Print this page Print Bookmark and Share

Completed Colleges of Veterinary Medicine 

Maddie's Fund® supported the nation's first comprehensive shelter medicine program with a grant to UC Davis in 2001. The UCD Maddie's® Shelter Medicine Program graduated the nation's first two shelter medicine residents (epidemiology and animal behavior) and exposed the veterinary college and shelter world to this exciting new discipline.

We've invested more than $9 million in shelter medicine so far and are the nation's largest charity offering grants in shelter medicine.

Here are descriptions and accomplishments of our completed projects at colleges of veterinary medicine.

Comprehensive Shelter Medicine Programs:
University of California at Davis
Auburn University

Other Programs:
Colorado State University
Mississippi State University
Texas A&M University
University of Florida
University of Missouri-Columbia
Western University


Maddie's® Shelter Medicine Training Project at Colorado State University
Project Start: January 2008
Total Funding: $60,348

Colorado State University received a grant to develop, implement and evaluate a training program for animal shelter workers and volunteers to increase their knowledge of zoonotic diseases and infection control measures in animal shelters.

Staff conducted two training sessions in each of the states of Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Utah for a total of twelve training sessions.

Specific objectives:

  • Review clinical signs and transmission routes of zoonotic diseases of concern to animal shelters along with their common clinical signs and routes of transmission.
  • Review potential impact of listed zoonotic diseases on immune compromised individuals.
  • Review infection control critical for disease prevention and control in animal shelters.
    Work through zoonotic disease scenarios that might occur in animal shelters.

Staff also evaluated and analyzed the effectiveness of the training sessions, taking into account such things as shelter size and location. The project was directed by Katie Steneroden, DVM, MPH.


Maddie's® Shelter Medicine Externship at Mississippi State University
Project Start: July 2008
Total Funding: $5,000

Mississippi State University received a grant to enable students at the University's College of Veterinary Medicine to work alongside a full-time veterinarian at adoption guarantee animal shelter(s). An adoption guarantee animal shelter is an animal shelter that saves all the healthy and treatable dogs and cats under its care, with euthanasia reserved only for unhealthy & untreatable dogs and cats.


Maddie's® Shelter Medicine Externship at Texas A&M University
Project Start: July 2008
Total Funding: $6,000

Texas A&M University received a grant from Maddie's Fund to enable students at the University's College of Veterinary Medicine to work alongside a full-time veterinarian at an adoption guarantee animal shelter(s). An adoption guarantee animal shelter is an animal shelter that saves all the healthy and treatable dogs and cats under its care, with euthanasia reserved only for unhealthy & untreatable dogs and cats.


Maddie's® Shelter Medicine Program at the University of California, Davis
Project Dates: January 2001-April 2005
Total Funding: $891,306
The UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine received a Maddie's Fund grant to establish the nation's first comprehensive shelter medicine program.

Maddie's® Shelter Medicine Program at UC Davis was created to train veterinarians for work in animal shelters and to establish programs and protocols to help reduce disease and behavior problems in shelter dogs and cats, improve the quality of pet lives during shelter stays, reduce shelter deaths and increase the adoption rate of shelter animals. The Program included three major components:

  • Shelter Medicine Teaching - classroom instruction and hands-on shelter experience for veterinary students and post graduate residents.
  • Shelter Medicine Research - lab and field-based studies to improve medical delivery for shelter animals.
  • Shelter Medicine Service - diagnostic and medical support for shelters, including animal behavior assistance and a shelter consultation service.


  • Graduated the nation's first two residents in Shelter Medicine, Dr. Kate Hurley (epidemiology) and Dr. Sheila Segurson (behavior).
  • Launched the nation's first shelter medicine website, posting dozens of medical protocols for shelters throughout the country to follow.
  • Published research papers in peer reviewed scientific journals and conducted a variety of investigations on topics of interest to animal shelters (e.g., bordetellosis, parvovirus, ringworm, calicivirus).
  • Provided direct assistance to core animal shelters in areas of disease prevention and control, behavior modification, facility design and management.
  • Presented lectures on shelter medicine topics at more than 50 regional and national animal welfare and veterinary conferences.
  • Exposed veterinary students to shelter medicine through coursework and externships.
  • Responded to hundreds of e-mail and telephone requests for information from shelters across the country.

Following the lead of Maddie's® Shelter Medicine Program at UC Davis, many veterinary schools have added classes, externships, rotations and post graduate residencies in shelter medicine. The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association and other professional periodicals have featured peer reviewed shelter medicine articles. The first textbook on shelter medicine has been published. Most animal welfare and veterinary organizations have established shelter medicine tracks at national conferences, and there is talk of creating a Board Certification program in shelter medicine.

Former Maddie's® Shelter Medicine Resident, Dr. Kate Hurley, wrote the excerpt below after visiting with medical staff at dozens of animal shelters in several states:

August 24, 2005

Dear Maddie's Fund,

... what an amazing opportunity the Maddie's Shelter Medicine Residency really was, and what an impact it has had. I was staggered by the number of shelter vets and staff that recognized me, had gone to a talk I gave, read something I wrote, been to our website, or had called or emailed me some time in the past. It was amazing to walk into a shelter at random - 3,000 miles from home - and find that I had helped them control an outbreak of panleukopenia three years before. It was even more gratifying to see shelters actually implementing protocols I learned about and developed as a resident.

As much as I'd like to take credit for all this, I realize it has more to do with the opportunity I was given than anything in particular I accomplished. As far as I know, I was the first person ever - in the whole history of animal shelters - to be given the privilege of uninterrupted time and resources to actually study the health care of animals in shelters. Being able to approach this in a systematic way, visiting many shelters and combining that with access to all the expertise at UC Davis and other universities, not only gave me a unique perspective, it really seems to have helped set a precedent: that shelter animal health does matter as much as other areas of veterinary specialty, that shelter medicine is a worthy scientific discipline, and that we can make tremendous progress in saving animal lives through the same principles we've applied with such success in other areas of medicine. Thanks.


