article

Cat Not Urinating

August 2019

If you don't find urine in the litter box there can be a few reasons, and we will help you trouble shoot.

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article

Coughing in Cats

August 2019

An occasional cough can be normal for a cat, actually helping clear the airway. If your cat's coughing is mild and there are no other symptoms such as nasal discharge or lethargy, monitoring him/her for the next couple of days may be all that is needed.

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article

Coughing in Dogs

August 2019

An occasional cough can be normal for a dog, actually helping clear the airway. If your dog's coughing is infrequent and there are no other symptoms such as nasal discharge or lethargy, monitoring him/her for the next couple of days may be all that is needed. Keeping your dog separate from other dogs is recommended until a veterinarian gives the okay, since he/she may have a contagious upper respiratory infection.

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article

Diarrhea in Cats

August 2019

Some soft stool or diarrhea in cats is common with dietary changes or the stress of adapting to a new environment. If your cat has had a small amount of diarrhea once or twice, and if no other symptoms are present (e.g., vomiting, lethargy, not eating) it is acceptable to be patient and continue to monitor him/her. Continued, frequent or large amounts of diarrhea can be a sign of something more serious and could lead to dehydration and weight loss.

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article

Diarrhea in Dogs

August 2019

Some soft stool or diarrhea in dogs is common with dietary changes or the stress of adapting to a new environment. If your dog has had a small amount of diarrhea once or twice, and if no other symptoms are present (e.g., vomiting, lethargy, not eating) it is acceptable to be patient and continue to monitor him/her. Continued, frequent or large amounts of diarrhea can be a sign of something more serious and could lead to dehydration and weight loss.

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article

Difficult or Labored Breathing in Cats

August 2019

Difficult or labored breathing is a very serious and potentially life threatening emergency that requires immediate medical attention.

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article

Difficult or Labored Breathing in Dogs

August 2019

Difficult or labored breathing is a very serious and potentially life threatening emergency that requires immediate medical attention.

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article

Dogs with Difficulty Urinating

August 2019

Dogs that are having problems peeing often ask to go outside to use the bathroom more than normal. They are usually peeing small, frequent amounts, or they cannot pee at all. They might have pee accidents in the house. Straining to pee, no matter the amount of urine output, is never normal. Peeing should be a comfortable and effortless process, with a steady and adequate amount of urine.

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article

Ear Problems in Cats

August 2019

Ear infections aren't common in cats as they are in dogs, but can be very frustrating when they are present. Cats with ear problems usually have ear mites and might scratch their ears, have smelly ears, and/or shake their heads.

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article

Ear Problems in Dogs

August 2019

Ear problems are fairly common in dogs, especially dogs with floppy ears. Dogs with ear problems might scratch their ears, have smelly ears, and/or shake their heads.

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article

Eye Discharge in Cats

August 2019

Eye discharge in cats is a symptom rather than a disease itself, and has a variety of causes. Eye discharge may be clear and runny, or it may be green/yellow and thick. If your cat's symptoms are mild and he/she has a normal appetite and energy level, and does not have any other symptoms of illness, it is okay to monitor him/her for a few days.

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article

Eye Discharge in Dogs

August 2019

Eye discharge in dogs is a symptom rather than a disease itself, and has a variety of causes. Eye discharge may be clear and runny, or it may be green/yellow and thick. If your dog's symptoms are mild and he/she has a normal appetite and energy level, and does not have any other symptoms of illness, it is okay to monitor him/her for a few days.

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article

Fleas in Cats

August 2019

Fleas are tiny, wingless, blood-sucking insects that live off the blood of their hosts. The fleas biting the skin can cause cats to scratch, bite, lick, and chew at themselves. Fleas can also cause an allergic reaction in some cats. They can become extremely itchy and start losing their fur and getting secondary bacterial infections on the skin (scabs and sores). Heavy flea infestation in cats can lead to death from anemia (blood loss). If your cat's gums are very pale, or if he/she is lethargic/weak, he/she may need emergency veterinary care.

