Students at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech dealt a winning hand to animals in need at the third annual Casino Night fundraiser. The charity event brought in $12,800 for the Veterinary Teaching Hospital’s Compassionate Care Fund.

Sponsored by veterinary student organizations Alpha Psi, Omega Tau Sigma, and the Student Chapter of the American Veterinary Medical Association, proceeds from the Jan. 31 event will help provide financial support when an animal’s owners are either unknown or cannot meet the financial needs of treatment. The support is also limited to hospital cases where a successful outcome and good quality of life are likely.

Since 2013, Casino Night has attracted more participants and raised more money each year. Last year, students raised $9,000 for the Compassionate Care Fund, more than triple the first year’s total. The additional funds raised not only increase the number of patients benefitting from the Compassionate Care Fund, but also give more students valuable learning opportunities at the teaching hospital.

“Last year’s money helped fund surgical and diagnostic procedures for 17 animals,” said Jordan Adair of Calvert County, Maryland, a third-year veterinary student and Casino Night organizer. “It helped pay for back surgery on a 4-year-old dog from Roanoke, a pelvic fracture repair on a 7-year-old cat from Vansant, surgery to fix a heart defect in an 8-month-old puppy from Roanoke, spleen removal in a 9-year-old dog from Timberville, hip replacement in a 2-year-old dog from Caldwell, and knee surgery on a 2-year-old dog from Catawba.”

This year’s event was held at Squires Student Center’s Commonwealth Ballroom and attracted about 500 faculty, students, and guests from both veterinary college and the Edward Via Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine in Blacksburg. Tickets ($15 in advance and $18 at the door) came with a bag of chips for the blackjack, roulette, poker, and craps tables where faculty member served as “dealers.”

The more successful participants won more chips — and, therefore, more chances to win prizes through a raffle at the end of the night. Chips were “cashed in” for tickets, which could then be drawn during the raffle. Twenty-five local restaurants and catering companies donated food for the event, and every student club at the veterinary college donated a prize for the raffle.

Casino Night also offered a silent auction for dog houses built by first-year veterinary students. Last fall, Purina sponsored a team-building event for the Class of 2018, where students built and painted the dog houses to be auctioned at Casino Night and other events to support the Compassionate Care Fund and the local Animal Welfare Foster Program.

View a Facebook photo gallery with more photos from Casino Night.

Written by Michael Sutphin.

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