Free surgery: The pets and the vets

In just one day, Surrey and Burnaby animal hospitals performed 40 free surgeries to help local shelters.



Photos (above) by Boaz Joseph / The Leader

More than 40 homeless animals got a boost with free surgery on Sunday, courtesy of two Lower Mainland veterinary clinics.

On Jan. 25, during Vets in Action Day, staff and volunteers at Surrey’s Kennedy Heights Animal and Bird Hospital and Burnaby Veterinary Hospital closed their doors to regular patients and performed, at their own time and expense, surgery on about 40 furry patients.

The dogs and cats, in the care of local shelters and waiting for adoption, were spayed, neutered, and had dental work and other minor procedures.

“Vets in Action Day started with the idea of creating a day when the businesses and people in the veterinary industry could give back to their local communities,” said Burnaby veterinarian Dr. Claudia Richter, who ran the program starting last year.

The animals were brought to the clinics from both the SPCA and other animal shelters in the Lower Mainland.

Last year, Vets in Action performed 25 surgeries, at no cost, and raised more than $1,500 for the BC SPCA.

This year, Kennedy Heights Animal Hospital joined in added an extra 11 animals to the list – eight cats (six dental surgeries, two spay/neuters) and three dogs (all spay/neuters.)

“The idea is that each of us every year will try to get another clinic involved,” said owner Dr. Linda Schild, who volunteered her time with three other veterinarians at her clinic (two from other offices) and a dozen other assistants and specialists.

“We can’t begin to express how grateful we are to Dr. Claudia Richter, Dr. Linda Schild and their teams at Burnaby Veterinary Hospital and Kennedy Heights Animal Hospital for organizing Vets in Action day, and to everyone who is volunteering to help,” said BC SPCA Burnaby Branch manager Ryan Voutilainen.

Voutilainen said the day’s surgeries at both clinics helped the BC SPCA save about $20,000 in surgical costs, which are about $1 million per year provincewide.

“We rely entirely upon community support to carry out our services and programs, so this kind of event allows us to help even more animals.”

Fundraising continues at www.gofundme.com/j0q42w

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/vetsinaction