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PetSmart Charities® grants $15,000 to the Susan M. Markel Veterinary Hospital at the Richmond SPCA

Posted on Thursday, June 20, 2019

With a grant to the Richmond SPCA, PetSmart Charities is ensuring that under-resourced pet guardians  have access to essential veterinary care in Richmond.

Since 2016, the Susan M. Markel Veterinary Hospital at the Richmond SPCA has provided affordable care for a particularly vulnerable pet population. The charitable hospital offers low-cost veterinary care for income-qualified guardians, pets in the care of government shelters, community cats and pets who are adopted from the Richmond SPCA. But for a segment of clients, even the already reduced fees may not be within their budgets when a beloved companion faces unexpected illness or injury.

Services for those patients are provided at the Susan M. Markel Veterinary hospital based on what the guardian is able to pay. The PetSmart Charities grant of $15,000 has allowed the hospital to provide discounts of $13,676 from February to April 2019, and the remaining grant funds continue to be applied based on client need.

“By funding these services at our Susan M. Markel Veterinary Hospital, PetSmart Charities is truly saving lives,” said Robin Robertson Starr, CEO of the Richmond SPCA. “Our clients have limited resources, and they would be faced with alternatives of euthanasia or homelessness for their companions without the veterinary treatment provided in our full-service hospital.”  

Over the three-month period, fees for 310 patients—212 dogs and 98 cats—have been further reduced from the hospital’s typical low-cost rates. Services discounted due to PetSmart Charities’ funding include urgent care for sick and injured pets as well as long-term care for chronic illnesses.

Precious lives impacted

Although Scooby Doo, a 4-year-old dog, is loved by his family, they considered relinquishing him to a shelter after he was diagnosed with diabetes due to the cost of life-long management of this chronic condition. At the Susan M. Markel Veterinary Hospital, his family purchases their dog’s lifesaving insulin at discounted rates along with having his glucose curve monitored.

Dakota’s guardian took the 11-month-old kitten to an emergency facility because she suspected the kitten had a dislocated hip, but she could not afford the cost to have Dakota evaluated and was referred to the Susan M. Markel Veterinary Hospital. Dakota needed an orthopedic surgery, femoral head osteotomy, that was discounted and performed at the charitable hospital. The guardian reports that Dakota is healing very well.

As pets age, cost for geriatric care can become prohibitive, as it did for 12-year-old Nemo’s guardian. Nemo is dearly loved and with discounts on diagnostics for thyroid monitoring and medication, he is doing well in his advanced age. Lindsay Brockman, director of the Susan M. Markel Veterinary Hospital said, “Nemo is a great example of how old age is not a disease, nor is it a reason to euthanize a pet.”

Pet guardians who would like to have their pets seen at the Susan M. Markel Veterinary Hospital are encouraged to visit richmondspca.org/hospital to complete a brief online form or call 804-521-1300.


Tabitha hugging Roux, a reddish-brown dog with perky ears.
Tabitha and her dog Roux

Tabitha joined the Richmond SPCA in 2005 as an admissions counselor soon after moving to Richmond from her home state of Mississippi, and has been our director of communications since 2010. She is a member of the Public Relations Society of America and PRSA Richmond.

Tabitha and her husband live in Richmond with four Richmond SPCA alumni – two cats and two dogs.

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