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Maddie's Shelter Medicine Program at Purdue University 

  • Project Start Date: July 1, 2008
  • Total Funding Through Year Eight: $2.8M

Purdue University's School of Veterinary Medicine received $2.8M to create a comprehensive shelter medicine program focused on three areas: education and training, research, and the dissemination of information on shelter medicine. Collaborating shelter partners include the Humane Society of Indianapolis and PAWS Chicago (Pets Are Worth Saving).

Education and Training:

This component includes annual fellowships for veterinarians (the Maddie's® Post-DVM Fellows in Shelter Medicine) where fellowship trainees work for one year with the team of shelter veterinarians in state-of-the-art facilities at PAWS Chicago as well as Maddie's® PhDs in Shelter Population Medicine and Behavior. Veterinary students and Veterinary Technology students are encouraged to become involved in the education and training components of the program through Maddie's® Shelter Medicine Externships, the student chapter of the Association of Shelter Veterinarians and a lecture course in shelter animal medicine.

Shelter Medicine Research:

Research will explore preventative medicine and infectious disease management in shelters, and investigate the causes of pet homelessness to be able to develop effective strategies to address animal abandonment and increase adoption rates. Studies will aim to improve the health of shelter pets, reduce the cost of their care, increase owner retention and decrease the numbers of animals entering the shelter system. Research will be performed mainly by graduate students (Maddie's® PhD students in shelter-based population medicine) and veterinarians in Purdue's training programs (the Maddie's® Post-DVM fellows in shelter medicine). Veterinary students can also become involved during the annual Maddie's® Summer Research Experience. In keeping with the philosophy that shelter animals are partners and therefore treated as pets, research will be population-based and non-invasive.

Current research underway: Maddie's® Purdue FIV Study, a five year controlled study of cats naturally infected with FIV that aims to build a comprehensive picture of infection in each cat so that recommendations for their care can be made to shelters and potential adopters.

The Dissemination of Information on Shelter Medicine:

Information generated by shelter medicine research will be disseminated at national, regional, and local meetings for veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and all those interested in shelter medicine and the welfare of shelter animals.