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Shelter Medicine Articles 

In the beginning, shelter medicine was primarily focused on spay/neuter and not much more. Today, shelter medicine is well on its way to becoming a recognized specialty of its own, and is balancing the spay/neuter efforts with prevention and treatment of health and behavior problems in shelter pets as well. Experts in academia and in the field can help shelter professionals reach their goal of saving the life of every healthy and treatable dog and cat that comes in their doors.

A Shelter-Based Approach to Canine Parvovirus Treatment

December 2013
There have been many advances in treatment options since the emergence of canine parvovirus (CPV) in the 1970s, and many sheltering organizations have started to embrace various CPV treatment options in their efforts to save more lives. Brian A. DiGangi, DVM, MS, DABVP, guides you through treatment for shelter dogs with CPV, including how to make use of limited resources without compromising patient welfare and a simple algorithm to help shelters make the best treatment decisions.  Read More

The Human Psychology of Canine Parvovirus

December 2013
Everyone in the sheltering world has good reason to fear an outbreak of canine parvovirus (CPV) in their facility. But could that fear be blinding us to new ways of thinking about this disease? Journalist and communications consultant Christie Keith examines the language we use to talk about CPV, and whether or not we are making our decisions based on evidence or fear.  Read More

Shelter Veterinarian Takes on Challenge at Beleaguered Texas Animal Control Agency

May 2013
Former shelter medicine resident Dr. Cate McManus is using her expertise to help change the management practices at a municipal animal control facility and double the shelter’s live release rate.  Read More

Caring for Orphaned Kittens: A How-To Guide for Shelters

April 2013
Based on years of personal experience, Maddie's Fund Director of Veterinary Programs Laurie Peek, DVM, provides a step-by-step guide to caring for orphaned kittens, including how to recognize, avoid and respond to the most common threats they face.  Read More

Shelters Embrace New Model for Saving Orphaned Kittens

April 2013
The Jacksonville Humane Society in Jacksonville, FL, and California's San Diego Humane Society and SPCA talk about the emerging model of operating kitten nurseries to provide round-the-clock care for kittens in a shelter environment.  Read More

Here, There and Everywhere: How Online Learning is Bringing Shelter Medicine to Everyone

March 2013
Veterinarians and veterinary students can now log in from anywhere to learn valuable new skills and earn shelter medicine certification through Maddie's Graduate Certificate in Shelter Medicine online course at the University of Florida.  Read More

Cats by Appointment Only

March 2013
The SPCA Serving Erie County has dramatically reduced cat admissions and eliminated overcrowding and severe disease outbreaks with its cats by appointment policy – worries about an angry public, bad press and an increase in cat abandonment haven’t materialized.  Read More

A Protocoled Response to Dog and Cat Diarrhea in a Shelter Setting

April 2014
Every life is precious, but that doesn't mean the concept of "herd health" shouldn't be a guiding principle of the shelter veterinarian. Dr. Ellen Jefferson, whose data-driven approach has helped make Austin, TX, the largest no-kill community in the nation, shows how blanket protocols and procedures give most shelter dogs and cats the best chance to avoid, or recover quickly from diarrhea.  Read More

Don't Run from Diarrhea: Easy Steps for the Prevention and Management of Diarrhea in Shelter Dogs and Cats

January 2013
Does the sight of a brown puddle in a kennel run or cage strike dread in the hearts of your kennel staff? It shouldn't. Diarrhea is common in shelter cats and dogs, whether caused by stress, diet change, parasites or pathogens. While there are serious illnesses associated with diarrhea, in most cases, it's easily treatable and often at a very small cost. Two in-the-trenches shelter veterinarians, Dr. Barbara Hanek of PAWS Chicago and Dr. Heather Budgin of Tony La Russa's Animal Rescue Foundation, as well as Dr. Elizabeth Berliner, Director of Clinical Programs for Maddie's Shelter Medicine Program at Cornell University, share their experience with beating the "brown scourge," and their tips on how your organization can do the same.  Read More

The Role of Nutrition and Diet in Shelter Dog and Cat Diarrhea

January 2013
The prevalence of nutritional-caused diarrhea in shelter dogs and cats.  Read More

High-Quality, High-Volume Spay/Neuter for Community Cats

August 2012
Free-roaming cats have a variety of temperaments, and those who are “feral” need special consideration when performing anesthesia and spay/neuter. It is important to minimize the cat’s stress and maximize safety for the humans who are providing medical care.  Read More