Kate Hurley

Maddie's® Shelter Medicine Program at Auburn University

Project Dates: July 2004-July 2006

Total Funding: $482,224

Maddie's® Shelter Medicine Program at Auburn University was created to improve the quality of life for shelter pets, decrease shelter deaths, increase adoptions, create a pool of veterinarians to practice in this emerging field and bring an awareness of shelter issues to private practitioners outside of the shelter industry. Program components included student training, continuing education and research.


Maddie's® Shelter Medicine Training

  • Provided didactic coursework for freshmen, sophomore, and junior veterinary students through eight core classes.
  • Maintained a core clinical shelter medicine rotation for all senior veterinary students. The rotation included weekly trips to the Muscogee Humane Society to provide learning opportunities for students and on-site consultations for shelter staff.
  • Established Maddie's® Shelter Medicine Rotation, an intensive, two-week elective clinical rotation for seniors wanting to enhance their surgical skills.
  • Offered an elective on feral cat trap-neuter-return programs and an elective on shelter cat and dog behavior.
  • Added a mandatory freshman feline laboratory on the examination, humane handling and restraint of shelter cats.
  • Provided Maddie's® Special Problems Course for pre-veterinary undergrads to enable students to study real life shelter medical situations.
  • Created opportunities for Maddie's® Summer Fellows to assist with research projects.

Continuing Education

  • Established Auburn University Maddie's® Shelter Medicine website.
  • Promoted shelter medicine at a campus lecture series for veterinary interns.
  • Responded to over a thousand emails and phone calls on shelter medicine topics from shelter managers, veterinarians and students.
  • Presented shelter medicine lectures and seminars online and at nearly two dozen regional and national animal welfare and veterinary conferences.


  • Worked on a study of canine influenza in shelter dogs.
  • Conducted a survey of medical care provided by Alabama animal shelters.
  • Embarked on a project to determine the effectiveness of specific drugs on coccidiosis and diarrhea in shelter puppies and kittens.
  • Researched methods to prevent ringworm in shelter cats.

"I feel like I got everything I expected out of my rotation. I gained confidence in surgery, feel more educated as to what goes on at shelters, learned the importance of spay/neuter and adoption programs and was exposed to the pros and cons of different shelter models."

"Before this rotation, I had not planned on helping shelters.... These two weeks have changed my mind and motivated me to make a difference in my county."

University of Florida, Maddie's® Outdoor Cat Program

Project Dates: 2006-2008
Total Funding: $257,008

Despite two decades of growth of trap-neuter-return (TNR) programs, no data exists to document the effect of TNR on shelter admissions. Julie Levy and a team of researchers from the University of Florida set out to assess feral cat sterilization projects as a method for reducing the homeless cat population and the resulting burden on animal control facilities, and Alachua County, Florida was their testing ground.

Alachua County is a mostly suburban/rural community in North Central Florida. In many respects, its demographics are typical of the South, with approximately 26% minority population and county-wide income that is below the national average. The county is also unique in that it houses the University of Florida and Santa Fe Community College, a combined total of 62,500 college students (or 1/4 of the county's 240,000 residents).

For many years, the rate of admission of cats and dogs to the county animal shelter greatly exceeded the national average, and most of these animals were ultimately euthanized. Several community programs were established to address this problem, primarily by increasing adoptions and sterilizations. Maddie's® Pet Rescue Project focuses on adoptions, Maddie's® Spay/Neuter Project funds free sterilization of pets in Medicaid families, No More Homeless Pets funds free sterilization of pets in other low-income families, and Operation Catnip provides free sterilization of stray and feral cats.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, more dogs were admitted and euthanized than cats each year. Although dogs are still admitted more frequently than cats, the canine save rate is higher, such that fewer dogs are now being euthanized than cats. A total of 2,184 dogs were euthanized in 2004, whereas 2,659 cats were euthanized. The continued imbalance between cat reproduction and availability of homes for cats leads to the euthanasia of 66% of all cats that enter the shelter, compared to only 44% of all dogs.

Twelve percent of Alachua County households feed cats they do not consider their own. This amounts to an estimated 36,000 homeless cats, or 44% of the total feline population. While sterilization of pet cats exceeds 80%, virtually none of the unowned cats are sterilized. This suggests that unowned free-roaming cats are the most significant source of cat overpopulation in Alachua County. By focusing an intensive TNR campaign in this area, Maddie's® Outdoor Cat Program hoped to bring about a decrease in the historically high admission rates of cats to the animal shelter.

Click here to read the published results of this study

University of Florida, Research Grant

Project Dates: 12/1/06-1/30/07
Total Funding: $500

Maddie's® Shelter Medicine Externships at the University of Missouri-Columbia

Project Start: January 2006 and January 2008
Total Funding: $12,000

The University of Missouri-Columbia received two grants to enable students at the University's College of Veterinary Medicine to work alongside a full-time veterinarian at adoption guarantee animal shelter(s). An adoption guarantee animal shelter is an animal shelter that saves all the healthy and treatable dogs and cats under its care, with euthanasia reserved only for unhealthy & untreatable dogs and cats.


 Western University

Project Dates: September 2002-August 2003
Total Funding: $250,000

Western University's College of Veterinary Medicine was funded to integrate shelter medicine coursework into the school's core curriculum and provide medical consultation and other services to a broad spectrum of shelter models including adoption guarantee, traditional and animal control shelters.

During its grant period, Western University conducted preliminary animal sheltering surveys, identified shelter medicine learning issues and developed shelter medicine problems for the school's Problem Based Learning courses.