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Medical SOPs: Lifesaving, Step by Step

Defining standard veterinary procedures can ensure consistency and help you save more lives

  • Emergency entrance at hospital

    SEANPAVONEPHOTO

Does the idea of writing medical standard operating procedures (SOPs) give you palpitations? You are not alone! Many of us get the blues when this project comes up, and tend to procrastinate on developing them. As a result, shelters often scramble to put SOPs into place only at the very time they are most needed—when a major problem has already occurred. By then, numerous lives may be affected, and the shelter’s reputation in the community may even be at stake.

Developing a solid set of written protocols to be used from the moment animals enter a shelter until they leave is integral to maintaining shelter health and wellness. SOPs matter because they help prevent widespread problems, allow resource conservation, and can help shelter staff evaluate what is working and what may not be. They also provide a consistent, documented standard of care that is transparent both internally and to the public.

There are many resources available to help shelters in overall SOP development. This article provides specific information about basic medical SOPs, and is designed to underscore their necessity in every shelter health program.

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