Redefining Vaccination on Intake

April 2012
Even facilities that describe themselves as "vaccinating on intake" often don't administer the vaccines until the pets have been in the shelter for several hours or up to two days. Others only vaccinate animals they believe will be easily adopted, while still others don't vaccinate at all. Can most infectious disease outbreaks in shelters be halted with just a small change in when animals are being vaccinated? Yes, say leading shelter medicine experts - an opinion borne out by the experiences of shelters that have begun aggressively redefining the idea of "vaccination on intake".  Read More

Using Antibody Titer Tests to Fight Disease Outbreaks in Animal Shelters

April 2012
Would it make a difference at your shelter if you could know within half an hour of admission whether a cat or dog was already immune to parvo, distemper, or panleukopenia? Thanks to the introduction of on-site antibody titer tests, that's not a hypothetical question. In research on antibody titer tests in shelter environments conducted at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, the University of Florida, and Purdue University with funding by Maddie's Fund, these tests have proven to save lives and resources both in preventing and responding to disease outbreaks.  Read More

Proper Handling and Use of Vaccines in Animal Shelters

April 2012
Outbreaks of infectious diseases are devastating to any community, its sheltering organizations, and pet owners. Given the existence of vaccinations for the most common shelter diseases, why does this still happen? There are many reasons, but one is that vaccines are sometimes less effective simply because they’re not stored, transported, or handled properly. As long as a few simple rules are followed, vaccination can be the life-saving tool it was designed to be.  Read More

Research Rules at Purdue

November 2011
Since Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program at Purdue University began in July 2008, seven important shelter medicine studies have been completed and six more are underway.  Read More

A Model Pet Evaluation Matrix

April 2011
Use the Pet Evaluation Matrix provided here for your organization or community.  Read More

The Association of Shelter Veterinarians Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters

December 2010
The Association of Shelter Veterinarians produced this comprehensive document to address the lack of guidelines for standards of care currently in existence for animals in shelters. The Guidelines are divided into twelve sections: Management and Record Keeping; Facility Design and Environment; Population Management; Sanitation; Medical Health and Physical Well-being; Behavioral Health and Mental Well-being; Group Housing; Animal Handling; Euthanasia; Spaying and Neutering; Animal Transport; and Public Health.  Read More

What is the Role of a Veterinarian in Animal Shelters? Editorial

2007
Shelter veterinarians need to do far more than spay/neuter.  Read More

The Rapid Rise of Shelter Medicine

2009
The recent growth of shelter medicine programs in colleges of veterinary medicine is a boon to animal shelters in desperate need of trained medical staff.  Read More

What is a Treatable Shelter Pet? Editorial

2005
The treatable designation need not require the shelters to provide the called-for treatment or rehabilitation. The idea is to put in writing what the shelters are aiming to achieve for the community's homeless pets.  Read More

Maddie's Lab Saves Seventeen Shelter Dogs

February 2011
Information on how to get free diagnostic testing to save pets' lives in shelters.  Read More

Beating Ringworm in Shelter Cats: Yes, You Can

May 2011
Find out how the Dane County Humane Society’s cutting edge ringworm protocols are leading the way to positive outcomes.  Read More

Humane Society Silicon Valley: Going the Extra Mile for Animals in Need

January 2011
Saving animals with treatable health and behavior conditions is the focus of this Northern California animal shelter.  Read More

And the Survey Says...Maddie's Shelter Medicine Survey Summary

January 2011
Findings from Maddie's survey on shelter health needs.  Read More

Maddie's Shelter Medicine Conference

November 2009
On October 23 and 24, 2009, University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine hosted the second annual Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Conference in Gainesville, Florida. Eight power point presentations from the conference are available for viewing. They include: transitioning to adoption guarantee, creating a pet evaluation matrix, top adoption and marketing strategies and foster care.  Read More

It Happened at EXPO: A Summary of Maddie's Daylong Workshop

2009
Maddie's eight-hour workshop, Is An Adoption Guarantee Really Possible? Four Steps to Success held in Las Vegas at The HSUS Animal Care EXPO, drew more than 200 attendees interested in saving the lives of their communities' healthy and treatable shelter dogs and cats.  Read More