7 Ways to Reduce the Spread of Illness in Animal Shelter or Rescue

Protecting the Animals in Your Shelter’s Care

by Alva Logsdon

Anytime there is a large population (animal shelter, hospital, airplane, concert, etc.), there is a risk that illness or contagious disease will quickly spread exposing the entire population to a potentially life-threatening illness. However, with proper care the risks decrease; know and take low-cost, necessary precautions to care for the animals entrusted to you.

  1. Evaluate upon intake
  2. Vaccinate upon intake
  3. Clean kennels, cages, and crates regularly with a parvocidal disinfectant
  4. Separate animals that show signs of illness or injury from other animals
  5. Implement a policy to release to rescue strays early that are ill or injured if no vet is on staff/duty to care for them
  6. Properly train staff on shelter disease management protocol
  7. Properly train staff to recognize signs of illness

Common Warning Signs Include (this is ONLY a partial list of illness symptoms):

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Lethargic, easily tires
  • Vomiting • Blood in vomit
  • Diarrhea • Bloody diarrhea
  • Tarry diarrhea
  • Bloody urine
  • Frequent urination
  • Not urinating
  • Not defecating
  • Not eating
  • Not drinking
  • Frequent drinking/insatiable thirst
  • Labored breathing
  • Emancipated, losing weight
  • Ear discharge
  • Eye bulging
  • Eye sunken
  • Pale or blue gums
  • Cloudy or crusted eyes
  • Tummy extension
  • Not putting weight on a leg
  • Hair loss
  • Growth protruding
  • Wheezing
  • Open wound
  • Broken limb
  • Seizures
  • Scooting
  • Scratching
  • Scratching

Reducing the Spread of Shelter Illness & Disease with Dr. Ellen Jefferson (Video):

In this 56 minute video, Dr. Ellen Jefferson provides more in depth information for reducing the spread of illness and disease; click here to watch: Shelter Disease Management On A Limited Budget

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