What are some tips for working in an animal shelter? Managing new arrivals in an animal rescue or shelter is about getting as much prevention as possible for the money spent! We must assume they have had no vaccine; so we need to get their immunity up quickly. Our canine friends will need to be vaccinated for Parvo, Bordetella (Kennel Cough) and Distemper and our felines will need protection against Panleukopenia, Herpes and Calici.
We assume our new arrivals have internal and external parasites. Deworm for all internal and external parasites including ear mites. In two weeks we want to booster and re-visit the parasite prevention. Hopefully by then, they are at a good weight and ready to be placed in a new home.
Vaccination of Shelter Dogs and Cats
Day one is about getting immunity up as quickly as possible. In fact, in a disease outbreak, it is best to vaccinate before the addition breathes the air the rest of the cats and dogs breathe. Getting immunity up quickly is that important!
- Cats are tested immediately for FeLV (Feline Leukemia Virus) and FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) on arrival.
- Adult dogs over four months of age should be tested for Heartworm on arrival and vaccinated with a 5-way vaccine such as DAPPv. This vaccine prevents Canine Distemper, Adenovirus Type 1, Adenovirus Type 2, Parainfluenza and Parvovirus.
Flea Treatment in Animal Shelters
Fleas are our number one priority! We don’t want to introduce them into our holding area and have to get them back out!
- Spray or give the dogs and cats a bath with a shampoo that will kill fleas, ticks and lice on contact. Doing this will quickly kill adult fleas and ticks plus break the flea life cycle. Caution: Do not use alcohol base products on puppies or kittens under eight weeks of age. Also do not use dog flea treatments on cats.
- Topical flea treatment is needed if fleas are present and Advantage Multi® is most commonly used. Don’t hesitate to ask us about your options for fleas.
Intestinal Parasite Control in an Animal Shelter or Rescue
Stray cats and dogs can also be carrying a large volume of roundworms and we want to remove them without blocking intestine which can happen when killing large numbers at once. We prefer to kill them over three or four days so they can be passed without colic issues.
- I recommend Fenbendazole (Panacur®) as it gets five different parasites and kills over three days to avoid blocking the intestine and creating tummy upset. Veterinarians commonly use 25 mg per pound for dogs or cats and treat for three days in a row minimum.*
- Pyrantel is a good dewormer but it only covers roundworms and hookworms. This is a good follow-up dewormer as it is one day only and inexpensive.
- If using Pyrantel alone, stack Praziquantel to get tapeworms. Do not use Praziquantel with pregnant animals.
- After three days, veterinarians have used Topical 0.5% Ivomec at 1 ml per 20 lb. *Do not use Ivomec with Collies, Shelties, cross-Collie breeds or herding or white-footed dogs.
- Ivomec will remove any external parasites including ear mites, mange, and lice plus remove any roundworms that may be lingering. Repeat this treatment in one week to get mite eggs that will hatch.
- If you rescue a Collie, Sheltie, herding or white-footed dog, Revolution® is a good choice for these breeds. Repeat in 14 days if you know you have mites.
- All cat and dog additions should have their ears cleaned on arrival. Vet Basics® General Ear Cleanser and Eradimite (not recommended for nursing puppies or kittens) is a good choice for topical treatment. Clean daily for three days especially if there is a lot of wax and debris in the ears as we want them cleared of issues when sent to their next home!
It’s all about getting them to their new home as soon as possible where they will be happy and hugged. Parasite free and virus free at the next veterinarian is important for PR and general health. That is your goal.
You also want to make their trip home as easy as possible. Cardboard Pet Carriers are a great way for the new family to easily transport a cat, kitten, small dog or puppy to their home. If you need help with putting together a puppy pack to send to the new home or finding the best and easiest to use microchips to make sure they don’t get lost again let us know.
Learn more about the Revival Shelter/Rescue Discount Program.
If you need help with running an animal shelter or rescue or would like to speak with a Revival Shelter Specialist, call us at 800.786.4751.
Updated by Revival Shelter Specialists.
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Written by: Donald Bramlage, DVM
Donald Bramlage, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, practiced veterinary medicine for 30+ years and is known for his work in managing parvovirus. He received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Kansas State University in 1985. He served as Revival’s Director of Veterinary Services from 2011 until his retirement in 2019.