What Are the Goals of the Shelter Medicine Program?
The Shelter Medicine Program allows you to interact with the content in an asynchronous, online-delivery format, while encouraging you to reflect on your prior experiences in Shelter Medicine. When you complete our interactive courses, you will be ready to practice shelter medicine.
- Understand the critical role played by veterinarians when protecting the health and welfare of sheltered dogs and cats.
- Recognize and respond to the compromised physical health of sheltered animals.
- Recognize and respond to the compromised behavioral health of sheltered animals.
Core Courses – Required
Understand and appreciate the critical role played by veterinarians when protecting the health and welfare of sheltered dogs and cats.
Population management in a companion animal shelter is often described as having the same principles as large animal production systems. However, few shelters prioritize using metrics to proactively manage animal flow or monitor for disease. Instead, many shelters only use data in a reactive manner or in the form of an annual report. This course will teach students to (a) retrieve, (b) assess, and (c) interpret population-level metrics on a regular basis. Students will learn about data collection and retrieval, review basic epidemiological and statistical principles, and develop a critical eye for data quality which will allow students to make data-driven decisions in a timely manner.
Construct, critique, and implement the policies and protocols used to protect and enhance the physical health and well-being of sheltered dogs and cats, including the recognition and response to the threats of physical health.
Note: Can meet the requirement to document ability to write in the sciences in other ways, but this course is recommended once you have an approved Capstone Project proposal to develop
This online course fulfills the“Writing in the Sciences” requirement needed to complete the MS Concentration in Shelter Medicine. It is best taken after your advisor has approved your Capstone Project Proposal so you can begin working on your presentation. In this course you will review the mechanics of strong writing, crafting clear messages, and delivering visually appealing presentation materials for an online audience. With individual coaching from your instructor, you will develop a scientific poster, PowerPoint presentation slides, and educational handouts that you can use when you present your Capstone Project during your final semester of the MS degree, at scientific conferences, or within an animal shelter for educational purposes.
Students design and present to a live online audience a culminating project and e-portfolio that demonstrates their academic achievement and ability to use the knowledge and skills gained while completing the online MS Veterinary Medical Sciences, Concentration in Shelter Medicine.
*Electives that count toward a Certificate in Animal Shelter Leadership
Other Electives in Shelter Medicine (All enrollments are handled through firstname.lastname@example.org along with all courses in Veterinary Forensic Sciences)
Course goals: Shelter medical professionals are often expected to teach and supervise volunteers, staff working with shelter pets and students completing externships or internships in animal shelters. However, few shelter medical professionals have had the opportunity to develop their teaching skills.
Certificate in Veterinary Forensics Sciences
**Electives that count toward a Certificate in Veterinary Forensics Sciences
(All enrollments are handled through email@example.com along with all courses in Shelter Medicine)
Over the last decade, criminal penalties for animal cruelty have dramatically increased, as has the prosecution of such cases. This change has been closely linked to the growing recognition of the relatonship between cruelty to animals and interpersonal violence. Once a subject of common anecdotal knowledge, this connection has been substantiated by a significant body of work in social science.
In recent years, both state and federal laws pertaining to animal cruelty have evolved significantly. Actions that were previously considered non-offenses are now being prosecuted on misdemeanor and felony levels. Because these convictions can carry significant sentences, juries expect to see the same level of crime scene processing and evidence handling that would be applied to crimes against humans.
Students completing this course will gain a better understanding of the fundamental concepts of evidence; burden and standard of proof; judge and jury; types of evidence; witnesses; degrees of certainty; and other relevant aspects of the principles of evidence in a legal investigation.
Forensic scientists, crime scene technicians, and medicolegal death investigators are continually faced with establishing a postmortem interval (i.e., time since death) in medicolegal investigations. Students will learn the proper evidence techniques for the documentation, collection, and preservation of entomological evidence, as well as how to calculate a minimum postmortem interval from entomological evidence.
This course will introduce the student to the application of veterinary medicine to the forensic sciences. Course topics will focus on the interpretations of injury patterns, as well as the cause, manner, and mechanism of death. Upon completion of this course, the student will have basic knowledge of the pathological documentation required for crimes involving animals, including recognition of abuse, crime scene investigation, and interacting with the legal community.
An overview of Forensic Applied Animal Behavior, which is defined as the application of knowledge of animal behavior to the purpose of the law. This includes documenting the behavioral effects of abuse, neglect or inadequate care that may be in violation of laws, regulations, and industry or community standards.
This course will encompass the basic concepts of veterinary forensic toxicology including basic principles of veterinary toxicology, legal aspects of veterinary toxicology, utilization of veterinary diagnostic laboratories in forensic cases, conducting veterinary toxicology field investigations, history-taking, and proper collection, handling and preservation of samples. Species-relevant aspects of veterinary toxicology will be covered.
Animal law is a quickly growing field and is becoming essential to social policy in the United States as well as around the world. This course introduces and surveys important overarching legal themes that occur throughout the unique relationship between humans and animals.
This course will introduce agricultural animal welfare with a focus on the legal aspects associated with abusive care of agricultural animals. This course explores scientific and ethical dialogue on agricultural animal welfare issues. Completing this course will provide an understanding of current U.S. laws governing agricultural animal welfare as well as the ability to minimally evaluate and assess the welfare of an agricultural animal.
Introduces and develops in-depth the field of veterinary forensic pathology, including how to perform and document, through photographs and written reports, a professional necropsy. Introduces and develops in-depth mechanisms and manifestations of death commonly encountered in veterinary forensics (starvation, etc.), using case examples.