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article

Fleas in Dogs

August 2019

Fleas are tiny, wingless, blood-sucking insects that live off the blood of their hosts. The fleas biting the skin can cause dogs to scratch, bite, lick, and chew at themselves. Fleas can also cause an allergic reaction in some dogs. They can become extremely itchy and start losing their fur and are at risk for getting secondary bacterial infections on the skin (scabs and sores). Heavy flea infestation in dogs can lead to death from anemia (blood loss). If your dog's gums are very pale, or if he/she is lethargic/weak, he/she may need emergency veterinary care.

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article

Inappropriate Elimination in Cats

August 2019

If your cat is urinating or defecating outside the litter box, we certainly understand your frustration. Luckily, this is a treatable condition in most cases. A medical exam, as well as a few simple changes can help to re-establish proper litter box use.

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article

Intestinal Parasites in Cats

August 2019

Intestinal parasites can cause diarrhea, weight loss, rough hair coat, and/or a pot-bellied appearance. Vomiting can also be seen, sometimes with worms in the vomit. Sometimes cats with intestinal parasites show no signs at all.

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article

Intestinal Parasites in Dogs

August 2019

Intestinal parasites can cause diarrhea, weight loss, rough hair coat, and/or a pot-bellied appearance. Vomiting can also be seen, sometimes with worms in the vomit. Sometimes dogs with intestinal parasites show no signs at all.

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article

Lethargy in Cats

August 2019

Lethargy is a common term for weakness and lack of energy. This is a vague description of a symptom, but it occurs often with many illnesses in cats. Lethargy can range from slight (e.g., not as playful as usual), to moderate (e.g., not interested in play, sleeping more than usual), to extreme (e.g., barely moving, difficulty holding head up).

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article

Lethargy in Dogs

August 2019

Lethargy is a common term for lack of energy and weakness. This is a vague description of a symptom, but it occurs often with many illnesses in dogs. Lethargy can range from slight (e.g., not as playful as usual), to moderate (e.g., not interested in play, sleeping more than usual), to extreme (e.g., barely moving, difficulty holding head up).

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article

Limping in Cats

August 2019

Limping (lameness) in cats can be subtle or very obvious. You may see your cat holding up his/her paw or hopping on three legs from time to time, or you may see your cat consistently not putting any weight on his/her paw at all. Severe lameness needs prompt veterinary attention, as your cat is likely very uncomfortable and in need of medication to relieve pain. Do not give your cat any pain medication without consulting with a veterinarian, as some medications are toxic to cats.

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article

Limping in Dogs

August 2019

Limping (lameness) in dogs can be subtle or very obvious. You may see your dog holding up his/her paw or hopping on three legs from time to time, or you may see your dog consistently not putting any weight on his/her paw at all. Severe lameness needs prompt veterinary attention, as your dog is likely very uncomfortable and in need of medication to relieve pain. Do not give your dog any pain medication without consulting with a veterinarian.

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article

Litter Box Problems

August 2019

If your cat is urinating or defecating outside the litter box, we certainly understand your frustration. Luckily, this is a treatable condition in most cases. A medical exam, as well as a few simple changes can help to re-establish proper litter box use.

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article

Litter Box Tips

August 2019

If your cat is urinating or defecating outside the litter box, we certainly understand your frustration. Luckily, this is a treatable condition in most cases. A medical exam, as well as a few simple changes can help to re-establish proper litter box use.

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article

Ringworm in Cats

August 2019

Ringworm (dermatophytosis) is a common skin disorder in cats that is highly contagious to other pets and to people. Children and immunocompromised individuals (e.g. HIV/AIDS patients, cancer patients, patients on immunosuppressive medications) are especially susceptible to ringworm. This website addresses ringworm from a public health standpoint: CDC: Healthy Pets Healthy People: Ringworm

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article

Seizures in Cats

August 2019

Most seizures last one to two minutes and resolve on their own. If your cat has a seizure for more than two minutes, and/or if there is more than one seizure observed, your cat needs emergency veterinary care.

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article

Seizures in Dogs

August 2019

Most seizures last one to two minutes and resolve on their own. If your dog has a seizure for more than two minutes, and/or if there is more than one seizure observed, your dog needs emergency veterinary care.

