Getting Shelter Animals Ready for Foster Care

Foster care decreases an animal's time in the shelter, reducing stress and the potential for exposure to disease. The second webinar in the three-part foster care series addresses recommendations for preventive treatments, as well as medical/behavioral assessment and screening before and after placement. Dr. Newbury will review foster care medical and behavioral topics including:

  • Proactively selecting animals for foster care
  • Assessing health and behavior prior to foster placement
  • Screening for infectious disease
  • Creating isolation in foster care
  • Treating infectious disease in foster care

Top Tips from this Webinar

Home Safe Home
When you send out an animal for foster care, ask questions about the environment he'll call home. Foster animals don't need a doggie or kitty penthouse suite — an extra bathroom can work just fine — but these requirements make for a safe, comfortable space:

  • Can be easily disinfected
  • Away from other pets
  • Warm and quiet
  • Kitten-/puppy-proofed
  • Available fresh air and daylight
  • Has useable space to work
  • Indestructible
  • No recent infectious disease (for vulnerable animals)

ID is the Key
Many shelters often don't think about ID-ing animals when sending them out to foster home, but even responsible foster caregivers can lose pets. Foster animals should wear collars and tags when they leave the shelter for their temporary homes, and microchips are a great addition.

Test or Treat?
Prophylactic treatment for internal parasites is safer and more efficient than testing fecal samples to determine which animals are affected. It's difficult to prove the absence of parasites in a certain animal because many types of pathogens are only shed intermittently; a negative test result can be deceiving.

Be Heartworm-Smart
Shelters should be sure to start a heartworm preventative and perform an antigen test before animals move to foster care homes. The preventative won't affect antigen test results, and it can prevent the spread of heartworm in the shelter and prevent infection in an animal, even if microfilaria (heartworm larvae) are already present in the bloodstream.

Shine a Light on the Problem
A Wood's lamp exam, which can confirm the presence of ringworm, should be performed before foster care, and it's worth it to invest in a good lamp. Prevention is much easier than cleanup, and if a foster caregiver knows an animal has ringworm, it's easier to control.

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