Note: (Open to Veterinarians Only)
Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership
Certificate in Public Health with Emphasis in Veterinary Public Health
**Electives that count toward a Certificate in Public Health with Emphasis in Veterinary Public Health
(NOTE: MUST formally enroll in this certificate to take these courses and all enrollments are done through the College of Public Health)
To earn the Public Health certificate, students must also pass an open-book exam based on the 10 Essential Services of Public Health.
This course is a survey of major topic areas of environmental health. It will examine sources, routes, media, and health outcomes associated with biological, chemical, and physical agents in the environment. It will cover how these agents affect disease; water and air quality; food safety; and land resources in community and occupational settings. The course will introduce the students to the economic context and to the current legal framework (U.S. federal) associated with environmental health issues and public health.
This course is an introduction to epidemiology for students majoring in any aspect of the health sciences. This course presents the principles and methods of the epidemiological investigation of both infectious and non-infectious diseases. The purpose of this course is to equip students with the necessary knowledge and skills to explain the place of epidemiology in the general health thinking and to communicate and apply the basic principles of epidemiology.
The purpose of this online course is to introduce graduate and professional students to major zoonotic diseases. We will discuss both the human and animal presentations; epidemiology; means of prevention and control; available diagnostics; available treatments; and associated human and animal regulations for each disease. The diseases presented in class will be chosen based on their significance to public health practitioners.
The purpose of this online course is to introduce students to the basics of disaster preparedness and responding to disasters, and to build a base for further development in responder training. The course provides training and resources for a basic understanding of the Incident Command System (ICS) and National Incident Management System (NIMS).
This is an intermediate-level course, which will introduce the student to the unique aspects of infectious disease and epidemiological methods used in their study, prevention, and control. The student will gain knowledge through lectures, case studies, simulated outbreaks, readings, exercises, and an individual project.
Thesis-Based Degree Requirements
(2-3 credits required last semester)
This course introduces students to the basics of responding to disasters as a veterinary responder and builds a base for further development in responder training. Students receive training on Incident Command Systems (ICS), learn about the role of veterinarians in disaster response through first-hand accounts and case studies, and craft their own disaster response plan and ICS organizational chart.
Develop the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively and humanely manage populations of unowned, free‐roaming, community cats.
This course introduces issues of human and wildlife conflict both in historical context & current conservation. Explore solutions, including innovative & traditional agricultural practices, hunting & tourism as potential means of off-setting the cost of wildlife damage, & policy development at the local, regional, and national or international levels.
This course provides a global assessment of toxicological stressors, including pesticides, environmental contaminants, and other emerging chemical threats, and reviews the impact on wildlife, through an ecohealth perspective. Outlines the physiological and pathological impacts of toxins in wildlife as it relates to the investigative process for wildlife forensics.
Examine the pathology and pathogenesis of infectious and non-infectious diseases, traumatic injury, and poisoning that are a feature of wildlife forensic cases. Recognition of aspects of gross and histopathological pathology and correlate changes with clinical pathology and other data. Understand infectious agents and involvement in the production of pathological lesions.
Carrion Ecology and Evolution includes a range of organisms including molecular, bacterial, fungal, invertebrate, and vertebrate communities. Intra & interspecific interactions related to population biology, community ecology, & processes that manifest into habitats and ecosystems will be addressed. A multidisciplinary view of organisms will provide the basis for understanding decomposition.
This course will serve as an introduction to wildlife trade and corresponding issues, especially those surrounding The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and other legislation. At the successful completion of this course, students will have an understanding of basic wildlife trade issues and concerns, including governance and controls (both nationally and internationally), legislation, and agreements regarding major industries such as timber and fisheries, as well as regulations surrounding plants. The second half of the semester will be dedicated to discussions of CITES, which is perhaps the most well-known treaty (international agreement between governments) to ensure international trade in animals and plants is carried out effectively, with no adverse effects to their survival. The student will have learned the history, internal structure, function, permitting provisions, listing process and Appendices of CITES, along with its successes and shortcomings, and visions for the future.
Students completing this course will have an understanding of the various forms of cybercrime from the perspective of wildlife investigations. The course will cover not only aspects of computer forensics, mobile device technology, email and network forensics, but also the basics of electronic evidence and processing an electronic crime scene. It will also provide a comprehensive analysis of the legal principles that apply to cybercrime and electronic trade in wildlife. Students will have learned the laws and policies applicable to privacy and digital rights and the acts and statutes governing digital technology. They will also have an understanding of how online investigations help in the fight against wildlife crime. Learning objectives will be accomplished through a combination of lecture material, readings, writing assignments, and online active discussions.
The academic arena is placing increasing pressure on graduate students to enter into academic debates as publishing scholars. Therefore, it is especially important that students understand the expectations that shape scholarly writing in their various disciplines. Being able to employ the correct forms, to interpret and synthesize the literature, and to present their research to various audiences will help position graduate students in a competitive job market or academic career.
Welfare and Wellness for Pets and People is an online course designed to improve the lives of those working with animals. This course will help individuals to identify the need to take care of themselves and their colleagues with the same effort that they use to take care of pets.
This six module course will enable students to identify quality of life for pets and people by comparing to recognized professional standards of care, and propose humane and responsible interventions to threats toward welfare and wellness. In addition, students will have the opportunity to practice techniques and activities designed to promote these concepts for self, pets, and local communities. Promoting the recognition and support of effective communication skills is also an important objective of this course.
Population management in a companion animal shelter is often described as having the same principles as large animal production systems. However, few shelters prioritize using metrics to proactively manage animal flow or monitor for disease. Instead, many shelters only use data in a reactive manner or in the form of an annual report.