DAVIS (CBS13) — UC Davis is looking for pets to help teach graduating veterinarian students standard surgical procedures.

Right now, students perform around 20 surgeries a week when really they could be doing up to 50.

The cats and dogs primarily come from regional shelter and rescue groups but are hoping to reach out to the community too.

Cost is often a factor in pet owners being able to afford surgery for their animals.

“It plays a big role in a lot of our patients, unfortunately,” said Jose Guerrero Cota, a fourth-year student at UC Davis.

But for a decade now, the university has offered a low-cost lifeline for animals in need.

“We are probably a third to half of what a lot of veterinarians would charge for the same procedure,” said Dr. Lauren La Rue, veterinarian, and professor.

Students perform the surgeries from spay and neutering to minor procedures such as a small mass removals and are monitored throughout the process by their professors.

The school says the lower cost doesn’t compromise the quality of care. A relief for the owners.

“They came and picked up their dog and saw we were giving her the best level of care, so they were very grateful,” Guerrero Cota.

There are more than 500 veterinarian students at UC Davis, and it’s this hands-on experience that makes it the top-ranked veterinary school in the country.

“In fourth year, finally getting your hands on the patient, it’s incredibly rewarding,” he said.

It’s a joy for the students and staff knowing they’re helping Fluffy and Fido get healthy enough to return home to their families.

“It’s really rewarding and nice to be able to go home every day and feeling like we’ve done good medicine and helped people and animals,” Kelly Symmes, fourth-year student said.

Any family can utilize Community Surgery. It’s not based on income.

For information on how to contact the program, click here.


Comments (3)
  1. Tony Solesky says:

    When they bring Pit Bulls in from the animal shelters, after they have completed the surgeries, they can practice euthanasia on them. That would be the real win win for everyone concerned, is humans, our sane companion pets and our livestock. Pit Bulls kill 9 companion pets everyday in America, injuring countless more.

    Pit Bulls kill one human being every 12 days, 29 in 2017 and 2 citizens already in 2018. Pit Bulls send 2.5 Americans to Level 1 Trauma centers every day. Perform surgery on the breed and then euthanize them to end their deeds. Win Win!

  2. Rita Luallen says:

    This article is not true! I have an 8 yr old male Queensland Heeler that is my Service Dog. Unfortunately, he started going blind in both eyes. I called and was quoted a horribly high price. I asked if there were any programs available to ease some of the cost and was told NO. Maybe the students are focusing only on spays and neuters.