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Reports from the Field

Wellness on Wheelz

Wellness on WheelzWellness on Wheelz (formerly known as The Shot Spot) is a mobile veterinary clinic that travels throughout the Rio Grande Valley of south Texas. Though best known for offering ZeuterinTM to non-surgically neuter male dogs, it also offers heartworm testing, rabies (and rattlesnake!) vaccine, microchipping, and more for dogs and cats. Since Wellness on Wheelz serves a largely rural region, the mobile clinic is one of the few avenues for veterinary and sterilization services in a part of the country where many pet owners could not otherwise obtain it. 

Amber Valinski, DVM, launched this unique mobile enterprise in 2012 after serving for three years as the head veterinary surgeon for the Rio Grand Valley Low Cost Spay/Neuter Clinic, which was established to help curb the influx of cats and dogs to the community’s animal shelter. (At the time, the shelter took in approximately 40,000 stray and unwanted animals per year, making it one of the largest single intake facilities in the U.S. The euthanasia rate: as many as 100 animals per day. Animals adopted from the shelter were not routinely sterilized, which hardly boded well for the burgeoning animal population.) 

Recognizing that some residents in this area might have to drive a hundred miles to reach a veterinarian, Dr. Valinski launched Wellness on Wheelz to further address the incredible need for neutering services in the region. Her mobile clinic visits different areas on a three-week cycle to offer veterinary care in even the remotest locations in south Texas, with one of its trademark services being zinc neutering dogs in mere minutes. Although Zeuterin is a safe procedure with a low rate of complications, the Wellness on Wheelz travel radius ensures that Dr. Valinski can reach an animal in need of hands-on veterinary care. However, more often an owner can send a photo to her cell phone, and Dr. Valinski will call in a prescription to the local pharmacy if the case requires. 

The mobile business model is efficient and cost-effective for clients. Dr. Valinski’s commitment to dog popu
lation control via Zeuterin has led her to perform more zinc neutering procedures than any other private practice veterinarian in the nation: over 900 as of June 2014. With Dr. Valinski’s help, Wellness on Wheelz has brought invaluable change to an under-resourced area, with the hopeful end result being a reduction in both animal birth and euthanasia rates—giving cats and dogs in south Texas a much improved chance at having long and healthy lives. 

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