Humane Society sends Vet to help our pets

The Department of Agriculture’s Veterinary Clinic staff and volunteers: L-R (front row) Derek Danielson; HSI vet Dr. Sheryl Ramosa, volunteers Tanya Tarasawa and Mona King; (back row) Territorial Veterinarian Dr. Brenda Smith and volunteer Warren King. This dedicated group is hard at work at the newly painted and cleaned Vet Clinic in Tafuna, helping pet owners care for the dogs and cats of the territory. [photo: tlh]

Things are indeed improving for the animal population of American Samoa — and for those who love and care for them — as our local Veterinary Clinic, which has been open since the end of September, has welcomed the assistance of Dr. Sheryl Ramosa, another Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, who hails from Cagayan de Oro, Mindanao, the Philippines.
Under the auspices of Humane Society International (HSI) headquartered in Washington, D.C., Dr. Ramosa has been assigned to support and augment veterinarians in the South Pacific region, and her “duty station” for the next month or so will be at the Department of Agriculture Vet Clinic in Tafuna, where she is already working closely with our new Territorial Veterinarian, Dr. Brenda Smith.
  Of her new colleague, Dr. Smith said, “As HSI’s South Pacific Vet, Dr. Ramosa may be coming here again when she is not needed for projects on other islands.  We’re very excited for the additional help.”
She also told Samoa News that Dr. Ramosa is here at no cost to the territory- she is fully funded by HSI.
In an update sent out to the media, Dr. Smith noted that since the doors to the animal clinic reopened, they have spayed or neutered over 200 animals and seen over 150 more
ealth checks. In an ongoing effort to help decrease the overpopulation of dogs and cats in American Samoa, the clinic is offering a special deal for the month of December: spay and neuter surgery will be half price.
Dr. Smith said, “We currently only charge what our supplies cost, so we can purchase additional supplies to continue to be able to offer these low-cost procedures. However, we did receive a donation that is allowing us to charge even less for the month of December.”
Cat or Dog surgery is now $10, plus a $5 license fee for dogs.  Vaccines and de-worming are also recommended, and they are $10 as well.
According to Dr. Smith, “We have an additional plan to target the Fagatogo market area first in our efforts to reduce the stray dog population, so persons living in Fagatogo or Utulei can bring in their cat or dog for surgery at no cost whatsoever — except the $5 license fee for dogs.”
A proof of village residency, such as an ASPA bill, is all that is needed to qualify for the free service, and pet owners only need to call the clinic at  699-9445 to schedule a surgery. 
Animals are to be brought in the morning (7:30 – 8:30am) for surgery and go home in the afternoon (2 – 3pm).  The clinic is open most weekdays.
According to Dr. Smith, they are also planning village outreach clinics, so if anyone is interested in sponsoring a mobile clinic in their village, please contact the Vet Clinic so they can start to arrange locations. They will require a secure, covered area with access to water and electricity.
Health checks for pets are also available in the afternoons, but the veterinarian noted, “Please call to be sure we are available before coming in. As we start more village clinics we will have fewer days in the Agriculture clinic.”
She included some of the best reasons to get an animal spayed or neutered:
♥         Animals that are spayed or neutered are less likely to bite. The majority of animals that bite people have not been sterilized.
♥         Altered animals can live longer, healthier lives.Reproductive cancers like TVTs are reduced or eliminated, and many skin conditions can clear up from lessening the stress of reproducing.
♥         Neutered cats and dogs are less likely to mark their territory by spraying or urinating on things.
♥         Animals that are spayed or neutered are less likely to roam, get hit by cars, or get into fights.
♥         Each time a puppy or kitten is given away, the new owner should commit to caring for it for its entire life, not just until they want another puppy or kitten.
You can also learn more about the Veterinary Clinic specials, and find puppies and kittens who need a loving home by visiting the Facebook page “Alofa mo Meaola” (Love for Animals).


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