Spayathon for Puerto Rico: Report from Round 3

Spayathon for Puerto Rico, woman comforting her dog who is recovering from surgeryUF Shelter Medicine alumni have stepped up for Round 3 of Spayathon for Puerto Rico. With one entire round still to go, the massive event — the largest coalition effort ever to conduct spay/neuter and vaccination clinics for free — has already spayed/neutered and vaccinated 22,922 pets as of yesterday. And this round isn’t over yet!

The Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program at UF joined the 26 animal welfare organizations that came together in response to the leadership of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

“While this is a powerful team effort, if there’s one person behind the success of this event, it’s Tara Loller of HSUS,” said Dr. Julie Levy, Fran Marino Endowed Professor of Shelter Medicine Education. “Her vision and determination are what made it possible.”

Spayathon for Puerto Rico volunteers, Round 3
Left to right: Dr. Megan Brown (2012); Dr. Alana Canupp (2013); Dr. Emmy Ferrell (2017); at ViDAS site in Bayamón

Team #UFShelterMed is on the island performing surgeries with ViDAS in Bayamón and Emancipet in Cidra. “It’s a rock star team tailoring anesthetic protocols to each patient, two teams of prep techs that blow my mind at how they keep moving patients nonstop to fast surgeons!” said Dr. Maria Serrano, Clinical Assistant Professor of Shelter Medicine. “Recovery techs who handle every dog and cat as if they were the most precious and delicate item in the world… volunteers with true smiles all day, the owners thankful beyond words. I am awed, honored, and amazed!”

UF Shelter Med alumi volunteering for Spayathon for Puerto Rico with Vidas in Bayamón
Left to right: Dr. Alana Canupp (2013); Dr. Emmy Ferrell (2017); Dr. Cate McManus (resident finished in 2012); Dr. Megan Brown (2012); in Bayamón

Levy is leading a research project examining pet overpopulation in Puerto Rico, and also the Spayathon as a potential model for duplication in other communities. “It’s vital to perform an objective assessment of its components and effectiveness,” she said. “Our team is also providing consultation and coaching for veterinarians practicing in Puerto Rican animal shelters.”

Spayathon for Puerto Rico
Left to right: Dr. Meaghan Mielo (intern); Dr. Adrian Knowles (2016); Dr. Patty Dingman (2017), in Cidra

The research and training mean that communities in Puerto Rico will be equipped to carry on the work after the project is completed, making a lasting difference for the pets and people on the island. “More than that, we’ll be able to duplicate successes from this program around the world,” said Levy.