Maddie's® Shelter Medicine Program

Saving lives through science, leadership, and service.

Courses in Shelter Medicine

Companion Animal Welfare Issues (VTMED 6734)

Spring. 1 credit. Letter grades only.

Minimum enrollment 3; maximum 50.

E. Berliner, L. DeTar.

Companion animal welfare issues have become a major concern for many American communities. Precipitated by the changing status of companion animals, communities are considering a broad range of complex, animal-related issues. These include companion animal homelessness, the role of humane euthanasia, accessible veterinary care the breeding and production of pets, animal fighting, re-evaluation of practices such as cat declawing and dog ear-cropping, management of community cats, international animal welfare, and the role of the veterinarian in each of these areas. This course will address these and other issues while providing a sense of history of humane movements and animal law and policy, and explore how we define adequate welfare for companion animal species. The objective of the course is to provide information for veterinary students enabling them to assume leadership with regards to these issues in their future communities. 

Introduction to Shelter Medicine (VTMED 6425)

Spring. 0.5 credit. Letter grades only.

Prerequisite: VTMED 5400. Highly recommended prerequisite: VTMED 6734. Enrollment limited to: third- and fourth-year veterinary students. This is the second course in a three-course sequence.

E. Berliner, L. DeTar.

The course will cover 8 hours of lecture on very basic shelter medicine principles, to include the history of sheltering and humane organizations, issues with pet overpopulation and free roaming companion animals, animal cruelty, an overview of preventive medicine and population health in shelters, sanitation and disinfection, and population management.  

Advanced Shelter Medicine (VTMED 6434)

Spring. 1 credit. Letter grades only.

Highly recommended prerequisite: VTMED 6425. Enrollment is limited to: fourth-year veterinary students. 

L. DeTar, E. Berliner.

Advanced Shelter Medicine covers more advanced topics in shelter medicine practice: management of common infectious diseases, facilities and housing, quality of life and humane euthanasia, behavioral programs, high quality high volume spay neuter, veterinary forensics and pathology, shelter neonates, community cats, safety net programs, and regulatory matters affecting shelters and shelter practice.

Clinical Rotation in Shelter Medicine: Principles and Practice (VTMED 6623)

Fall, spring. 2 credits. Letter grades only.

Enrollment limited to: third- and fourth-year veterinary students who have completed Foundation Course V.  

E. Berliner, L. DeTar, E. Henry.

Shelter medicine is a relatively new discipline within the practice of veterinary medicine and requires the application of herd health principles within a small animal setting. This clinical rotation will expose students to the principles and practice of veterinary medicine in a shelter setting. While much time will be spent providing direct veterinary medical care to individual shelter animals, there will be a directed focus on introducing students to population-level principles. Topics include but are not limited to infectious disease diagnosis, treatment, and management; shelter wellness protocols; high-quality, high-volume spay-neuter; shelter data management; behavioral assessments in shelters, animal welfare, and population and capacity planning. Other aspects will be covered depending on shelter activities and needs at the time. The daily schedule will include clinical work, daily shelter rounds, and daily topic rounds. Students will also be expected to complete several on-line webinars, as well as homework assignments to round out their learning. Course may be repeated for credit.