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MULT100-0505: Introduction to Shelter Medicine

Lila Miller, DVM; ASPCA
Janet Scarlett, DVM, MPH, PhD; Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine
Robert Reisman, DVM; ASPCA
Stephen Zawistowski, PhD; ASPCA

May 4 - June 1, 2005
Interactive sessions: Wednesdays evenings May 4, 11, 18, 25; 9:30-11:30 pm ET (US)


The provision of comprehensive health care services to animal shelters requires an understanding of the mission and goals of animal shelters as well as an appreciation of the animal welfare issues that drive shelter medical and management policy decisions. This introductory course is designed to provide veterinarians, veterinary students and veterinary technicians with the necessary background information to help lay the foundation for designing effective programs for population and disease control.

Course Outline:

Week 1: Animal Sheltering- Issues in Population Management (Dr. Janet Scarlett and Dr. Lila Miller)
The first week will delve briefly into the world of animal sheltering, including a description of the different types of animal shelters and how their various organizational structures and missions affect the role of the veterinarian in the delivery of veterinary services. Pet population issues, animal relinquishment data, relationships with the private practice veterinarian and selected animal welfare topics that have created heightened interest in animal sheltering (pediatric neutering, feral cat management, no kills) will also be explored.

Week 2: Shelter Behavior Programs (Dr. Stephen Zawistowski)
This week will focus on the behavior problems encountered in shelter animals. Programs of behavior assessment and temperament testing will be described, including an evaluation of their usefulness and limitations. Suggestions for behavior modification, enrichment programs and stress reduction will be offered in addition to adoptability guidelines for matching pets and people.

Week 3: Control of Disease Transmission (Dr. Lila Miller)
The third week will discuss the benchmarks of a high quality shelter program and the ways that veterinarians will be expected to manage the disease implications. Topics will include how the source of shelter animals affects their care, obstacles to designing effective health care programs, disease prevention strategies and specific programs such as foster care and euthanasia.

Week 4: Animal Cruelty (Dr. Robert Reisman)
The final week will provide vital information for handling animal abuse and cruelty cases. In addition to helping define animal cruelty, abuse and neglect, legal issues for veterinary professionals will be discussed, along with guidelines for recognizing and documenting animal abuse for court cases.

Upon completion of the course, participants should

  1. Understand how to use knowledge about the mission of the shelter and its role in the community to design effective shelter programs
  2. Feel more confident proposing specific strategies to deal with disease outbreaks
  3. Develop a more professional approach to handling evidence in cruelty cases
  4. Recognize the limitations of temperament testing and behavior profiling while appreciating the value of stress reduction and behavior enrichment
Discussions will begin on the start date of the course and will continue for 7 days following the last real time session.

CE HOURS: 8 CE Credits

Member/$122, Non-Member/$184 before April 20th;
Member/$136, Non-Member/$205 after April 20th
VIN CE course. Registration is also open to VSPN members (Technicians).

Required Textbook: Shelter Medicine for Veterinarians and Staff by Miller and Zawistowski
List Price: $79.99
Your Price: $71.99

For More Information on VIN's Upcoming CE Courses, check out

Note: "This course has been submitted (but not yet approved) for 10 hours of continuing education credits in jurisdictions which recognize AAVSB's RACE approval; however participants should be aware that some boards have limitations on the number of hours accepted in certain categories and/or restrictions on certain methods of delivery of continuing education. Call VIN for further information."

(Attendees are encouraged to check with their licensing jurisdiction(s) for information regarding recognition by the board.)

COURSE WITHDRAWAL AND REFUND POLICY: Withdrawal prior to the listed start date of a course entitles the registrant to a complete refund or a credit toward a future VIN CE course, whichever is preferred. Withdrawal within 1 week after the listed start date (i.e. including no more than one real-time session) entitles the registrant to a credit toward any future VIN CE course. (Does not apply to courses with only one real-time session.) After the first real-time session, a registrant may withdraw due to special circumstances and receive prorated credit towards a future VIN course. These requests will be handled on an individual basis. The amount of the prorated credit will be determined based on 65% of the time remaining in the course at the time of withdrawal. It is not possible to withdraw retroactively.

Note: To ensure rapid handling of your request for withdrawal, we recommend that you call the VIN office at 1-800-700-INFO.

Debbie Friedler
Continual Education Division
Veterinary Information Network


800.700.4636  |  |  530.756.4881  |  Fax: 530.756.6035
777 West Covell Blvd, Davis, CA 95616

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