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Infectious disease control in animal shelters
Robertson, Jyothi V. Koret Shelter Medicine Program, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, California.
- An effective population management plan decreases disease incidence
- Intake procedures act as the first line of defense
- Appropriate facility design reduces stress and improves health
- Additional Reading
Since the first animal shelter opened in 1866 in New York City, over 5000 organizations have been established across the United States to protect and promote the welfare of homeless animals. Each year, millions of animals find refuge in shelters prior to entering permanent homes, yet many animals still end their lives in these facilities as a result of causes that could be prevented. Veterinarians in the emerging specialty of shelter medicine are working to understand the precise needs of companion animals in the shelter environment. Because shelters are often limited in their resources, housing units may contain multiple animals, stress levels may be high, and there is often little positive human interaction; the result is an environment that harbors disease. Although research and consultations conducted over the past decade have led to marked improvements in the control of infectious disease in shelters, ongoing progress must be made in disseminating this knowledge to local shelters.
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