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article

Sneezing and Nasal Discharge in Cats

August 2019

If your cat's sneezing and/or nasal discharge is mild and he/she has a normal appetite and energy level, it is okay to monitor him/her for the first couple of days. Keeping your cat separate from other cats is recommended until a veterinarian gives the okay, since he/she may have a contagious upper respiratory infection.

Learn More

article

Sneezing and Nasal Discharge in Dogs

August 2019

If your dog's sneezing and/or nasal discharge is mild and he/she has a normal appetite and energy level, it is okay to monitor him/her for the first couple of days. Keeping your dog separate from other dogs is recommended until a veterinarian gives the okay, since he/she may have a contagious upper respiratory infection.

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article

Straining to Pee in Cats

August 2019

Cats that are having problems peeing are often seen going in and out of the litter box more than normal. They are usually peeing small, frequent amounts, or they cannot pee at all. They might pee outside of the litter box. Straining to pee, no matter the amount of urine output, is never normal. Peeing should be a comfortable and effortless process, with a steady and adequate amount of urine.

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article

Urine Marking in Cats

August 2019

If your cat is urinating outside the litter box, we certainly understand your frustration. Luckily, this is a treatable condition in most cases. A medical exam, as well as a few simple changes can help to re-establish proper litter box use.

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article

Vomiting in Cats

August 2019

For some cats, an occasional, isolated episode of vomiting can be nothing to worry about. If your cat does not have any other signs of illness (e.g., fever, lethargy, not eating), it is best to be patient and continue to monitor your cat.

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article

Vomiting in Dogs

August 2019

For some dogs, an occasional, isolated episode of vomiting can be nothing to worry about. If your dog does not have any other signs of illness (e,g, fever, lethargy, not eating), it is best to be patient and continue to monitor your dog.

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presentation

Basic Principles of Managing a Large-Scale Animal Emergency or Disaster

Dick Green, Senior Director of Field Investigations & Response, ASPCAJuly 2019

This workshop discusses the basic principles of incident management and why having everyone speak the same language and be under the same incident command structure saves lives. This presentation was recorded at the 2019 ASPCA Maddie's® Cornell Shelter Medicine Conference.

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presentation

Solutions for the Top Five Reasons Dogs are Dying in Shelters

Mike Kaviani, Director, Orange County Animal Care and Aaron Caldwell, Dog Behavior Co-Manager, Austin Pets Alive!March 2019

The presentation will provide you with practical and manageable solutions for the top five reasons dogs are dying and being killed in shelters today.

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presentation

Saving Dogs with Behavioral Challenges

Aaron Caldwell, Dog Behavior Co-Manager, Austin Pets Alive! and Mike Kaviani, Director, OC Animal CareMarch 2019

Viewers will learn about cutting edge ways to solve non-shelter created behavior problems in shelter dogs.

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Solving Litter Box Problems

November 2018

In this class you will learn how to understand the various issues related to owner surrender of cats with a history of inappropriate litter box use, the various medical and behavioral causes of peeing and/or pooping outside the litter box, techniques to eliminate behavioral causes of not using the litter box, and how to facilitate a successful adoption of a cat with a history of inappropriate litter box use.

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flash

Choosing the Appropriate Walking Gear

November 2018

In this class, you will learn the various different types of dog walking equipment, the pros and cons of each equipment, and what might be best for your foster dog.

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flash

How to Handle Leash Walking

November 2018

In this short class, learn the best tips for training your foster dog to walk properly on leash as well as a few other training scenarios leashes come in handy for.

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blog

Clicker training can reduce stress for cats in animal shelters

August 14, 2018

When shelter staff and volunteers talk about clicker training for cats, it’s mostly as a way to get the kitties to put their best paw forward for adopters. But what if it can be something more — even a tool to fight suffering and disease? That was the theory of researchers at Colorado State and North… Learn More

blog

Can something in the air treat fights between cats in the same family?

