Maddie's Shelter Medicine Program
The Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine (PVM) has established the Maddie’s® Shelter Medicine Program through a generous gift by the Maddie’s Fund. Our shelter medicine program focuses on three main areas: education and training, research, and the dissemination of information on shelter medicine. Our partners in this program are our collaborating shelters — the Humane Society of Indianapolis and PAWS Chicago
The mission of the Purdue Maddie's® Shelter Medicine Program, in partnership with Maddie’s Fund, is to:
- Work towards ending pet homelessness in the United States by investigating its causes on a community and individual owner basis and developing cost-effective methods of population control using science-based, epidemiologically sound research methods.
- Improve the quality of life of pets living in shelters through humane research and application of evidence-based methods of veterinary health care, behavior assessment and modification, and preventive medicine.
- Educate and train veterinary professionals and leaders of the future in shelter medicine, animal behavior, population health, and companion animal welfare.
- Foster a better understanding of the human-animal bond among pet owners, community leaders, and the general public, and develop programs that strengthen this bond.
Our vision is to become global leaders in addressing societal issues related to animal welfare through innovative discovery, education and communication.
Education and Training
This component of our program includes annual fellowships for veterinarians (the Maddie’s® Post-DVM Fellows in Shelter Medicine) where our fellowship trainees work for one year with the team of shelter veterinarians in state-of-the-art facilities at PAWS Chicago. Fellows also undertake a practical shelter medicine study with Dr. Litster and have the opportunity to participate in a major shelter assessment with the team from the University of Florida Maddie's Shelter Medicine Program. DVM students and Veterinary Technology students are encouraged to become involved in the education and training components of our program by including shelter medicine externships or off-campus blocks as part of their degree.
Shelter Medicine Research
Our research explores the areas of preventative medicine and infectious disease management in shelters, and investigates the causes of pet homelessness, so that we can develop effective strategies to address animal abandonment and increase adoption rates. Research is performed mainly by graduate students (Maddie’s PhD students in shelter-based population medicine), veterinarians in our training program (Maddie’s Post-DVM Fellows in shelter medicine) and students who become involved during our annual Maddie’s Summer Research Experience. In keeping with our philosophy that shelter animals are our partners and therefore treated as our pets, our studies are population-based and non-invasive. The underlying philosophy behind our work is to advance Maddie’s Fund mission to “revolutionize the status and well-being of companion animals”.
The Dissemination of Information on Shelter Medicine
The information generated by our research program is presented at national, regional, and local meetings for veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and all those interested in shelter medicine and the welfare of shelter animals. There is a one-day Shelter Medicine Track at the Purdue Fall Conference held in late September each year. The centerpiece of our program at the Purdue College of Veterinary Medicine is an annual 15-lecture course in Shelter Animal Medicine for DVM and Vet Tech students (please see the Opportunities for Students page for further details).
Humane Society of Indianapolis