Surgery day at the Animal Shelter of Sullivan County's new onsite spay and neuter clinic

Surgery day at the Animal Shelter of Sullivan County’s new onsite spay and neuter clinic.

BLOUNTVILLE — The Animal Shelter of Sullivan County is the first shelter in the region with a permit to provide in-house spays and neuters.

The new three-table surgical space includes anesthesia machines, oxygen concentrators, ultrasonic instrument cleanser, specialized equipment to sterilize instruments, pulse oximeters, patient warming systems and other items necessary for surgery.

The shelter also has state-of-the-art laboratory equipment with the ability to analyze blood work onsite.

“Our shelter coupled with our gold standard shelter medicine program has paved the way to ensure our animals have the shortest length of stay possible at our facility,” Executive Director Brandi Perkey said.

The length of stay for dogs and puppies is eight days, for cats and kittens, it is six days — most of which are simply awaiting spay/neuter or transport, Perkey said.

“With roughly 1,500 animals coming through our shelter every year, it is our mission to adopt or rescue out animals who are as physically and mentally healthy as possible,” Perkey said.

Each animal taken into the shelter receives lifesaving preventive vaccinations, heartworm testing and prevention, parasite testing and deworming, flea/tick treatment for dogs, and advanced treatment and testing as appropriate, Perkey said.

For now, the surgery suites will be used for shelter animals and community cats within the county, she said.

The University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine’s Shelter Medicine Service performed surgeries at the new facility on Oct. 27 and plans regular visits as its schedule permits.

“We want to sincerely thank our community, the UTCVM Shelter Medicine Service, the college’s Companion Animal Initiative of Tennessee, the shelter’s board of directors and our staff and volunteers,” Perkey said. “We could not be where we are today without everyone coming together and supporting the shelter and the animals.”

Shelter officials hope to hire a part-time veterinarian to help support the shelter’s surgical needs.

Perkey estimates about 2,000 to 2,200 spays/neuters will be conducted at the clinic annually.

To learn more about the shelter or the opportunity for veterinarians to help, email Perkey at brandi.perkey@sullivancountytn.gov or by phone (423) 612-6173.

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