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Vet Gazette

Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine eNewsletter

Feline Frenzy: HSVMA talks to students about the veterinarian’s role in solving the feral cat overpopulation crisis

November 30th, 2010

The Oregon State University Chapter of the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association (HSVMA) hosted a lunch presentation last Thursday on the veterinarian’s role in solving the feral cat overpopulation crisis. Dr. Susan Krebsbach, a veterinarian from Wisconsin and a veterinary consultant for the HSVMA, came to discuss the current techniques of population control and introduce ways that veterinarians and veterinary students can get involved.

feral cats in carrierThe presentation began with an introduction of the most common concerns for feral cat population control, including environmental effects and the danger of rabies. Studies, however, have shown that feral cat populations have a lower impact on the environment than human impacts.

Secondly, Dr. Krebsbach discussed the Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) technique that is used in feral cat population control. TNR is the only scientifically proven way of reducing the feral and free-roaming cat population. This technique involves trapping the cat, neutering and vaccinating him or her for rabies, ear tipping for identification of sterilization, and returning the cat back to the caregiver. Complete sterile techniques are used for the neutering procedure, as is full anesthesia. The cat is also provided with pain management and the caregivers are educated on how to provide good post-operative care to the animal.

Lastly, Dr. Krebsbach discussed the veterinarian’s role in this issue and ways that veterinarians can make a difference. Veterinarians can volunteer their time and services at a Feral Cat Coalition clinic. In addition, they can offer a reduced fee for neuters at their own clinic. Lastly, and most importantly, veterinarians have a major role in educating clients about keeping their pets indoors, and also about educating the public about the TNR options that are available.

Overall the presentation was a great educational tool for veterinary students to get involved in the community, and also to learn more about their role in this ongoing issue. The Shelter Medicine Club will be holding a Feral Cat Coalition clinic in Corvallis in February. This event, funded completely by HSVMA, will be one of many national Spay Day events—an annual campaign of the Humane Society of the United States. For more information about Spay Day, please visit humanesociety.org/spayday. Also, if you are interested in more information on the Feral Cat Coalition or have any questions, please contact the Shelter Medicine Club at osusheltermed@gmail.com.

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