Make a Gift Support Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program

The Maddie’s® Shelter Medicine Program is working to develop new tools to help shelters succeed, but we can’t do it alone! It’s no secret that the programs of our Shelter Medicine Program depend on your goodwill. 

Every dollar you share goes towards training new shelter medicine specialists, engaging veterinary students to become tomorrow’s humane leaders, discovering new knowledge to solve old problems, and visiting shelters to help them reach their goals. Your contributions make it possible to provide life-saving care for sheltered animals who could not otherwise be saved.



Emerging Specialty

Shelter Medicine is an emerging specialty field in veterinary medicine. Since 2005, members of the Association of Shelter Veterinarians have been working to develop a comprehensive assessment of Shelter Medicine as a potential specialty, evaluating current training opportunities, developing an analysis of specialist-level knowledge requirements, and nurturing shelter medicine training across the country.

Shortage of Specialists and Trained Practitioners

Only three veterinary schools currently have residency programs in shelter medicine, and four schools offer internships in the field. Maddie’s® Shelter Medicine Program is proud to offer both residency and internship programs, but there is still an unmet need for in-depth training. There is a critical shortage of both specialists in this field and trained practitioners able to provide the programs and services necessary to keep shelter animals healthy and facilitate their live release.

Gaps in Veterinary Education

Most veterinary schools have not yet begun to fully incorporate shelter medicine topics in their curriculum. Of the 28 accredited veterinary schools in the U.S., only a handful offer an overview course in shelter medicine to veterinary students. Some veterinary students can receive academic credit for externships in shelters, but there is currently no formal standard for externship experiences and not all externships are supervised by a shelter veterinarian. Spay/neuter surgery courses are increasingly important as a form of service learning for veterinary students, though they are not typically aimed at preparing veterinarians prepared to excel in high-quality, high-volume surgical programs, as is often expected in shelter medicine.

Shelter Medicine Progress

On April 30, 2012, the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (ABVP) accepted the Association of Shelter Veterinarians’ petition to form a recognized specialty in shelter medicine under their auspices. This is the first and a big step forward in the effort for shelter medicine to be recognized as a full-fledged specialty like oncology and cardiology. Maddie’s® Shelter Medicine Program faculty have been instrumental in promoting recognition by the American Veterinary Medical Association’s ABVP for the important role shelter medicine plays in saving pets’ lives.

While the development of board certification requirements (such as training, experience, and examination) and final approval by ABVP are still underway, our Certificates in Shelter Medicine are available today–and are designed to equip veterinarians to make a lasting impact on the health and welfare of shelter animals.

Together, we share a hope for a tomorrow where every cat and dog can enjoy a loving, comfortable and enriched life they deserve.

Shelter pets need you! Your gift will train a shelter vet for every shelter pet, support lifesaving research, and provide assistance to shelters in need.

Make a Gift by Mail

Please make checks payable to: University of Florida Foundation, with “Shelter Medicine Initiative” in the memo line.

Mail to:
Maddie’s® Shelter Medicine Program
University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine
2015 SW 16th Avenue
Gainesville, FL 32610