Module 2: Preventive health care and health surveillance
Start at the Beginning…
Dr. Stephanie Janeczko, the ASPCA’s Senior Director of Shelter Medical Programs, was recently interviewed about the most important thing shelters can do for the animals in their care.
“Hands down I would stress that shelters should always keep a focus on preventive medicine. It is certainly more efficient and kinder to the animals if we can prevent disease rather than have to manage it after the fact! This starts from the moment an organization comes into contact with an animal, and so it’s critical to have solid processes in place to ensure that each animal receives a physical examination and core vaccinations at the time of intake.”
Preventing disease sounds right, but what does Dr. Janeczko mean by it “starts from the moment an organization comes into contact with an animal?” Who does the exams? What kind of vaccines should be given? What if the shelter does not have a veterinarian on site every day?
Delivery of proper preventive healthcare starting at intake is the first critical step for protection of the health of each animal and the shelter population overall. From the minute a dog or cat sets paw inside a shelter, the clock is ticking on decisions, procedures, and practices that can spell health or illness for that animal.
Review this document on best practices for preventive health care in shelters.