July 31, 2018

What if you could sprinkle magic fairy dust to reduce fighting between cats in a family? That would certainly help keep cats in their homes, and encourage people to adopt multiple cats, so we wish we could tell you magic anti-cat fight fairy dust was a thing. What we can tell you is there’s something… Learn More

video

Get Your Pit Bull-Type Dogs Adopted with the Canine Good Citizen Program

Carrie MorrisMarch 2018

Through a partnership with Best Friends Animal Society, Austin Pets Alive! embarked on a six-month pilot program to test the effectiveness of Canine Good Citizen Training on adoption rates. The results have been jaw-dropping!

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blog

Is it time to stop evaluating shelter dogs for food guarding?

March 15, 2018

Research published last month suggests evaluating shelter dogs for food guarding doesn’t increase safety or reduce bites, and may result in lower adoption rates and increased euthanasia of dogs who are defined as “food guarders.” The behavior a dog shows in an animal shelter may not match the behavior she’ll show once in a home.… Learn More

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Basket Muzzle Training

Fear FreeFebruary 2018

Conditioning a dog to be comfortable wearing a muzzle is an important life skill. In this short video by Fear Free you can learn how to do exactly that.

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House Training Your Foster Dog

January 2018

Learn some easy methods to help in house training your foster dog in this short video.

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blog

Study: Can a human drug help community cats experience less stress during TNR?

December 12, 2017

Can you imagine how terrifying it must feel for cats who are trapped for sterilization and returned to their outdoor habitat, especially when the cat is not socialized to humans? And you probably don’t need to imagine how much stress pet cats can experience when taken to the veterinarian — if you’ve ever owned a… Learn More

blog

Study: What cats really don’t like in their litter box

September 26, 2017

When cats stop using their litter box, and they get a clean bill of physical health from their veterinarian, there’s one piece of advice that almost universally comes next: Keep your litter box clean. But what does that mean from the cat’s point of view? The smell of a cat box is probably the main… Learn More

blog

From anxious to adoptable: An expansion of foster care using a Maddie’s Idea Lab Grant

June 7, 2017

Do you have shy or anxious dogs in your shelter who you just know would benefit from being in a foster home and out of the shelter environment? That's exactly how the Anxious Dog Program (ADP) started at Longmont Humane Society in Longmont, Colo. The Anxious Dog Program expands the shelter’s foster program to include specially… Learn More

blog

#FeelGoodFriday: Golf cart transports fearful dog to happiness!

May 12, 2017

Sometimes a golf cart is just a golf cart. And sometimes it’s a terrified dog’s ticket to ride. When Daphne came to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, she was scared of everything. She was frightened of people, and wanted to hide all the time. But one day, her caregiver, John Sibley, encouraged her to jump up… Learn More

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Using foster care to increase lifesaving in large dogs

May 2, 2017

Can you place medium and large dogs with behavioral problems in foster homes and see their behavior improve? Can those dogs eventually be adopted into permanent homes? And can all of that be done safely? Those were the objectives of a 22-month long study conducted by Fairfax County Animal Shelter in Virginia. The result? A… Learn More

blog

Study: Pet store puppies have more aggression, anxiety, and house-soiling problems

March 30, 2017

There’s an important tool to help in the fight against puppy mill puppies sold through pet stores: They’re more likely to be aggressive with their owners, strangers and other dogs. They’re also more fearful and suffer more from separation anxiety. In a study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association and led… Learn More

webcast

Small Changes, Big Results for Cats

Mike Keiley and Bryn Conklin RogersMarch 2017

Learn how making a few small, easy-to-implement changes can spiral into more programs, lower intake and decrease euthanasia at an open admission adoption center. Learn More

blog

Setting a shy dog up for success

March 29, 2017

How do you approach your shy foster dog for the first time? And how can you prepare your family for when you bring the dog home? Knowing how to handle these situations can go a long way toward setting your foster dog up for success — and that’s exactly what you’ll learn in our new… Learn More

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How a dog named Patty sparked a lifesaving revolution for dogs with behavior challenges

