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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…

Courses in Shelter Medicine

An Association of Shelter Veterinarians (ASV) task force defined the key areas of study for shelter medicine. These topics are essential to the work of the shelter veterinarian and are similar to the framework of content included for Board Certification in Shelter Medicine which is through the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (ABVP)

  • Infectious Disease Pathogenesis and Prevention
  • Quarantine Procedures
  • Diagnosis and Treatment of individual animals
Reproductive Control and Surgical Expertise
  • High-volume/High-quality Spay/Neuter Techniques
  • Prepubertal Sterilization
  • Feral Cat Sterilization
  • Understanding of Developments in Immunocontraception and Chemical Contraception
History and Philosophy of Animal Shelters
  • Understanding of Different Shelter Models
  • Adoption Programs
  • Role of Rescues
  • Resources for Personnel
  • Shelter Management Software
  • Public Relations
  • Transport Programs
Preventative Care
  • Vaccinations: General Principles
  • Principles of Herd and Maternal Immunity
  • Prophylactic Regimes
Animal Behavior
  • General Principles
  • Treatment Plans
  • Behavioral Evaluations
  • Enrichment
Legal and Policy Issues
  • Anti-cruelty Laws
  • National Statutes
  • Veterinary Forensics
  • Animal Welfare
Public Health
  • Rabies and Other Zoonotic Diseases
  • Education and Outreach
  • Animal Hoarding
  • Disaster Planning
Business and Leadership
  • Non profit management
  • Understanding Budgeting
  • Outbreak Investigation and Response
  • Population Management
  • Capacity for Care
  • Statistics to Assess Impacts of Policy
  • Technical Aspects
  • Grief Counseling
  • Compassion Fatigue
  • Ethical, Legal and Policy Aspects
Welfare in the Shelter Environment
  • Role of Quality of Life
  • Welfare Assessments for Shelters and Sanctuaries
Humane Education
  • Community Education about Pet Ownership, Preventative Health Care and Population Control