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Shelter Medicine Program
What is shelter medicine?
Students prepare for spay/neuter clinic

Shelter Medicine is a field of veterinary medicine dedicated to the care and needs of underserved animals. At Tufts, the Shelter Medicine Program works with underserved animals such as community cats, shelter animals and animals belonging to pet owners in need, while teaching students practice-ready skills. A host of area partners work with the school to provide opportunities for students to observe and gain experience working in shelters in Massachusetts. Learn more…

Selectives in Shelter Medicine

Students at The Tufts Shelter Medicine Program at Cummings School can gain hands-on experience outside of the classroom during their pre-clinical years through participation in the Selective Program The Shelter Medicine Program also offers four didactic Selectives courses that can be taken by students with a significant interest in the field.

The Selectives Program also offers a mechanism whereby students with a special interest in shelter medicine can engage in a more comprehensive program.

Selectives that offer hands-on or in-the-field experience:

  • Sunday Clinics for Community Cats: Students participate in a series of learning stations, ultimately culminating in spaying and neutering cats.
  • WHA Outreach Clinic: Students visit underserved Worcester residents to provide basic health checks in collaboration with a program at Becker College.
  • Tufts at Tech Community Veterinary Clinic: Students can observe and participate in patient care.
  • Shelter-Based: Students can spend time in area shelters, cleaning, helping with basic tasks and walking dogs.
  • Shelter Visit: Students visit eight area shelters and compare operations.

Selective Courses in The Shelter Medicine Program

Introduction to Animal Welfare Science

Discussing how animal welfare is studied scientifically, this course combines examples from farm animal welfare, laboratory welfare and shelter animal welfare.

Shelter Medicine

This class includes the basics of Shelter Medicine, such as sanitation and disease prevention, shelter policy and how veterinarian help to provide a safe and healthy shelter environment. It’s taught by shelter vets and includes several field trips to shelters.

Applied Animal Behavior

Taught by the Center for Shelter Dogs’ Associate Director, this class covers the application of animal behavior to various animals and situations such as shelter animals.

Introduction to Veterinary Forensics

Led by Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore and made possible through the generosity of the ASPCA, this course teaches the basics of legal investigations, the veterinarians role in cruelty cases and patterns of injury seen in animal abuse.

Suggested Course of Study

A student who is interested in Shelter Medicine as their area of focus should follow the following course of study:

For a more detailed outline of courses and pathways of classes, please review the DVM Curriculum.