UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine
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Students helping animals and people at Knights Landing Clinic

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First-time visitors to the Knights Landing clinic.

A tiny brown Chihuahua mix, a crate full of Doberman puppies, a massive black and white pit bull—all waited outside the Knights Landing Community Center on a recent Sunday for their chance to visit a veterinarian. Less than a block away, humans in need of preventive health care waited for the doctor as well.

On one Sunday each month, these clinics are free and open to residents of this economically underserved and largely agricultural community. Veterinary students from the school organized the animal wellness center in October 2013 as a One Health counterpart to the human clinic started by UC Davis medical students in January 2012. In addition to physical exams, screening, and vaccines, both groups present classes to the community on topics such as nutrition, behavior/mental health, environmental health and shared diseases (leptospirosis, valley Fever, rabies, Lyme, etc.)

The veterinary clinic serves approximately 75-85 patients each month. At the end of the day, the veterinary and medical teams of students, volunteer veterinarians and physicians come together to conduct joint rounds, fostering open communication to develop a One Health approach to the community’s needs. 

“The discussions really help give us a better perspective of community health,” said Joelle Sweeney, Class of 2015 and the veterinary project’s leader. 

Not only are the clients leaving the clinic with more knowledge that they came with, the students are too. Their direct interactions with clients improve physical exam technique, knowledge of basic health care topics and client communication.

“Our goal is to provide the Knights Landing community with knowledge and solutions toward healthier lives, as well as a training ground for health students and professionals to broaden their skills,” Sweeney said. “It’s a win-win situation for everyone.”

An expert One Health Advisory Board, which includes Patricia Conrad, Jonna Mazet, Dave Bunn and Michael Wilkes, guides the veterinary and medical students in the Knights Landing project. Interested in volunteering or wish to contribute needed medical supplies? Please contact klcucdavis@gmail.com or call 530-746-8125.