A spay and neuter deal continues at Central Coast Veterinary Services in Bella Coola.
Veterinarian Asha MacDonald, who opened the community’s first permanent veterinary clinic in July 2022, said residents can apply to have the procedure done for $50 due to funding from Petsmart Charities of Canada and the Canadian Animal Assistant Team (CAAT) that will be in place until June 2023.
“Last summer the CAAT team was here. They had the funding and were here to offer the program,” MacDonald said, adding normally it costs between $300 and $400 for the service.
In addition to the spay or neuter, the pet’s appointment will also include a pre-surgical exam, vaccinations and microchipping.
To apply, proof of income is required.
The application form is available at www.caat-canada.org/SNAP, for Bella Coola and Hagensborg residents only.
There are also paper forms of the application available at the vet hospital, 1825 Oskar Drive, Hagensborg or from Rita Svisdahl at 872 Mackay Street, Bella Coola.
Historically vets travelled to the area a few times a year to hold intensive clinics for a couple of days.
MacDonald said no vet had visited the valley for about three years when she decided to open the clinic.
“My husband Alex Brandt is from here and we wanted to move to the valley to raise our children.”
They have three children five-years-old and under.
Through the subsidy program the clinic has done “quite a few” spay and neuters.
They are booking into March with about a six-week wait.
MacDonald said they spent the first four months working flat-out to catch up to the backlog due to there being no local veterinary services.
“A lot of people had heard through the grapevine that we were opening the clinic so they were waiting to bring their pets in for urgent conditions so we were just trying to put out fires for the first little while.”
She has seen a lot of puppies and kittens, and some older animals, doing X-rays, blood work, surgeries and have done a few amputations and spays and neuters.
The clinic is located in the old Sears building next to the Hagensborg Store.
“When we did the renovation of the building we learned the original building used to be a school house. It was built in the 1800s and has those big square logs around the core of it.”
Since then it’s had about two or three additions, which MacDonald said is typical for Bella Coola.
The layout is awesome, she added.
“We are able to have all our equipment, including our ultrasound, and different exam rooms.”
Originally from Prince George, she worked at the Williams Lake Veterinary Clinic about four years.
While the spay and neutering program is only open to cats and dogs, the clinic services all types of animals.
“I’m hoping over the next few months we can hammer out a few more before we get into spring and kitten and puppy season,” MacDonald said.
The discounted services is limited to a maximum of two pets per household.
Central Coast Veterinary Services is open Monday through Thursday. from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.