May 122017
 

A black cat with green eyes sits with his owner in the waiting room of Low Cost Animal Medical Center. (Photo by Tristan Emmons)

By Tristan Emmons, Loyola Student News Service

Low Cost Animal Medical Center has opened its doors in Gert Town with a nonprofit mission in mind. The full service, three-doctor veterinary practice provides affordable care to pets and their owners in New Orleans.

The goal is to provide inexpensive veterinary services to low- and middle-income-earning pet owners to keep pets healthy and make it a little less expensive to own a pet, keeping more animals out of shelters and off the streets.

“We can tell that our services have been sorely needed in this community,” said Shannon Landry, head veterinary doctor. “One client walked over an hour to get her dog to us.”

One of the two office dogs calmly rests in Tracey Pearson’s lap while she has a conversation with her colleagues at the Low Cost Animal Medical Center. (Photo by Tristan Emmons)

The center’s staff hope “to be able to reach a segment of the New Orleans community that has not had access to veterinary care due to economic and or geographic factors,” Landry said.

The low-cost center at 4300 Washington Avenue offers medical services that range from microscopic fecal exams to vaccinations to surgeries, all at reduced rates. Since it opened in March, more than 800 pets have been serviced.

“A sterilized animal is a healthier animal. They fight less, try to escape less, and have lower cancer rates,” said Amanda Rizzo, the clinic’s public relations manager.

Tweedle, the second office dog, was born without a bottom jaw. (Photo by Tristan Emmons)

Kenneth Miles, owner of a pitbull named Magnolia, said he comes because of the friendly staff and because other veterinary hospital costs are too high. “The prices are good, man. I’m going to let people know about it.”

Spay and neuter services at private clinics in the area can reach $300 and $160, respectively.

“At Low Cost Animal Medical Center, we set out to change that.” Rizzo said. At the center, a spay will never cost more than $90, and a neuter is about $30, she said.

Rizzo said cheaper services in general let animal rescue groups in New Orleans save more stray cats and dogs from the streets.

“By keeping their costs down, they can get back to rescuing animals.”

The donations jar at the front desk of the Low Cost Animal Medical Center reminds customers that this is a non-profit organization. (Photo by Tristan Emmons)

Rizzo said the center provides these affordable services through public donations, local foundations, and a large grant from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Fleascia Taylor, a veterinary technician, said she works at the center because she wants to make a difference.

“I think I can help a lot more animals that way. We can see a lot more if people can actually afford it.”

The center is equipped with six exam rooms, two operating rooms, a digital x-ray machine, a dental machine, a laboratory, two wards for hospitalizing pets, as well as an isolation room for contagious pets.

The clinic also has a pharmacy that provides medicine and supplemental pet food.

A veterinary technician uses the computer amid new, advanced medical equipment at the Low Cost Animal Medical Center. (Photo by Tristan Emmons)

For more information, call the Low Cost Animal Medical Center at 504-444-1124. Appointments are recommended. The clinic is open Monday through Saturday.

Mardi sits in his kennel at the Low Cost Animal Medical Center. (Photo by Tristan Emmons)

The Loyola Student News Service features reporters from advanced-level journalism classes at Loyola University New Orleans, directed by faculty advisers.