Tess Kommedal, DVM
Feline upper respiratory infection (URI) is a disease complex born in large parts from stress and crowding. I would dare say that URI is perhaps the most frustrating illness facing shelter veterinarians, managers and staff in that many cats are chronically infected, vaccines are partially effective at best, and specific treatments are limited.
It is common to use the terms "kennel cough" or"infectious tracheobronchitis" when talking about canine infectious respiratory disease complex (CIRDC), this is in many cases not approproiate. The disease complex is not limited to the trachea,and often presents with signs other than coughing. In ma
Maintenance of the physical and mental well being of animals within the shelter is a very important part of the stated mission for most sheltering organizations, yet surprisingly often stress reduction and enrichment to ensure good behavioral health is considered a luxury rather than part of basic care. An animal's behavioral health is a result of their genetic background, their learned behavior patterns as a result of previous experiences, and their environment.
Shelter statistics may not seem like the most exciting topic to consider, but is in my opinion one of the most important tools you have in your belt when it comes to shelter animal health.
Increased population density leads to animal STRESS, a greater risk of disease introduction, higher contact rate, reduced air quality, exhausted resources, staff stress and commonly compromises in housing and husbandry. Unfortunately, crowding in shelters is not uncommon, either due to insufficient facilities, or a well-intended attempt to decrease euthanasia by housing more animals.