By Colin Burrowes, Spoke News
Visits to the vet don’t have to scare you if you are a student trying to make ends meet. East Village Animal Hospital, better known as EVAH, in Kitchener has your back if you are a pet-loving OSAP student or working student earning less than $40,131 per year.
“If they are on OSAP, they qualify immediately.” said Euraysia Duhainn, a medical veterinary assistant at EVAH, regarding the facility’s discounted rates. “All they need to do is bring in their OSAP confirmation papers or they can bring their notice of assessment.”
All the rates are reduced to help accommodate individuals with lower incomes. At EVAH, vaccinations are $10, cats are neutered for $75 and spayed for $100, and dogs are neutered for $175 and spayed for $200.
“EVAH is a high speed spay/neuter clinic,” said Bon Tran, a surgical veterinary assistant. “Up to 30 a day, generally spay/neuters for cats. A dog spay can be an hour or more, whereas cat spays — our vets have got down to seven minutes.”
Pets who have been spayed/neutered are eligible for full medical appointments.
“My job as a medical veterinary assistant is helping with appointments, vaccinations, blood draws, monitoring,” said Duhainn. “Pretty much everything that comes with a medical appointment.”
Animals six weeks old and over one kilogram are eligible for the spay/neuter service, but it is recommended pet owners wait until their kittens and puppies are at least 12 weeks old.
“That way we can spay/neuter and do all the vaccines at the same time,” aaid Duhainn. “It’s easier for them, cheaper for them and the cats or dogs are a little bit older so it’s safer for them as well.”
EVAH staff encourage new clients to call in advance if they are planning to get their pet in in for an appointment. There is usually a two-week wait for medical appointments and spay/neuters are booking a month in advance.
Laurie Ristmae, executive director at EVAH, also mentioned their affiliated dog and cat rescue, ARF Ontario.
“You’d think it’s mostly dogs because of the name, but ARF meows too,” said Ristmae. “ARF is a 100-per-cent volunteer group. We work with First Nations communities specifically. We take requests from band members to rescue, rehabilitate and re-home unwanted cats and dogs.”
They also provide animal welfare supports, such as delivering kibble and free dog houses in the winter.
“Anything we can do to help educate folks on animal welfare,” said Ristmae. “That is what we’re here to do in our First Nations communities.”
Both EVAH and ARF rely on volunteers, so Ristmae encourages anybody with a few free hours a week to inquire. Most importantly, she encourages pet owners who may have been putting off a vet visit to give the clinic a call.
“Sometimes people don’t take their animal to the vet for years,” said Ristmae. “They just assume it’s not accessibly priced.”
There is also a microloan program where the staff and volunteers will raise a little bit of money through events like bake sales.
“If there is an emergency situation – a life or death situation and the funds aren’t quite there at the time — we are going to try our best to figure something out for you,” Ristmae said.