According to Lisa Langton, who is the professor and coordinator of the veterinary technician program, approximately 75-80 per cent of the animals in the Animal Health Care Facility are adopted.
“There is always animals that go back to the shelter so we don’t have a 100 per cent adoption rate and I think that would be a great goal to achieve,” said Langton. “It is always sad to put an animal back in their carrier knowing that they are being put back into a truck and being sent back to another shelter environment.”
At most the Animal Care Facility, located in the V-building, will house 14 animals on site at a time. It is not a big number, but it essential in providing quality care for the pets that they receive.
On average, the students will vaccinate and de-worm around 50 animals per semester. Since its opening it has helped a total of 921 cats and dogs.
“Rescuing animals is really important in the community in places like Ottawa where there is so many stray cats. It’s important to see that they do need home,” said Leah Munger, a second-year veterinary technician student.
When the animals arrive they are vaccinated almost immediately. In their second week they are given pre-anaesthetic blood test in order to determine if they have problems with their kidneys and liver. Once given the anaesthetic they receive their general vaccines, microchips and dental care.
“If they have broken teeth, or if they have an infection or need a teeth cleaning then we ensure that we get that done for them,” said Langton.
The microchipping and vaccinations are done by the students, but due to legality purposes, the actual surgical procedures have to be done by real veterinary technicians. Algonquin’s registered Veterinary Technicians are there to support the students and get them involved as much as possible.
By the end of the third week in the Animal Health Care Facility, the staff and students actively try to find the animals a home and interviews are held with their potential adoptive families. If none are available, they are given back to the SPCA to be re-homed.
The facility opened in 2007 and immediately after that the college began searching for a department in the community that could assist with preventative medicine.
Before that, the SPCA didn’t have the staff or facilities to give preventative medicine to animals on a regular basis. Since its opening, the SPCA de l’Outaouais and Algonquin have had a partnership that allows the college to assist in running their adoption centre.
“This partnership is working really well with the SPCA, we are giving to each other,” said Langton.
The adoption fee for cats is $180 and for dogs it is $350. The fee that Algonquin receives for the animals goes back, in full, to the SPCA to help maintain and run their facilities.