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Disease Control in Animal Shelters

Steneroden KK, Hill AE, Salman MD: A needs-assessment and demographic survey of infection-control and disease awareness in western US animal shelters, Prev Vet Med 98:52, 2011. 

Infection control strategies and disease awareness were evaluated in shelters in six western states using detailed survey questions. Responses from 78 of 157 shelters were received. Statistical descriptive evaluation of the results indicated that the top 3 diseases of concern were feline respiratory disease, canine parvovirus, and ringworm. In 45% of shelters responding many or most animals arrive with an infectious disease. Written protocols for preventive practices were present at 88% of shelters responding, cleaning and disinfection protocols in 75%, outbreak response/control protocols in 36%, and infection control manuals in 15%. Veterinarians are in charge of infection control in 6% of the shelters. About 45% vaccinate dogs and cats for rabies while at the shelter. Training is provided for 30-35% of staff and volunteers at hiring. Institutionalized and ongoing worker training as well as development of infection control protocols were identified by the investigators as areas of focus needing attention in order to improve the ability to prevent and respond to infectious diseases. [MK]

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