Shelter Medicine: A Blend of Science and Art
What every shelter should know about shelter medicine
A colleague recently provided me with an article describing a shelter parvo outbreak that led to the euthanasia of several cats and dogs and the closure of the shelter’s adoption program for several days. Those quoted in the piece included a veterinarian who criticized the decision and suggested that the shelter could have exercised better options.
The article then described how another shelter in the same community had dealt with a disease outbreak very differently, with no euthanasia and only a short cessation of adoptions.
A close read, however, revealed that the first shelter, an overcrowded open-admission facility, had minimal resources and had already filled its small isolation ward. Furthermore, private veterinarians had advised the shelter to euthanize to prevent the spread of disease into the community.
The second shelter, on the other hand, had sufficient resources to send some of the exposed animals to foster care and to isolate and treat the remaining ones.
It would seem that the revelation of the differing circumstances would mitigate the damage to the reputation of the overburdened shelter, but in such situations, this is seldom the case. Not everyone reads the news with attention to detail and nuance. Too often, the shelter stands condemned.