Marianne Walthier, volunteer writer
The Dumb Friends League continues to expand its mission to serve pets in the community, most recently by opening the doors of the Dumb Friends League Solutions – Veterinary Hospital located at 191 Yuma Street in Denver. Solutions – Veterinary Hospital welcomes clients who could otherwise not afford veterinary care for their dogs and cats. The hospital is open from 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. from Monday through Friday and accepts appointments, walk-ins, emergencies and referrals from area veterinarians. Currently, there are two staff veterinarians with the expectation that DFL will soon hire five more to accommodate the high volume of traffic. Sharon Thomas, the manager of Solutions – Veterinary Hospital, emphasizes that its purpose is to provide low-cost, preventative care as well as care for sick and injured pets to low-income pet owners so that these clients will have an alternative to relinquishing their dogs and cats to an animal shelter due to illness or injury. The Veterinary Hospital targets certain ZIP codes where there is the greatest need. There are no income qualifications for clients, instead, there is an honor system with the expectation that people who can afford veterinary care will seek care from private veterinary practices.
The Veterinary Hospital makes itself affordable by offering “packaged” pricing, a flat rate for each surgical procedure, exam or diagnostic test. Pricing is not based on species or weight. Once a client has been quoted a price, that is the price they will pay even if, for example, an expected class II dental results in a full mouth extraction.
The Veterinary Hospital does its best to ascertain how its client base will be able to care for their pets following their vet visit or surgical procedure. Hence, the veterinarians do not perform fracture repairs or orthopedic surgeries that would require extensive aftercare. Instead, they opt for splinting or amputations, which are far easier to care for and where the animals typically have an excellent recovery and prognosis. They do perform a wide variety of surgical procedures, including, but not limited to mass removals, cystotomies, eye surgeries, laceration repairs, etc. The most common procedures performed are dental cleanings, many of which result in full mouth extractions due to an absence of preventive care. Spays and neuters are also done, but usually in conjunction with other procedures.
The Veterinary Hospital works in tandem with the League’s mission to help pets already in homes stay in those homes. Solutions – Cat Spay/Neuter Clinic, which offers free spays or neuters to felines, is housed in the same building as the hospital. Services offered by the Lulu and Meow Mobiles are limited to spays, neuters and vaccinations, but if their veterinarians observe additional issues, they can now refer their clients to the Veterinary Hospital. The Lulu Mobile is the only program that does require income qualification, however, if clients are unable to qualify, they can utilize the hospital’s services.
While the hospital is already accomplishing great things, there is still work to be done. Renovations have already been planned for January 2019. The layout of the hospital will be opened, making it far more efficient and accommodating to a greater number of clients. Exam rooms, treatment tables, dental tables, a dedicated recovery area and an additional surgical suite will be added. Some of the existing pharmacy and isolation areas will also be reconfigured. This renovation will likely take between 8 to 12 weeks, but the hospital will remain open to the public.
The addition of Solutions – Veterinary Hospital is just one more way that the League can expand its reach to help animals in our community.
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