KETTERING, Ohio (WDTN) – Staff at an animal shelter here say affordable, accessible veterinary care is a challenge plaguing many pet owners in the Miami Valley.

Wednesday, SICSA Pet Adoption Center offered low-income families “nose-to-tail” exams, as well as flea and tick protection, deworming and vaccinations for $15.

The wellness clinic, in collaboration with Sinclair Community College’s veterinary tech program, was by appointment only and slots filled almost immediately.

“We’re barely scratching the surface here,” explained Megan Dell, SICSA Veterinary Clinic Manager. “There’s a huge population that’s not being seen.”

Dell said many low-income families can’t afford the increasing costs of traditional veterinarian visits and some struggle to find transportation or access to veterinarians in their neighborhoods.

Cher Randall brought her two small dogs Lola and Frankie from Englewood for check-ups Wednesday.

“I’m a senior on social security and sometimes it’s hard to get the shots and all of the things they need,” Randall explained.

She said she relieved to book one of the last available appointments at SICSA’s wellness clinic.

“Oh my gosh it’s tremendous,” she said. “It would be way over $15 to walk into the vet’s office, just for the office visit.”

Veterinarians said the simple check-ups and flea treatment help prevent larger, more expensive problems.

Miami Township dog owner Chuck Humerick said he took advantage of the clinic to help promote longer, healthier lives for his dachshunds Ruby and Otis.

“I want to make sure I can keep them as long as I can because they’re special to me,” he said.

“We would love to one day be able to address all of the needs of the community,” Dell added. “But until then, we’ll have these (low-income clinics), get some people in and help some pets that didn’t have help yesterday.”

You can learn about volunteer opportunities, browse adoptable pets or donate to SICSA’s mission and capital campaign by clicking here.