Maddie’s® Online Certificate Alumnus Improves Outcomes for Shelter Cats in Michigan

Dr. Laurie Wright applied her online training in shelter medicine to improve care, decrease illness, and increase adoptions in a municipal animal shelter with an annual intake of 4,000 cats.

Playful CatBefore she enrolled in the Maddie’s® Online Graduate Certificate in Shelter Medicine, Dr. Laurie Wright combed the internet for information she could apply to improve the lives of the shelter animals in her care. She used the information she found on the UC-Davis Koret Shelter Medicine and the University of Florida  Maddie’s® Shelter Medicine Program websites to try and reduce the incidence of feline upper respiratory disease that was an ongoing problem where she worked at Kent County Animal Shelter. And like any good scientist, she kept track of the data and monitored the results

With a few simple changes, she was able to decrease the average length-of-stay for cats in her care by 18 days, triple the number of cat adoptions, and significantly decrease incidence of feline upper respiratory disease! She achieved these profound results with just these initial efforts:

  • Daily spot-cleaning of cat cages rather than deep-cleaning every cage.
  • Moving cats into cages at eye-level or higher instead of on bottom rows.
  • Adding elevated cat beds to each cage to separate resting spaces, food bowls, and litterboxes.
  • Separating adult cats from kittens, and adding group housing for the juveniles.
  • Changing to pelleted, dust-free litter. 

Then she enrolled in the  Maddie’s® Online Graduate Certificate in Shelter Medicine so she could share ideas with other shelter veterinarians who were also trying to improve the health and welfare of shelter pets.

“It was so rewarding to take the UF online courses last year and see that I was on the right track.  With all that I learned from the courses, I now have an even greater set of resources!   We have gone on to add portals to our adoptable cat kennels and started fast-tracking kittens and young cats so we continue to move forward.” – Dr. Laurie Wright

Dr. Sophia Yin’s “Behavior Bytes” newsletter recently featured Dr. Wright’s efforts to improve the health and welfare of shelter cats.   And Dr. Wright presented the results of her efforts at the 2013 ACVB/AVSAB Veterinary Behavior Symposium held in Chicago, IL.  (Click here to view or download Dr. Wright’s presentation abstract)

Dr. Laurie Wright
Dr. Laurie Wright

Dr. Wright is among the first thirty-one students who earned the Maddie’s Online Graduate Certificate in Shelter Medicine in December of 2013. We’re so proud of each and every certificate recipient, and invite you to learn more about a few of them on our alumni page.

As part of the certificate, Dr. Wright and her fellow students learned directly from leading experts in the field of shelter medicine through a program of three online courses. The online certificate contains an extensive curriculum meant to develop the skills needed to address the health and welfare issues unique to animal shelters. The Online Graduate Certificate in Shelter Medicine is an opportunity for students and current veterinary professionals to participate in graduate-level coursework while enjoying unmatched convenience.

Learn more about the  Maddie’s® Online Graduate Certificate in Shelter Medicine, including how to apply.