Research in the Shelter Medicine Program

Past student and faculty research projects have addressed the following topics:

Trap, Neuter, Return
One important study area concerns appropriate management for free-roaming community cats. Students at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University have been involved in projects sampling free-roaming cat populations or assessing the health of free-roaming cats presenting to our clinic. The Shelter Medicine Program also keeps a database of the free-roaming cats presenting to our monthly spay neuter clinics to enable further study of this population.
The Role of Veterinarians in Reporting Animal Cruelty and Abuse
While the importance of animal abuse and potential links between violence to animals and violence towards humans is increasingly recognized many veterinarians are still reluctant to get involved in cruelty cases or may not know whom to contact if they suspect animal abuse or neglect. Melanie Benetato, MS10, analyzed our veterinary curriculum for areas where additional content could be added in this area and created a presentation for third-year veterinary students.
Health, Disease and Behavior in Animal Shelters
Past student projects have examined stress levels of cats in animal shelters as well as the role of hand washing in preventing disease. Shelter Medicine Program has also studied the role of vitamin D in feline upper respiratory infections. Students have worked at the Center for Shelter Dogs at the Animal Rescue League of Boston and have studied the relationship between activity levels and stress in shelter dogs among other projects.
Companion Animal Welfare and Policy
Shelter Medicine Program has supported several projects in the area of companion animal management. Students have worked on the impact of breed control ordinances, the role of visitor attitudes in determining which animals get adopted from an animal shelter, and have studied shelter rabbit, bird and reptile demographics.