March 28, 2017

Are there dogs in your shelter or rescue who you honestly think can’t be adopted because of behavior problems? There might be a simple solution — and if it works for them, they’ll have a dog named Patty to thank. Kristen Auerbach, Deputy Chief Animal Services Officer at the Austin Animal Center, told Patty’s story… Learn More

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Introducing Your Foster Dog to Strangers in Your House

Rebound HoundsMarch 2017

This short video, on introducing your foster dog to a stranger at your house, will demonstrate easy and ultimately rewarding steps to help your foster dog greet new people in a safe and relaxed manner. Learn More

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Bringing Your Shy Foster Dog Home

March 2017

To help start a foster family of a shy dog get off on the right foot, er paw, this short video will provide helpful tips for bringing your foster dog to your house for the very first time.

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blog

Study: Audiobooks outperform music at reducing stress in shelter dogs

March 1, 2017

By now you’ve probably seen the research showing dogs in shelters are quieter when they’re listening to soft rock, reggae, and (at least for short periods) classical music. You may have seen programs where children come in and read to shelter dogs. So here’s the question: Do dogs like listening to audiobooks? The answer is… Learn More

flash

Fostering and Socializing Unsocial Kittens

January 2017

The good news is that many unsocialized kittens can learn to not only tolerate interaction with humans but even enjoy it. Learn More

blog

Through a cat’s nose: How understanding smell can keep cats in homes and reduce stress in shelters

January 10, 2017

Most of us know dogs put a lot of store in how things smell, their noses are legendary for their sniffing ability. It’s not as widely known that the smells in a cat’s environment are a critical part of what makes a cat feel safe and free of stress, whether the cat is living in… Learn More

blog

Study: The effect of declawing on litter box use in multi-cat households

January 3, 2017

Problems related to urinating and defecating outside the litter box and living with more than one cat are among the top reasons people surrender cats to a shelter. Is that worse for cats who have been declawed? The average number of cats per cat-owning household is 2, indicating that multi-cat households are very common in… Learn More

blog

The way shelters handle and care for cats can improve their adoption chances

December 13, 2016

Can something as simple as more frequent cleaning of food bowls and changing of water in a shelter cat’s housing get them adopted more quickly? A study soon to be published in the peer-reviewed journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science suggests that it is. The study was conducted in Austria, where it’s illegal for shelters to… Learn More

blog

The magic ingredient for success in adopting a puppy mill survivor

March 24, 2016

It’s the most important step you can take to help a newly adopted puppy mill dog adjust, say experts: If you don’t already have one, get another dog. While patience is the quality most needed by puppy mill rescue adopters, research conducted by Dr. Frank McMillan and presented at the University of Florida Maddie’s® Shelter… Learn More

blog

Toys and TLC in animal shelters: Looking beyond adoption rates

March 15, 2016

What if playing and interacting with shelter pets didn’t help them get adopted more easily? Would that be a reason to stop? Absolutely not, and here’s why. A number of studies in recent years have looked at the impact of toys, play, grooming and human interaction on pets in shelters. Some have shown those interventions… Learn More

webcast

How Stress is Sabotaging Your Cat Adoption Efforts

Dr. Sheila D'ArpinoFebruary 2016

It's well known that cat health is quickly and negatively impacted by stress. But is it also making it harder for them to get adopted? Learn strategies to identify those effects not only in individual cats, but in the entire population of cats in a facility. Learn More

webcast

How Stress is Sabotaging Your Dog Adoption Efforts

Dr. Sheila D'ArpinoJanuary 2016

Are dogs in shelters developing health and behavior problems because of stress? And does that make adoption more difficult and less likely for those pets? Learn to recognize the harmful effects of stress on sheltered dogs, and strategies to alleviate that stress in this free webcast. Learn More

blog

Is stress undermining your pet adoption efforts?

