Getting the lifelong health care pets deserve

New program provides stronger partnership between animal shelter vet teams and community veterinarians


There's one common goal shared among veterinarians, animal shelters and pet adopters.

It is to “see the pets healthy and thriving,” said Katherine Kethcart, the communications and content manager for Colorado Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA), “and living a fulfilled life.”

A new program called Connect for Care will make that goal even more attainable.

Connect for Care is a partnership between Denver area veterinarians and Denver area animal shelters facilitated by CVMA. What it does is ensure adopted shelter pets receive the lifelong health care they deserve, Kethcart said.

Through the program, participating CVMA veterinarians offer complimentary post-adoption exams for newly adopted shelter pets. If needed, the veterinarian will provide up to $250 worth of care for designated medical needs for up to 14 calendar days post-adoption.

“We believe it is our responsibility to help adopted shelter pets connect with a veterinarian so they have a bright, healthy future the moment they step out of the shelter and into the community,” said Ashley Larson, CVMA program manager for Connect for Care, in a press release.

CVMA is a statewide veterinarian association that has between 2,500-3,000 members across Colorado, Kethcart said. Currently, there are 49 veterinary clinics along the Front Range and eight Denver-area animal shelters participating in the Connect for Care program. The shelters provide a list of the participating local veterinary clinics to the pet adopter.

In 2018, about 7,700 animals entered Foothills Animal Shelter, said Liz Maddy, Foothills Animal Shelter's marketing and community engagement manager. The shelter's veterinarian team provided care to each of them, ranging from a quick health check and vaccinations to dental work, spay/neuter procedures and full surgeries, Maddy said.

Adoptable pets receive amazing care while they're at the shelter, said Dr. Emily Hays, the chief veterinarian and director of veterinary services at Foothills Animal Shelter. It's important that the care continues once the pet is handed off to its forever home, she added.

More than 30,000 pets were adopted out of Denver area shelters in 2018, states a press release from CVMA. About 4,300 of them were adopted from Foothills Animal Shelter, Maddy said.

Having a trusted veterinarian helps new pet owners with being able to provide the preventative care a pet may need throughout its life, as well as any ongoing care should any condition be discovered while the animal was housed in the shelter, Hays added.

The program provides a “focus on the pets in our community,” Hays said. Overall, she added, what everybody strives for is “a successful adoption into a loving, happy home.”


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