Test-Bed Veterinary Clinic Treats over 250 Pets in First Five Months, While Nurturing the Next Generation of Veterinary Professionals
BOSTON and Westford, Mass. July, 18, 2016 – It’s been five months since Boston’s MSPCA-Angell opened the doors to Angell at Nashoba, a veterinary clinic for low income pet owners in Nashoba Valley that also serves as a rigorous academic and experiential training ground for students enrolled at Nashoba Valley Technical High School.
And after less than half a year in operation, students and pet owners are singing its praises.
To date the clinic has treated over 80 pets for various conditions such as ear and skin infections, cruciate ligament ruptures, dental procedures and mass removals. The clinic has also spayed and neutered a total of 20 cats and dogs and vaccinated over 120 animals for rabies and other diseases.
This activity is overseen by the clinic’s medical director, Dr. Laurence Sawyer. “We’re glad that word has gotten out because both halves of our mission are essential to our success: advancing a world-class, hands-on learning experience for the next generation of veterinary assistants and providing essential healthcare services for an underserved population of pet owners,” she said.
Nashoba Valley Technical High School students interested in a career in veterinary medicine perform tasks such as client and patient intake, record keeping, appointment setting, animal restraint and laboratory testing, all supervised under the direction of their licensed chapter 74 teacher, with guidance from Dr. Sawyer and the clinic’s practice manager, who is a certified veterinary technician.
There are currently four juniors and 10 sophomores enrolled in the new veterinary assistant program at the high school and that number is expected to grow very quickly now that the program has established in conjunction with the veterinary clinic.
Student Gabby Cartaglia credits her work in the clinic for polishing her skills. “We learn so much in the high school classroom here—from anatomy to animal handling skills and background knowledge of animal science—but there’s just no replacement for the real-world experience of booking appointments, assisting the medical team and ensuring the patients’ needs are met,” she said. “I just love the experience and I’m feeling much more confident in my abilities. I’m excited for the future!”
In addition, fourth year veterinary students from Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine and other veterinary schools around the country can come to Angell at Nashoba to further their hands-on learning experience on their path to becoming a veterinarian, adding another educational dimension to the program: the veterinary student gains experience under the tutelage of Dr. Sawyer while engaging the high school students in the practice of veterinary medicine.
“When you have several different levels of education occurring simultaneously, it opens the discussion to everyone and creates a very stimulating educational environment where everyone can learn from each other,” said Dr. Sawyer.
Angell at Nashoba provides discounted spay and neuter services, vaccinations and basic veterinary care for cats, dogs and other pets. The clinic’s services are offered exclusively to the region’s population of low income pet owners who cannot afford care for their animals at general veterinary practices.
To qualify for care, the owners must meet income guidelines of no more than 275 percent above the federal poverty level. This includes Massachusetts SNAP (formerly known as EBT or Food Stamps), WIC (Women, Infants, and Children), public housing and the fuel assistance program (LIHEAP).
Angell at Nashoba is open weekdays from 7:45 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. throughout the year. The clinic does not provide overnight care, specialty care or 24/7 emergency service, as Angell’s Boston and Waltham facilities do, but will refer cases as appropriate to surrounding specialty veterinary referral hospitals. Appointments can be scheduled via phone at 978-577-5992. To learn more about the clinic and the services it offers, click here.
About Angell Animal Medical Center
Angell Animal Medical Center cares for more than 60,000 animals a year and is one of the most acclaimed veterinary practices in the country. Angell has 88 doctors and an experienced support staff who work as a team to ensure high quality general wellness, emergency and specialty care. With nearly 40 board-certified specialists and technology that includes an MRI specifically designed for animals, Angell is committed to providing a broad range of specialized expertise and experience, but delivers this care with one-on-one compassion that animals and their owners deserve. Angell is open for emergencies 24 hours of every day of the year, and offers night and weekend appointments with our specialty services. For more information visit www.angell.org
About Nashoba Valley Technical High School
Established in 1968, Nashoba Valley Technical High School is a public, four-year, career-focused high school fostering academic, personal and professional success. The school promotes a lifetime of learning and achievement, providing students with quality teaching, specialized instruction in 20 industry-approved technical programs, personalized academic support and leadership development opportunities. Students are ready to thrive in a global environment. And what’s more, these young men and women develop a strong sense of community, social responsibility and personal integrity that will take them as far as they want to go. For more information visit www.nashobatech.net