Veterinary Clinic on Wheels
The mobile veterinary clinic has been operating in Istanbul since 2018 and has helped more than 2,000 stray animals.
There is a veterinary clinic on wheels operating in Istanbul. It’s a bus with medical equipment, where doctors treat street animals. It also draws the compassion of locals – who bring in the sick and injured strays.
One of the current patients at the veterinary clinic is a kitten. She was found on one of the streets of Istanbul by a local woman. Now, the kitten is being examined by doctors working at the Vetbus. The kitten will be vaccinated and receive needed medicine. Vets will also implant a microchip under its skin – instead of a veterinary certificate and medical record.
“For example, with the help of a microchip, we can learn who vaccinated the animal and when. Who was there during the examination and what vaccines it received,” Veterinarian Büsra Önder said.
The Vetbus drives around Istanbul every day – with modern equipment, a supply of vaccines and medications. Doctors treat animals with fleas, scabies, rabies – and these are just some of the problems faced by strays. Sometimes, vets manage to help ten animals in one ride. And each of the patients requires a special approach.
“I start the exam with a conversation. I talk to the animals, try to calm them down. Our patients are scared, they’re in an enclosed space, on a cold table. Sometimes, they try to defend themselves and attack. Once, we examined 89 animals in one day. And sometimes, the number drops to 10 or 15. This also depends on the number of people who care about animals,” Büsra Önder said.
“Sometimes, I put myself in their place. I think what I would feel if I was left on the street all alone, with no food or water. If I had to fight diseases alone. These thoughts motivate me to help stray animals. I’m very glad that such services exist,”
Most of the Vetbus patients are brought in by locals. The bus’s route is published online beforehand. Many animals are treated immediately, those with severe injuries are taken to a state clinic. For some, it’s the beginning of a new life.
“Once, a small kitten was brought here. It had to be fed every two hours. If we left it on the street, it wouldn’t have survived. So I decided to take it home. We’ve been living together for five months now,” veterinarian Özge Arslan said.
The Vetbus has been operating in Istanbul since 2018. It mostly drives around the city center. Over this time, the service has helped more than 2,000 stray animals.