Rescue from Brookfield!

HumphreyAnimals rescued from hoarding situations often suffer from a variety of maladies, ranging from mild infection to severe, debilitating disease. Hoarded animals can also have behavior problems, some severe enough to prevent them from being adoptable. However often beneath the fleas and mats is an animal with a heart of gold. Despite abominable living conditions, neglect and cruelty, their spirit cannot be broken, and when placed in a new home these animals flourish as loving companions. But what to do when the rescued animals require extensive medical care, the cost of which far outstrip the resources of your shelter? With a bit of fundraising, public campaigning, and help from other local shelters many animals can find their forever homes despite being “special needs”.

On March 10th, 2014, the SPCA of Tompkins County received a transfer of five dogs from Wanderer’s Rest Humane Association ( in Canastota, NY. The five dogs: Bean, Levi, Cheech, Chooch and Humphrey, were driven to the SPCA to get the extensive medical care they required. After physical examination, routine blood work, fecal analysis and urinalysis some dogs were discovered to have serious underlying problems.

Humphrey (above) was a known resource guarder. We soon discovered that Humphrey also had a collapsing trachea and medial luxating patellas, two conditions common in small breed dogs.  Advanced testing also revealed he had a vascular abnormality known as a portosystemic shunt (PSS). A blood vessel bypassing his liver allows toxins to circulate in his bloodstream. Luckily, Humphrey is scheduled to get surgery to ligate the vessel through the help of some generous donors!

Levi arrived blind, with numerous scars from old burns and severe dental disease. Levi was diagnosed with inactive chorioretinitis by the wonderful staff at Cornell University’s ophthalmology service.  He tested negative for Brucella (one potential cause of his blindness), given oral dental care and neutered.

Cheech and Chooch both had severe dental disease and received treatment with extractions. With minty fresh breath Chooch went to his new home with an owner who loves him to bits. Cheech quickly followed suit.

Thank you all who made this transfer possible to save these wonderful dogs!


A shelter medicine crash course for Canadian veterinary students By: Jolene Giacinti (OVC 2016) and Randy Do (OVC 2015)

The clinicians with the Maddie’s Shelter Medicine program at Cornell University were kind enough to invite a group of about twenty Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) students for a weekend visit back at the beginning of January. After making the drive down, we were immersed in a fast paced crash course of everything shelter medicine related and what a fantastic and inspirational experience it turned out to be.


The dedication of the shelter medicine team was clear throughout, from the weekend commitment to the passion with which they each lectured. The spectrum of topics ranged from the epidemiology that happens behind the scenes in shelters to behavioral evaluations and modifications as well as the history of shelter medicine and the evolving public perception of shelter animals. A highlight from the weekend was learning about the ASV guidelines, which discuss in great detail the current best practices for animal shelters. This was an interactive presentation that challenged us to problem solve and highlighted the complexity of decision making in the shelter medicine field. Another important concept that was emphasized was that shelter medicine encompasses not only the treatment of individual animals but also requires consideration of the entire population in a herd health framework.  


Overall this was a fabulous learning experience and we were very fortunate to have had this opportunity to learn from some of the best in the field. We would like to thank everyone who helped to make this weekend possible from the Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program at Cornell University to the SPCA of Tompkins County, Lollypop Farm, Schuyler Humane Society and our fellow OVC colleague, Dr. Danielle Boes, who invited us down for this amazing collaborative event.