Michigan veterinarian helps animals, future shelter vets thanks to online shelter medicine program

Jeff FortnaHow does a Master’s degree in shelter medicine help graduates help animals? Ask Dr. Jeff Fortna, who recently earned his Master’s from UF in the Maddie’s® Online Shelter Medicine Program.

Dr. Fortna is a 2000 graduate of Michigan State University and currently the principal veterinarian at Oakland County Animal Control and Pet Adoption Center in Auburn Hills, Mich.

“As a municipal shelter veterinarian, I was able to immediately apply the information presented in this program to real-life scenarios as they unfolded before me,” he said. “The program provided me a wonderful foundation for practicing quality shelter medicine, and it has instilled within me a professional confidence in the art and science of shelter practice.”

The course’s shelter medicine, veterinary forensics, and public health courses have “significantly augmented my day-to-day practice of population health and well being, disease outbreak management, animal behavioral health, and animal cruelty investigations,” he said. “The material presented was incredibly practical, applicable, and exceedingly useful for the practicing shelter veterinarian.”

He also cited the relationships he formed with other veterinarians during the course as providing a network he can call on for mutual support.

Dr. Fortna plans on paying his education forward. “With the completion of this program, I hope to teach clinical shelter medicine at the professional level and prepare for board certification in this specialty. With a background in education, this Master’s degree in shelter medicine, and my experience in shelter practice, I hope to pass along my knowledge and expertise to the next generation of veterinarians in a manner unavailable to me at the time of my professional training.”

Dr. Fortna’ s capstone presentation can be viewed here: Transitioning to Best Practices in a Small Suburban Municipal Animal Shelter in 2015