the animals with immunizations to protect them from common diseases.”

“The program is extremely beneficial for the community,” adds Colin LaVaute, Shelter Relations Coordinator for the Central Missouri Humane Society. “When animals are sent to the Vet School, it frees up our schedule for low cost spays and neuters, and allows us to perform more of these services for those in Columbia that need it the most.”

Currently, MU is only working with the Central Missouri Humane Society, but university offi cials are looking to expand the program to more rural areas throughout Missouri.