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Shelter Medicine: A Matter of Measurement

Defining capacity and detecting crowding

Defining capacity and detecting crowding

There’s no getting around it: Measurement and monitoring are not the most riveting subjects. I’m no math whiz, and I’m more comfortable describing how to get parvovirus out of a pile of laundry than how to get statistics out of a shelter software system. But Dr. Miller and I have been discussing the issue of overcrowding for several columns now, and this time I promised to get into the nitty-gritty.

The power that a well-designed measurement system gives us—to set meaningful goals, protect animal health, prevent problems before they occur, and ultimately to save more lives—makes this a subject we cannot ignore. To this end, I’ve asked a colleague, Dr. Sandra Newbury, to co-author this column, since she and I have spent countless hours working on these questions together over the last few years.

It once seemed like an odd coincidence that Dr. Newbury and I both started our veterinary careers with a strong interest in holistic health, but eventually chose shelter medicine as our passion and (hopefully) lifelong focus. However, as we were discussing this column, we realized it’s not a coincidence at all: As we envision it, shelter medicine is the ultimate holistic health project.

 Read the full article.


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