January 12, 2016

Are dogs and cats in shelters developing health and behavior problems because of stress? And does that make adoption more difficult and less likely for those pets? Yes, says board certified veterinary behaviorist Dr. Sheila D’Arpino. On January 14 and February 4, 2016, she’ll be presenting free webcasts on how stress is sabotaging your pet… Learn More

blog

How foster homes set shelter pets up for behavioral success

January 5, 2016

Foster homes can provide a valuable safe harbor for stressed, fearful, or anxious shelter pets, as well as a place where they can learn behaviors that will maximize their chances for successful adoption into a permanent home. For that to happen, however, the foster family must also provide appropriate support for the easing of fears… Learn More

presentation

Avoiding Dog Fights in the Shelter

Ehren Melius October 2015

Dog-to-dog aggression can be challenging, but there are myriad ways to keep your canines happy and safe. Learn More

presentation

Getting Big Dogs Out of the Shelter via Canine Good Citizen Training

Marian Cannell and Amy LewisFebruary 2015

Through a partnership with Best Friends Animal Society, Austin Pets Alive! embarked on a six-month pilot program to test the effectiveness of Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Training on adoption rates.  The results have been very good and show a clear adoption rate difference between dogs who undergo training and those who don’t.  Learn More

presentation

Saving All the Little Dogs: Small Dog Behavior Issues

Faith Wright and Deaven WilsonFebruary 2015

Do you know how many small breed dogs are euthanized in your community shelter?  In Austin, Texas in 2008, it was many more than would have been expected (roughly 500).   Do you know that nearly ALL of them can be saved and although many are marked "aggressive”, they rarely are? Learn More

presentation

Taking Troubled Tabbies from Naughty to Nice

Sara Cookson and Kristin Hill February 2015

Every rescue encounters troubled cats with issues that go beyond tortitude. The Austin Pet’s Alive! Cat Behavior Team will teach you how to prevent behavior problems before they start. Learn More

webcast

Behavior Modification for Cats in Shelters and Foster Homes

Sara L. Bennett, DVM, MS, DACVBOctober 2014

Getting a leopard to change his spots sometimes seems easier than getting a domestic cat to change her behavior. Fortunately, the science of feline behavior modification has come a long way in recent years, leaving animal shelters, rescue groups, fosters and adopters with plenty of new tools to help cats become happier and well-adjusted companions. Learn More

presentation

Vet to Vet: Efficacy of Synthetic Feline Interdigital Semiochemical (FIS)

Katherine Polak, DVM, MPH, MS, DACVPMMay 2014

Discussion of research on the efficacy of synthetic FIS, or feline interdigital semiochemicals, which may be useful as a preventative measure for inappropriate scratching behavior. Learn More

webcast

Helping Cats Who Hiss and Hide: Assessments, Behavior Modification and Re-Homing Strategies for Shy and Fearful Cats

Sheila Segurson D'Arpino, DVM, DACVBNovember 2013

Can cats who are shy and fearful in the shelter still get adopted? Yes, says board certified veterinary behavior specialist Dr. Sheila D'Arpino. Feline behavior while in a shelter is not always a good representation of that same cat's behavior in less stressful surroundings. Proper housing, handling, and, if needed, behavior modification can turn that hissing and hiding cat into a beloved family pet.

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research

Helping Cats Who Hiss and Hide: Pre-Webcast Survey Results

November 2013

On November 14, 2013, Maddie's Fund® presented the webcast Helping Cats Who Hiss and Hide: Assessment, Behavior Modification and Re-Homing Strategies for Shy and Fearful Cats, with Dr. Sheila D'Arpino, a board-certified veterinary behaviorist. Those who registered for the live webcast filled out a short questionnaire regarding their own experiences with shy and fearful cats. Learn More

webcast

Shelter Dog Mod Squad: Identifying and Modifying Canine Behavior Problems in Shelters

Shelia (Segurson) D'Arpino, DVM, DACVBDecember 2012

How can you get jumpy, mouthy or fearful shelter dogs adopted? By joining the "Shelter Dog Mod Squad" and learning how to identify and modify those behavior problems! Learn More

presentation

Curing the Litter Box Blues - Feline Elimination Disorders

Susan Krebsbach, DVMOctober 2011

Dr. Susan Krebsbach, veterinary behavior specialist, presents "Curing the Litter Box Blues: Feline Elimination Disorders" at the Purdue/Maddie's Shelter Medicine Symposium 2011. Learn More