Facility Management, Fleas, Internal Parasites and Deworming, Puppy and Kitten Care, Shelter and Rescue Resources, Vaccines

Tips for Running an Animal Shelter or Rescue

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 parasites 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!

Vaccine Finder Button

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 such as Adams™ Plus Flea & Tick 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.
  • Revolt for dogs or cats is another great flea, tick and heartworm option. Note: Revolt does require a prescription from your veterinarian.

Flea and Tick Finder button

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.

  • We recommend Fenbendazole (Panacur®) as it gets five different parasites and kills over three days to avoid blocking the intestine and creating tummy upset.
  • Nemex 2 is a good dewormer that contains Pyrantel Pamoate but it only covers roundworms and hookworms.
  • Virbantel® and Worm X Plus both contain Pyrantel and Praziquantel to get tapeworms, roundworms and hookworms . *Do not use Praziquantel with pregnant animals.
  • Ivermectin such as that in Tri-Heart Plus is used to prevent heartworm, roundworm and hookworm. *Do not use Ivomectin with Collies, Shelties, cross-Collie breeds or herding or white-footed dogs.
  • If you rescue a Collie, Sheltie, herding or white-footed dog, Revolt for dogs® is a good choice for these breeds.
  • For animals with mange, Goodwinol Ointment is helpful for localized lesions, and antibiotics may be needed for secondary bacterial infections. Insecticidal dips or Vet Basics® Lime Sulfur Dip can be used to get at the mites within the hair follicles.
  • For external parasites including ear mites and ear ticks, Eradimite is useful. It also aids in cat and dog earwax removal.
  • 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. The BuddyID Complete Protection System is a microchip, registration and QR collar tag bundle that many shelters find helpful to include in their take home packs for new owners. If you need help with putting together a puppy pack to send to the new home or need help 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.

Article originally written by Donald Bramlage, DVM, Revival’s Former Director of Veterinary Services. This article has been updated/reviewed by Revival Shelter Specialists.

Written by: Revival's Shelter Specialist Team

Revival's dedicated Shelter Specialists answer product questions and help solve the pet health issues shelters and rescues may be dealing with. Contact a Shelter Specialist to learn more about Revival's Shelter/Rescue Program and its benefits such as discounts, special offers and promotions. Contact a Shelter Specialist at 800.786.4751 (select prompt 3).

If you need help, call us at 800.786.4751.