Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Stray Feline Issue Gets Wildcat Fix ; Program Partners with K-State Veterinary Students

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Stray Feline Issue Gets Wildcat Fix ; Program Partners with K-State Veterinary Students

Article excerpt

A Topeka nonprofit working to spay and neuter cats that roam the capital city has teamed with Kansas State University's Mobile Surgery Unit in a partnership that lets veterinary students get surgery experience.

The Topeka Community Cat Fix organization, founded in 2014, is a trap-neuter-return program, commonly called TNR. Susan Schmitz, TCCF board member, said it has been challenging for her organization to find veterinary care.

Originally the group partnered with the Great Plains Humane Society in Kansas City and then with the Lawrence Humane Society.

But now, every two weeks, the cats trapped by TCCF will meet up with veterinary students in K-State's Shelter Medicine Program, and 20 cats each visit will receive vaccinations and get spayed and neutered, Schmitz said.

Bradley Crauer joined the K-State veterinary school team a year ago to establish the shelter medicine program and its donor- and grant-funded mobile surgery unit, which cost about $350,000.

Three veterinary students rotate to spend two weeks on the road with the mobile unit, traveling to about 12 different organizations across central Kansas and into Nebraska, mostly shelters, he said.

"Topeka Community Cat Fix is the first organization that we have a formal agreement with that is doing community cats, a TNR program," he said.

Before students joined Crauer on the road, they graduated from veterinary school with an average of five surgeries.

"They're averaging about 50 to 55 surgical experiences in those two weeks, and those are surgical experiences they wouldn't be getting without this type of program," he said. "We're graduating better, more practice-ready veterinarians. If you're a business and all things else considered equal, and you've got two candidates, and one of them is an Auburn grad that has five surgeries, and one is a Kansas State grad that's had 60, who's getting hired? …

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