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Program to offer diagnostic services for animal shelters

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Melissa Osgood

Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program at Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine has launched a pilot program to provide diagnostic services for animal shelters.

Animal shelters often struggle to pay for diagnostic testing for outbreaks, and even for individual animals, making it difficult to determine the right course of treatment. Many illnesses may go undiagnosed or untreated, or treatment may be delayed while funds are raised. Maddie’s Shelter Lab, a pilot program, aims to ease the financial burden many of these shelters continually face.

Maddie’s Shelter Lab offers a 50 percent discount on diagnostic services and supplies, as well as free shipping, to nonprofit humane organizations in New York state. Maddie’s Shelter Lab is subsidized by a gift from Maddie’s Fund, a national foundation established by David ’62 and Cheryl Duffield to revolutionize the status and well-being of companion animals. The services are offered in collaboration with the New York State Animal Health Diagnostic Center at the College of Veterinary Medicine.

“This service will allow for assistance in diagnosing outbreaks in animal shelters – from respiratory outbreaks such as canine influenza, to gastrointestinal conditions such as parasites, parvovirus and panleukopenia,” said Dr. Elizabeth Berliner, the Janet L. Swanson Director of Shelter Medicine at Cornell. “In some cases, immune testing of exposed but asymptomatic animals will enable shelters to better manage outbreaks and reduce quarantine periods.

“Diagnostic testing can also serve life-saving efforts for individual homeless pets, particularly seniors or those with chronic conditions,” Berliner said.

Although the pilot program is limited to humane organizations in New York, it may be expanded to other states in the future. For more information visit the Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program at Cornell website.

Claudia Wheatley is senior public affairs officer at the College of Veterinary Medicine.


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