Animal Health Committee

Meeting Notes for Wednesday 4/23/08

Members present:

Dr. Cameron Abbott

Dr. Cynda Crawford

Dr. Nick Kapustin

Dr. Ann Silverness

Dr. Rick Sutliff

The AHC had its first official meeting last Wednesday.  The committee will meet quarterly to review the shelter’s progress and provide suggestions for the improvement of our animal’s health and welfare.  The meeting began with a tour of the facility and then we proceeded to have a discussion group regarding potential changes to the existing facility. The committee will meet quarterly to review the shelter’s progress.  It was agreed that a Summer meeting, when the shelter is at its maximum capacity, would be very beneficial.

Although the committee’s goals will change as problems are resolved and priorities change, the primary problems/challenges noted at this point were;

Lower the incidence of feline upper respiratory tract disease in the shelter

Increase healthy, live releases in our feline population

Lowering the incidence of canine parvovirus

Follow up on reasons why animals are returned to the shelter (volunteers?)

The committee agreed that the poor ventilation in the cat rooms is a major problem, therefore, the cages in stray room (highest incidence of URI) will be turned so that the cats face away from one another (less stress, less cross contamination).  In addition, because the ventilation in the holding ward (highly adoptable altered/vx’d cats) is less than adequate, the feral cats have been moved into this room.  Feral/quarantine cats are not handled and tend to be held for a shorter period therefore they tend to remain healthy while they are here.  The ventilation in the feral/quarantine room is very good and therefore, now that the holding room cats have been moved into this room, they should not become sick as fast.  This highly adoptable population tends to be at the shelter for 8-10 days and housing them in the former feral/quarantine room may improve their overall health.

It was also suggested that footbaths be placed outside of ALL rooms to promote a culture of comprehensive biosecurity at the shelter.

Dr. Crawford will be back soon to swab our dogs (and cats?) for PCR testing to determine the etiology of our URI pathogens.

Vaccination upon intake was discussed.  “Breaks” in vaccination protocol are a major concern to the committee.  These occur after hours and on weekends.  An initial quarantine area for after hours/weekend intakes was suggested.  This will be a major challenge due to the high occupancy of animals at the shelter.  Ideally, it would be desirable to have a very reliable field officer scheduled for after hours so that there is no disruption in the “herd immunity”.  In addition, more stringent policies for the weekend kennel staff may also be necessary.

Finally, it was suggested that more outreach/publicity to educate the public about the level of quality veterinary care that these animals are receiving needs to be made more visible.  It was even suggested that the AHC invite the media to one of our meetings.  In addition, it was also suggested that the JVMS might want to have one of their meetings at AC and C.

Dr. Kimberly Niessen