Reports from the Field

Wellness on Wheelz

Wellness on WheelzWellness on Wheelz is a mobile veterinary clinic that travels throughout the Rio Grande Valley of south Texas. It offers heartworm testing, rabies (and rattlesnake!) vaccine, microchipping, and more for dogs and cats, and when ZeuterinTM was available was also known for offering this method to  non-surgically neuter male dogs. Since Wellness on Wheelz serves a largely rural region, the mobile clinic is one of the few avenues for veterinary services in a part of the country where many pet owners could not otherwise obtain them. It was also one of limited options for sterilizing dogs.

Amber Valinski, DVM, launched this unique mobile enterprise in 2012 after serving for three years as the head veterinary surgeon for the Rio Grande 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.)

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; when Zeuterin was available, one of its trademark services was zinc neutering dogs in mere minutes. Although Zeuterin is a safe procedure with a low rate of complications, Dr. Valinski made sure that she worked in communities where she could return to an animal in need of hands-on veterinary care. However, more often an owner would send a photo to her cell phone, and Dr. Valinski would call in a prescription to the local pharmacy if necessary.

The mobile business model is efficient and cost-effective for clients. Dr. Valinski’s commitment to dog population control via Zeuterin led her to perform more zinc neutering procedures than any other private practice veterinarian in the nation. With Dr. Valinski’s help, Wellness on Wheelz 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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