University of Florida offers shelter medicine program online.

Nov 16, 2012, 15:41 ET from University of Florida Maddie’s® Shelter Medicine Program

GAINESVILLE, Fla., Nov. 16, 2012 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- Gainesville, Fla., November 16, 2012 – The University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine has expanded its shelter medicine program to allow veterinarians and veterinary students around the world to earn the Maddie's® Online Graduate Certificate in Shelter Medicine.


This online program imparts the knowledge and skills veterinarians need to care for large numbers of dogs and cats. It teaches how to manage the infectious diseases not usually seen in well-cared for pets; how to prevent behavioral problems that could keep homeless animals from being adopted; and how to improve animal welfare by conducting forensic medical examinations and performing high-volume, high-quality spay and neuter surgeries.

 "This graduate certificate allows veterinarians to enhance their careers with affordable and convenient training," said Terry G. Spencer, D.V.M., MEd., clinical assistant professor and director of distance education for the program. "This credential documents the student's extra course work devoted to becoming a practice-ready shelter veterinarian. In some cases, the credits earned can be applied toward continuing education units or an advanced degree."

Until recently, few veterinary schools offered training in shelter medicine, but UF's College of Veterinary Medicine is an early pioneer in the field, offering the Maddie's® Shelter Medicine Certificate program to its on-campus D.V.M. students. The certificate's first recipients graduated in 2010. The school began offering the program's three core courses online in 2012.

 "The online courses are taught by the same faulty who teach the on-campus courses. We are highly experienced in disease outbreak interventions, and emergency sheltering assistance," said Spencer. "We have consulted for shelters across the US and internationally, and our ongoing research has resulted in new and innovative ways to manage existing and emerging threats to the health and welfare of sheltered animals."

The Maddie's® Online Graduate Certificate in Shelter Medicine includes three required graduate courses with the following learning outcomes:

  • Integrating Veterinary Medicine with Shelter Systems (3 credits) – Recognize infectious diseases, behavioral problems, animal cruelty or neglect. Learn about animal homelessness issues, as well as sanitation, preventive health care, disease outbreak management, behavioral assessments, stress control, population management, cruelty investigations, and high-quality/high-volume sterilization,
  • Shelter Animal Behavior and Welfare (3 credits) – Learn to lead daily behavioral rounds, design protocols and make population decisions. Diagnose behavior problems, create an appropriate treatment plan, and prescribe/monitor appropriate medications for jumpy or mouthy dogs, separation anxiety, fearfulness, inappropriate elimination, kennel stress, and furniture scratching,
  • Shelter Animal Physical Health (3 credits) – Perform population analyses to determine animal care capacity and design population management strategies. Assess preventive healthcare policies and create protocols for vaccination, parasite treatment/prevention, physical examination, housing selection, daily health monitoring. Learn to manage infectious diseases.

For more information about this program or to register for online courses, please visit:



Media Contact:

Terry Spencer, D.V.M., M.Ed. University of Florida Maddie's® Shelter Medicine Program, (352) 578-3055,

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SOURCE University of Florida Maddie’s® Shelter Medicine Program