November 6 -12 marks Animal Shelter Appreciation Week. And, as an organization dedicated to making life better for all pets we work closely with many major shelters and humane societies around the world and we appreciate and support them throughout the year.
There are hundreds if not thousands of animal shelters across our nation, with dedicated staff and volunteers working tirelessly to help care for neglected pets. The main reason these organizations exist is to address the issue of pet overpopulation – and it is a huge issue, not only here but throughout the world. So what happens to these animals once they go into a shelter? What happens if they have health problems or get sick?
The field of Veterinary Medicine is evolving very quickly these days. One of the newer areas is termed Shelter Medicine and includes a vast number of services to both shelter and non-shelter animals. It may come as a surprise that many veterinarians exclusively practice Shelter Medicine. These committed vets treat huge numbers of animals each day. Interestingly this field is becoming so big that most Veterinary Schools have a Shelter Medicine Program dedicated to the study and teaching of Shelter Medicine topics. The American Veterinary Medical Society even recognizes Shelter Medicine as a Board Certified Veterinary Specialty.
Shelters and their Veterinary Clinics are funded by donations, adoption fees, and special events like walks or fun runs. They very much rely on the kindness and fundraising of others to continue their amazing work.
And we’ve all seen the horror stories. Dogs and cats left abandoned with terrible health problems only to be rescued and nursed back to health by compassionate shelters. These are thankfully the outliers, however. The average shelter pet is happy and healthy – perfectly fit for a loving new home. Though they do require ‘maintenance’ every now and again. And due to the sheer number of pets shelters deal with, these standard procedures mount up at considerable cost. And this is perhaps one of the most commendable things shelters do day-in day-out. Not only are they looking out for each individual animal, but for wider animal welfare issues too.
Approximately 7.6 million homeless animals enter shelters nationwide each year. A huge number. In an attempt to curb overpopulation, spaying and neutering is performed as standard on each animal, where required. As well as spaying and neutering, shelter clinics provide many other surgical and medical procedures including vaccinations, dentistry, blood work, microchipping plus treatments for sick and injured animals.
This is just another great reason to adopt a pet from a shelter! A new puppy/dog or kitten/cat would may need all these medical care treatments. The combined cost of these treatments could easily stray into the hundreds of dollars. In many cases, an adopted pet will have everything done for them by the shelter!
With treatments and procedures, comes the medical information and records. But what happens to all this medical information when the animal gets adopted out? Companies like our partner Shelter Buddy provide an amazing service whereby they help shelters organize a myriad of pet information including health records, with state-of-the-art management software. In many cases, however, the information stays with the shelter after adoption. The result is hundreds of phone calls each month from pet adopters and some times their veterinarians seeking to retrieve it.
Given the vast quantity of work they already do (fundraising events, educational courses, community support services, not to mention all those health procedures), these phone calls take up a huge amount of shelter staff time.
To help them deal with this and to expedite the adopter’s route to the information, Activ4Pets transfers the adopted pet’s medical information online to making instantly available to their adopters. Adopters can access vaccination records, allergies, medications, x-rays, test results, surgery dates and much more via smartphone, tablet or computer – anytime, anywhere. We provide Activ4Pets membership at a reduced price to adopters and share part of the proceeds with the originating shelter – meaning they gain additional funding for their mission of saving animal lives.
We are tremendously proud of the work we do with our shelter partners but we are always looking for new ways to support them. We implore our members and readers to do the same. The bottom line is – do what you can when can to support your local animal shelters. They pretty much provide everything for the animals in their care. You can help and showing your appreciation by attending one of your local animal shelter’s upcoming events, donating or even volunteering some of your time? There are still millions of vulnerable pets to find loving homes for; let’s all do our part to make that process even quicker!
Meet the Author
Dr. Clayton Jones
Dr. Jones has 25 years of veterinary medical experience as a staff veterinarian and medical director of his own practice. As well as being the Chief Veterinary Medical Officer for Activ4Pets, Dr. Jones is also a member of the American Veterinary Medical Society and President of the US-Cuba Veterinary Cooperation Society.