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Shelter Medicine Program
What is shelter medicine?
Students prepare for spay/neuter clinic

Shelter Medicine is a field of veterinary medicine dedicated to the care and needs of underserved animals. At Tufts, the Shelter Medicine Program works with underserved animals such as community cats, shelter animals and animals belonging to pet owners in need, while teaching students practice-ready skills. A host of area partners work with the school to provide opportunities for students to observe and gain experience working in shelters in Massachusetts. Learn more…

Shelter Partners

Students visit the Animal Rescue League of Boston.

Students visit the Animal Rescue League of Boston.

The Tufts Shelter Medicine Program collaborates with a variety of local and regional partners to ensure that the program remains relevant to animal welfare within the area. The program was conceived by a working group of these partners and strives to ensure veterinary students are prepared to work with and for animal shelters. Making sure that the needs of our partners are met is essential to helping achieve the mission of the Shelter Medicine Program.

Shelter partners can be any animal rescue or sheltering organization that provides an opportunity for students to observe or participate in the application of shelter medicine principles. Example experiences for students might include:

  • Observing routine health examinations and sick animal checks
  • Participating in physical examination and treatment of animals
  • Observing, assisting with or performing surgery (under supervision)
  • Designing and implementing research projects, particularly those designed to improve the quality of veterinary care offered by an animal shelter.

The specific learning objectives are customized for each partner and experience.

A level-of-partnership system has been created to ensure that every type of organization can have a place in the program. Partnership levels and associated expectations are explained below.

Shelter Medicine Program Steering Committee

Cummings School initially reached out to the shelter medicine community to help plan the Shelter Medicine Program by creating a working group with representation from several key organizations. The working group continues as the steering committee and includes at least one representative from each primary shelter partner, members of the animal welfare community and members of the faculty.

Learn more about our steering committee.

Shelter Partners