Veterinary students are to hold a clinic Christmas party for the homeless and vulnerable, and their pets.

Vets in the Community was set up in 2012 by students at the University of Nottingham School of Veterinary Medicine and Science in 2012 to provide free veterinary care to animals belonging to homeless and vulnerably housed people.

The party will be held at Sneinton Old School Hall in Windmill Lane, Nottingham, NG2 4QB between 12.30pm and 4pm on Wednesday, December 10.

There will be hot drinks and snacks, and blankets and clothing for humans, as well as pet treats, toys, blankets and winter coats for dogs.

Jenny Stavisky, a lecturer in shelter medicine at the vet school, said the students’ clients were mainly homeless or vulnerably housed people, and some were in recovery from drug and alcohol abuse.

“The students also help provide health care for pets in foster care, belonging to people fleeing domestic violence,” Dr Stavisky said.

The students run an open-access clinic every fortnight in the Big Issue offices in Nottingham.

Fourth-year veterinary student Grace Slater said they worked under the supervision of qualified vets and mainly dealt with dogs and cats, although occasionally they saw rabbits and ferrets.

“We provide health checks, vaccines, worm and flea treatment, and microchipping, as well as treatment of minor ailments,” she said.

Through their partnerships with Dogs Trust and Cats Protection, the students can issue vouchers so their clients can get their pets neutered at no cost. They are also able to signpost other services where appropriate.

They are often able to provide free pet food and treats to their clients, thanks to donations from the public and pet food companies. So far they have treated more than 300 animals.

A student committee also carries out outreach work at homelessness organisations including HoMed, a soup kitchen run by students of the university.

Initial funding for Vets in the Community came from the University of Nottingham and support has also come from Dogs Trust, Burns Pet Food, Novartis Animal Health, Royal Canin and MSD Animal Health, as well as from university staff and students, and public donations.

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