By Cassandra Lucyk
Youngstown State University’s Pre-Veterinary Society and Buster’s Brigade are teaming up to provide the Youngstown community a low-cost pet clinic. The clinic will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., April 23 in Stambaugh Stadium’s Gym.
Sydney Weidler, president of the Pre-Veterinary Society, said the clinic is important to the surrounding area.
“It’s a low-cost vaccination clinic. Dr. [Tina] Costarella started it knowing the low-economic status of Youngstown. [She wanted] to help those that don’t have the money to go to the vet annually to get their vaccines, to be up to date on their health and do physical exams,” Weidler said.
The clinic allows pre-veterinary students to work with eight veterinarians. Weidler said they’ll perform free and low-cost services.
“We do free wellness exams, so the doctors will look at the animal, listen to them, see if they have any illness or ailments going on,” Weidler said. “We’ll do low-cost vaccinations that are usually about half the cost of going to your regular vet. We’ll also do free toenail trims, low-cost heartworm exams and feline combo tests as well.”
Costarella, a local veterinarian and YSU alumna, said she started the clinic in 2018 to give pre-veterinary students more experience.
“When I was a student here, I didn’t feel my preparation or focus toward veterinary medicine was here at all. I didn’t feel very supported or directed. So, I wanted to change that for kids interested in veterinary medicine at YSU,” Costarella said.
Originally, the event was held biannually but was switched to every spring semester.
Jackie LeViseur, a board member of Buster’s Brigade, said it has more attendance in the spring than the fall.
“In the fall, we’re going to do more of a community education program. Teaching people how to take care of their pets, animal welfare and that kind of thing, but still working with the pre-vet students,” LeViseur said.
In the last few years, the Marjorie Hartman Family Foundation of Columbus has funded the project. Costarella said she wants the community to know how important the foundation is for this event and to YSU.
“They’ve helped us support [the clinic], by us being able to have a much larger venue, being able to pay the veterinarians that come in and volunteer their time,” Costarella said. “It helps us purchase the needed vaccines. We were able to buy a scale for the clinic so we could weigh the patients and supplies like microchips.”
Costarella also said she hopes the clinic will cause YSU to expand its animal-science program.
“I’m hoping that it’ll extend out into a greater direction for the university — that the university itself will take an interest in doing more animal-science things — like more pre-veterinarian courses and faculty down the road,” Costarella said.