February 6, 2018
Categories: Shelter Medicine
grey cat in suitcase

Whether your animal organization does large-scale transport in or out of your area, or moves one animal at a time for out-of-state adoptions, keeping those pets from getting sick, experiencing stress, or spreading disease into the receiving shelter or community is critical.

Transport of animals from areas with limited adoption opportunities to those where there may even be a shortage of certain types of pets, is a growing part of the shelter and rescue landscape, both nationally and internationally. Such transport programs, however, can put pets into situations that lead to stress, disease outbreak in the transported pets, and the introduction of diseases — some little seen — to the receiving community. Distemper, for example, has been brought from shelters that experience high intake and large populations to areas that haven’t seen a distemper outbreak in decades.

When this happens, it may damage the community’s trust in adoption organizations in general, particularly with treating veterinarians. Fortunately, there are approaches to transport that can mitigate stress and disease risk, although there hasn’t been a single comprehensive resource providing guidance to transporters in implementing those approaches.

Dr. Brian DiGangi, Senior Shelter Medicine Director for the ASPCA, recently authored a peer-reviewed overview of health, welfare and safety tips for animal transport for Clinician’s Brief. It includes comprehensive information on vaccination, diagnostic testing and other health-related travel requirements, best practices and laws, as well as links to additional information. Forms of transport include both individual travel by car or plane, as well as group transport on the road or by air.

He also covers:

  • Best practices for large scale animal relocation
  • Guidelines for preventive care
  • A guide to transportation resources
  • Identifying and mitigating regional and travel-specific risks
  • Steps to protect behavioral health and welfare

The complete article can be read at Clinician’s Brief. At the time of writing it was available for viewing without registration, but if required at a later time, registration is free.