Module 2: Preventive health care and health surveillance

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We’ve Always Done It This Way Doc…

It’s Dr. Wright’s first day as the new Medical Director at the Gatorland Animal Services municipal shelter. To get off to a good start, she asked the Shelter Manager for the medical protocols to review. The Manager said the staff knew the protocols and to check with them.

Dr. Wright walked over to the intake area where staff process newly admitted dogs and cats before putting them in the housing wards. She asked a staff member about the vaccination and parasite treatment procedures. The staff member said “We vaccinate stray dogs and cats after their 3rd day in the shelter when the stray hold expires and no one comes to claim them. We don’t vaccinate dogs and cats surrendered by owners ‘cause we figure they’ve already been vaccinated. If we see fleas on them, we spray ‘em down with Frontline. “

Dr. Wright then asked what vaccines were used and if the animals received any deworming treatment. The staff replied “ We give the dogs DAPP and the cats FVRCP. We like for the puppies and kittens to be around 4 pounds before we vaccinate them so they won’t have a bad reaction. We give a dewormer if they look sickly or have diarrhea.”

When asked if there is a written protocol to follow for intake processing, the staff member explained “ Not really. This is the way we’ve always done it Doc. Everyone knows what to do. If we get new people, I train ‘em myself.”

With a heavy sigh, Dr. Wright returned to her office wondering where and how to start new healthcare policies based on best practices.

Grumpy cat saying “But we have always done it the way”


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