Shelter Medicine is a growing field of veterinary medicine dedicated to the care of homeless animals in shelters. With a focus on disease prevention, physical and behavioral wellness, and helping to make the animals in our care adoptable, HSSC’s Shelter Medicine team treats a variety of medical needs. From routine preventative care to comprehensive medical work-ups, surgery, and dentistry, we strive to provide the highest quality medical care possible.
Your donations to our Angels Fund support life saving procedures for the animals in our care. We take in many injured and health compromised animals from over-crowded shelters because of our surgery capabilities, allowing us to save animals who would otherwise have been euthanized. Thank you for your support of these vital procedures which ensure healthy, happy outcomes for animals in need.
An important goal of ours is to provide medical care that minimizes the overall length of stay of our entire animal population. This means preventing illness, working alongside our behavior team, containing infectious disease outbreaks quickly, providing support to foster parents, and working closely with adopters so they are able to take over the care of animals who have manageable conditions.
Although we work hard and our days can be long, it is rewarding to know that the efforts of our team truly make a difference for the animals in our care.
Who We Are
Our shelter medicine team consists of three veterinarians, four registered veterinary technicians (RVTs), eight veterinary assistants, and dozens of dedicated volunteers. Shelter medicine staff work closely with animal care, foster, intake & admissions, behavior, and adoptions staff to provide coordinated care to the animals housed at our two shelter locations and in foster care.
What we do
The shelter medicine team stays busy seven days a week, 365 days a year, caring for our shelter population. They begin each day with “shelter rounds” where they check on every animal housed at the shelter to ensure they have what they need and to monitor any ongoing health concerns. Over the course of the day, they perform physical exams, run diagnostics, provide medical treatments, and follow up on existing medical issues. The DVMs perform surgery and sedated procedures, and support staff perform dentals, x-rays, and assist in surgery.
Shelter Medicine Happy Tails
Moira the sweet little chihuahua came to us needing one of her eyes removed along with some small mammary masses at the time of her spay. It turned out that she was heartworm positive as well. She did great during surgery and is in the middle of treatment for her heartworm. Heartworm is a worm like parasite that is transmitted by mosquitoes and lives within an animal’s bloodstream (most specifically the right side of their heart). Treatment for heartworm consists of several components spread out over a number of months so we make them available and continue the treatment post adopt.
Scout came to us with a broken hip that required a surgical procedure known as a femoral head ostectomy (or FHO) to fix. In this procedure the head of the femur is surgically removed, and fibrous scar tissue forms to stabilize the joint. This is a not uncommon surgery that can help an animal regain comfort and mobility. During the initial recovery period he will receive physical therapy by our staff to help him regain strength and mobility.
This trio of kittens came in with severe conjunctivitis. We started them on treatment and as the swelling and discharge started to resolve it became apparent that their eyeballs were abnormal. Two of the kittens (the two lighter buff colored ones) have a condition called microphthalmia which means that their eyes are smaller than normal and may not be properly developed. In the case of these two kittens their eyes were so small it’s hard to tell if they have eyes at all and are likely blind or have very impaired vision. The third kitten’s eyes were enlarged (buphthalmos) and his corneas had some chronic changes so we did a bilateral enucleation or surgical removal of both his eyes at time of neuter. They recovered well from surgery and were quickly adopted.
Frozen is a cute little scruffernutter that transferred in needing removal or enucleation of one of his eyes. He was a great patient and was quickly adopted.
Fluffy came to us with chronic skin issues. While in some cases skin issues can be secondary to various metabolic disease or parasites like mange, but oftentimes they are due to allergies. Dogs and cats have three main types of allergies affecting the skin. Flea allergy dermatitis is an allergy to saliva of a flea and a single flea can cause a big flare up. Food allergies are another large category that can cause skin issues. Last of all is allergies to something in the environment (pollens, dust mites, etc) and is called atopy or atopic dermatitis.
This cute kitten needed a blood draw today and was very dramatic about his pressure wrap that was put on afterwards.