Science & Technology

UGA College of Veterinary Medicine to host annual shelter medicine seminar

Athens, Ga. – The fifth annual Shelter Medicine Seminar will be held Jan. 27 at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine. The all-day event is focused on the best management and medicine practices for local and regional animal shelters.

The event is hosted by the Student Chapter of the Association of Shelter Veterinarians. Veterinary professionals and others who work in animal control facilities and humane societies or with animal rescue groups in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina are encouraged to attend.

“The many thank-you emails from attendees, and the fact that our number of attendees has doubled, are evidence of how important this shelter medicine conference is to the community,” said third-year veterinary medicine student Heather Tucker, who is president of the UGA Shelter Medicine Club. “As the only shelter medicine conference in Georgia, we strive to provide the most up-to-date information at no cost to attendees. Our goal is to help improve shelter animal care in Georgia and the surrounding area.”

This year’s keynote speaker is Emily Weiss, a certified applied animal behaviorist and senior director of research and development for the ASPCA, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Weiss has focused her career on improving the welfare of animals in zoos and shelters. She has developed several assessment tools now used by shelters throughout the U.S., including Meet Your MatchTM, Canine-alityTM, Puppy-alityTM, and Feline-alityTM, the first research-based adoption program for shelter cats. Feline-alityTM has proven to be an effective tool to decrease euthanasia, increase adoptions and decrease returns of cats in shelters.

Weiss also works on developing enrichment and behavior modification programs for animals in shelters as well as a focus on companion horses. She also is a section editor of the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science.

Scheduled presenters for the 2013 conference include the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Dr. Janet Martin, a staff veterinarian and developer of the new shelter medicine program; Dr. Andy Moorhead, an assistant research scientist who studies potential resistance to drugs used to prevent canine heartworms; and Dr. Sonja Zabel, an assistant professor of veterinary dermatology. Other presenters are Bill Wise, director of Walton County Animal Control, and Dr. Gerryll G. Hall, lead veterinarian of Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health/Merck’s VetReach Program and a private practitioner in Atlanta.

Sponsors for the UGA Shelter Medicine Seminar include Nestlé Purina, SCAVMA and the Association of Shelter Veterinarians.

“We are constantly awed by the dedication of all the people who work in the trenches on a daily basis to improve the lives of the shelter animals in their care. Their efforts inspire us to be the resource they can count on for information and help,” Martin said.

While there is no registration fee, all attendees must register by Jan. 13. To register, see For more information, contact Tucker at

UGA College of Veterinary Medicine
The UGA College of Veterinary Medicine, founded in 1946, is dedicated to training future veterinarians, conducting research related to animal and human diseases and providing veterinary services for animals and their owners. Research efforts are aimed at enhancing the quality of life for animals and people, improving the productivity of poultry and livestock and preserving a healthy interface between wildlife and people in the environment they share. The college enrolls 102 students each fall out of more than 800 who apply. For more information, see

The current UGA College of Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital, built in 1979, serves more than 18,000 patients per year in one of the smallest teaching hospitals in the U.S. The college is currently working to raise $25 million toward building a new veterinary medical learning center, which will include a new teaching hospital and classrooms and laboratories that will allow for the education of more veterinarians. For more information, see