A mini clinic is a part-time stationary spay/neuter clinic. This model relies on low-cost or donated space, veterinary staff that are available on a per diem basis, and a limited amount of volunteer support.
A mini clinic requires a dedicated space because equipment remains on site. With low overhead, a mini clinic becomes self sustaining while operating far fewer days per month than a large scale program. A mini clinic’s sustainability is based on a daily balance between costs and incoming revenue (program fees). The number of operating days depends solely on the level of demand. Mini clinics open with one or two days per week and an increase in operating days depends solely on increased demand.
Because it is financially self-sustaining at low numbers and has the flexibility to ramp up to meet growing demand, it is an ideal model for serving low population areas. Because the equipment is left in place instead of being moved as required in many remote programs, the mini clinic is the least labor intensive model for serving low population communities. Mini clinics are ideal for areas with at least 25,000 to 50,000 people within driving distance.
“Low cost for low income” is the mini clinic motto. A discount on prices at a local full service clinic does not make the service affordable to the poor. Sustainability at low cost is key to creating change. For minimum wage households, spay/neuter must remain under $50 per pet. Mini clinics are designed for low to moderate income working households where cost is the single greatest barrier to responsible pet ownership.
Requirements for a Mini Clinic:
- At least 300 square feet of space for surgery and prep areas is ideal and additional room is required for the holding cages. If space is limited, intake and release will be conducted outside of the unit.
- A veterinarian, technician (or lead assistant) and a second assistant who are able to work part-time.
- The same equipment as any other spay/neuter program requires. Cost effective creativity can be utilized on tables, sterilizers, and other items.
- A volunteer or paid staff person who schedules clients and is present for check-in.
- Compliance with the same regulations as any veterinary program in the state.
Possible Facilities for a Mini Clinic:
- An unused room at a shelter
- A mobile office trailer located on the property of a public or non-profit shelter
- A church basement
- Vacant commercial space or similar space in which zoning will not present obstacles
Requires a relatively small, cohesive board that is focused solely on the clinic.
Because of very low overhead this model is:
- able to withstand slow periods,
- sustained by a small number of highly skilled staff members and volunteers, and does not require a
large volume of surgeries to keep the doors open.
- The budget is based on 30-35 surgeries per day; the number of days operating is based on demand.
This model is generally for rural areas that:
- Have cities with populations too small to sustain a large scale program
- Lack spay/ neuter services and have unwanted animals entering shelters or being abandoned
- Available space (lease or purchase) that is free or very low cost. If space is at a premium, a mobile unit may be a better option.
This model is intended to provide a steady number of surgeries that can be filled by the smaller population base. While the cost of suture and supplies are constant with other programs, this model relies on low overhead costs.
Budgeting for a Mini-Clinic
There are two sets of costs; the Basic Daily Cost (BDC) and the per surgery cost.
- The BDC includes the cost of keeping the doors open; salaries, rent, utilities, etc.
- Per surgery cost includes drugs, suture, forms, etc.
Read more about the budget here...
- Three anesthesia machines, tubes, breathing circuits
- Surgery tables (can be converted overbed hospital tables)
- Prep sink or table (a laundry sink can be used)
- Sterilizer or autoclave
- Surgical packs (surgical instruments)
- Tables or counter space
- Cages or crates
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