Today, I did my good deed for the Holiday Season. I went out to the Dubuque Humane Society to perform physical exams on adoptable animals and spent some time consulting with the director about their facility. The shelter is really one of the best I've been to. In fact, at one point, I believe they were nationally ranked as one of the best built in the country. This wasn't so 15 years ago, but since then, the renovations have been amazing.

I worked mostly with the cat population. Their numbers are way up and the shelter is having a hard time housing this explosion of strays. My aim was to be able to recognize potential contagious diseases and provide a sound treatment regimen that would eradicate the problem quickly and as cheaply as possible. Suprisingly, many of these cats were in pretty good condition. A couple had mild upper respiratory infections, a few had ear infections or ear mites, and only one had visible tapeworms. I groomed one cat with severe matting around her neck.

I talked to the director about what treatments work best for common shelter conditions such as skin disease, ear infections, and upper respiratory infections. I made some general shelter recommendations and then asked how often do local vets come up to do some of the things I did today. She said never. It's sad that they don't have more local veterinary support other than low-cost spays and neuters. I believe it's because veterinarians just like most members of the public don't want to hear about or see shelter operations because it depressees them. Plus, shelter medicine is a 2-week rotation in vet school, so it's hard for students to realize the magnitude of the problem and the medicine that is practiced in this type of environment.

The director and I then focused on "no-kill shelters", and how the public is so misled about how these shelters operate. These shelters accept only very healthy animals, those in which the staff believe are most adoptable, and often turn down older animals they would have a hard time adopting out. So, what happens to dogs and cats that don't get adopted there? They are either shipped to kill shelters to be euthanized or are kept in cages all of the time. Some of these animals will literally go insane and constantly pace around their enclosures without much sleep.

I told the director that I envied her for the job she has done with the shelter, and told her that I wouldn't have it in me to do what she does for a living. In all, I had a really good experience, and I believe some good will come out of what was accomplished today. Go me!


Take care,
Dr. C

Wonderful you! What an unselfish way to take time out from your vacation to make a difference in the lives of these animals. You are the best, Dr. C. :)
Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]