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The 101 Department: Keeping Animals in Transfer Programs Healthy


To ensure animals arrive safely, a human should probably drive. WALIK/ISTOCKPHOTO.COM

Factors that affect the health of animals in shelters also affect the health of animals in transport programs. Infectious diseases and stress are the primary issues. The agents of greatest concern are canine distemper, parvovirus, Bordetella bronchiseptica (kennel cough) and parainfluenza virus (another possible cause of kennel cough), feline panleukopenia, Microsporum canis (ringworm), and calicivirus and herpesvirus (feline upper respiratory tract agents). Parasitic diseases such as giardia or coccidia may become problems if cleaning and disinfecting programs in the cooperating shelters are not optimal. Puppies and kittens are more vulnerable to the effects of stress and more susceptible to disease. Therefore, attention to their health and comfort is of highest priority.

In general, all animals should be microchipped and clearly identified. Medical records containing dates of vaccination, treatments, and any health problems should accompany each animal. Shelters in the midst of an outbreak of infectious disease should postpone transferring animals until the outbreak has run its course. If animals are sent during outbreaks, they should come from foster homes with unexposed animals. Sending and receiving shelters should adhere to international and state regulations regarding animal shipment. Health certificates and proof of rabies vaccination are often required.

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