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Vets from Koret program Contribute to National Shelter Medicine Guidelines

December 20, 2010

December 20, 2010

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Veterinarians Sandra Newbury and Kate Hurley at the UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program are pleased with the reception of the Standards Of Care In Animal Shelters: Guidelines for Protecting Health and Well-Being of Sheltered Animals released in December by the Association of Shelter Veterinarians.

They should be. The two veterinarians contributed throughout the development of the publication, a compilation of two years of work that included an extensive review of scientific literature by a task group of 14 shelter veterinarians.

Sandra Newbury, DVM, chaired the national task group and edited the publication. She is the National Shelter Medicine Extension Veterinarian of the UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program, a unit of the Center for Companion Animal Health at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. .

“The guiding principle is animals’ needs, which remain the same regardless of the mission of an organization or the challenges involved in meeting those needs.” said Newbury.  “We are thrilled with the glowing reception the document has had from our field.

“Recognizing that there are many ways to meet the basic needs of animals, the recommendations are performance based and not overly prescriptive,” Newbury said. “The guidelines are intended as a positive tool for shelters and communities to review animal care, identify areas that need improvement, allocate resources and implement solutions so welfare is optimized, euthanasia is minimized and suffering is prevented.” Newbury also contributed to the association's Veterinary Medical Care Guidelines for Spay-Neuter Programs, published in 2008.

The document is based on a statement of "Five Freedoms" of animal welfare

•    Freedom from hunger and thirst 
•    Freedom from discomfort 
•    Freedom from pain, injury or disease 
•    Freedom to express normal behavior
•    Freedom from fear and distress

Kate Hurley, DVM, MPVM, director of the Koret Shelter Medicine Program, also contributed to the report and commented about the vision of document. "Let's imagine meeting the Five Freedoms and going beyond, such that animals become safer and healthier every day they are in our care."

Hurley and Newbury have worked extensively with shelters of every size and management type and consulted with shelters from throughout the US on subjects ranging from control of specific outbreaks to shelter health care programs and facility design. Hurley also assisted in developing guidelines for shelter animal vaccination in conjunction with the American Association of Feline Practitioners and the American Animal Hospital Association and co-edited the textbook, Infectious Disease Management in Animal Shelters (Wiley-Blackwell 2009).

Standards Of Care In Animal Shelters makes recommendations in 12 broad areas: management and record keeping, facility design and environment, population management, sanitation, medical health and physical well-being, behavioral health and mental well-being, group housing, animal handling, euthanasia, spay/neuter, transport and public health.

A copy of the guidelines, details about the "Five Freedoms," a press release and more are available at


Lynn Narlesky, Communications, 530-752-5257,

Sandra Newbury, DVM,