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Maddie's® Shelter Medicine Online Programs

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What are the Goals of the Maddie’s® Shelter Medicine Program?

The Maddie’s® Shelter Medicine Program allows you to interact with the content in an asynchronous, online-delivery format, while encouraging you to reflect on your prior experiences in Shelter Medicine. When you complete our interactive courses, you will be ready to practice shelter medicine.

  1. Understand the critical role played by veterinarians when protecting the health and welfare of sheltered dogs and cats.
  2. Recognize and respond to the compromised physical health of sheltered animals.
  3. Recognize and respond to the compromised behavioral health of sheltered animals.

Core Courses – Required

VME 6810: Integrating Veterinary Medicine with Shelter Systems

Understand and appreciate the critical role played by veterinarians when protecting the health and welfare of sheltered dogs and cats.

Full Course Description

VME 6811: Shelter Animal Physical Health

Construct, critique, and implement the policies and protocols used to protect and enhance the physical health and well-being of sheltered dogs and cats, including the recognition and response to the threats of physical health.

Full Course Description

VME 6812: Shelter Animal Behavior and Welfare

This course will help you evaluate the quality of a shelter’s behavioral health programs as well as implement changes to promote welfare and placement of sheltered dogs and cats.

Full Course Description

VME 6575: Veterinary Forensic Medicine

This course will introduce the student to the application of veterinary medicine to the forensic sciences. Course topics will focus on the interpretations of injury patterns, as well as the cause, manner, and mechanism of death. Upon completion of this course, the student will have basic knowledge of the pathological documentation required for crimes involving animals, including recognition of abuse, crime scene investigation, and interacting with the legal community.

Additional Requirements

ENC 5319: Scholarly Writing for Publication

The academic arena is placing increasing pressure on graduate students to enter into academic debates as publishing scholars. Therefore, it is especially important that students understand the expectations that shape scholarly writing in their various disciplines. Being able to employ the correct forms, to interpret and synthesize the literature, and to present their research to various audiences will help position graduate students in a competitive job market or academic career.


VME 6XXX: Shelter Population Management by the Metrics

Population management in a companion animal shelter is often described as having the same principles as large animal production systems. However, few shelters prioritize using metrics to proactively manage animal flow or monitor for disease. Instead, many shelters only use data in a reactive manner or in the form of an annual report. This course will teach students to (a) retrieve, (b) assess, and (c) interpret population-level metrics on a regular basis. Students will learn about data collection and retrieval, review basic epidemiological and statistical principles, and develop a critical eye for data quality which will allow students to make data-driven decisions in a timely manner.

VME 6051: Cruelty to Animals and Interpersonal Violence

Over the last decade, criminal penalties for animal cruelty have dramatically increased, as has the prosecution of such cases. This change has been closely linked to the growing recognition of the relationship between cruelty to animals and interpersonal violence. Once a subject of common anecdotal knowledge, this connection has been substantiated by a significant body of work in social science.

VME 6052: Animal Crime Scene Processing

In recent years, both state and federal laws pertaining to animal cruelty have evolved significantly. Actions that were previously considered non-offenses are now being prosecuted on misdemeanor and felony levels. Because these convictions can carry significant sentences, juries expect to see the same level of crime scene processing and evidence handling that would be applied to crimes against humans.

VME 6054: Scientific and Legal Principles of Forensics Evidence

Students completing this course will gain a better understanding of the fundamental concepts of evidence; burden and standard of proof; judge and jury; types of evidence; witnesses; degrees of certainty; and other relevant aspects of the principles of evidence in a legal investigation.

ENY 6706: Forensics Entomology

Forensic scientists, crime scene technicians, and medicolegal death investigators are continually faced with establishing a postmortem interval (i.e., time since death) in medicolegal investigations. Students will learn the proper evidence techniques for the documentation, collection, and preservation of entomological evidence, as well as how to calculate a minimum postmortem interval from entomological evidence.

VME 6800: Welfare & Wellness for Pets & People

Welfare and Wellness for Pets and People is an online course designed to improve the lives of those working with animals. This course will help individuals to identify the need to take care of themselves and their colleagues with the same effort that they use to take care of pets.

This six module course will enable students to identify quality of life for pets and people by comparing to recognized professional standards of care, and propose humane and responsible interventions to threats toward welfare and wellness. In addition, students will have the opportunity to practice techniques and activities designed to promote these concepts for self, pets, and local communities. Promoting the recognition and support of effective communication skills is also an important objective of this course.

VME 6934: Animal Shelter Population Management by the Metrics

Population management in a companion animal shelter is often described as having the same principles as large animal production systems. However, few shelters prioritize using metrics to proactively manage animal flow or monitor for disease. Instead, many shelters only use data in a reactive manner or in the form of an annual report.

VME 6934: Teaching Clinical Skills in Animal Shelters

Course goals: Shelter medical professionals are often expected to teach and supervise volunteers, staff working with shelter pets and students completing externships or internships in animal shelters. However, few shelter medical professionals have had the opportunity to develop their teaching skills.

Certificate in Non-profit Leadership

FYC 6421: Non-profit Organizations


FYC 6905: Human Resource Management for Non-profits


FYC 6424: Fundraising for Community Non-profit Organizations


FYC 6425: Risk Management in Non-profit Organizations


Certificate in Public Health with an Emphasis in Veterinary Public Health

PHC 6313: Environmental Health Concepts in Public Health

This course is a survey of major topic areas of environmental health. It will examine sources, routes, media, and health outcomes associated with biological, chemical, and physical agents in the environment. It will cover how these agents affect disease; water and air quality; food safety; and land resources in community and occupational settings. The course will introduce the students to the economic context and to the current legal framework (U.S. federal) associated with environmental health issues and public health.

PHC 6001: Principles of Epidemiology in Public Health

This course is an introduction to epidemiology for students majoring in any aspect of the health sciences. This course presents the principles and methods of the epidemiological investigation of both infectious and non-infectious diseases. The purpose of this course is to equip students with the necessary knowledge and skills to explain the place of epidemiology in the general health thinking and to communicate and apply the basic principles of epidemiology.

PHC 6519: Zoonotic Disease in Humans and Animals

The purpose of this online course is to introduce graduate and professional students to major zoonotic diseases. We will discuss both the human and animal presentations; epidemiology; means of prevention and control; available diagnostics; available treatments; and associated human and animal regulations for each disease. The diseases presented in class will be chosen based on their significance to public health practitioners.

PHC 6183: Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Response

The purpose of this online course is to introduce students to the basics of disaster preparedness and responding to disasters, and to build a base for further development in responder training. The course provides training and resources for a basic understanding of the Incident Command System (ICS) and National Incident Management System (NIMS).

PHC 6002: Epidemiology of Infectious Disease

This is an intermediate-level course, which will introduce the student to the unique aspects of infectious disease and epidemiological methods used in their study, prevention, and control. The student will gain knowledge through lectures, case studies, simulated outbreaks, readings, exercises, and an individual project.

PHC 6316: Health, Risk, and Crisis Communication in Public Health


PHC 6050: Statistical Methods for Health Science 1


Other Electives

VME 6934: Topics in Veterinary Medical Science: Introduction to Veterinary Disaster Response

This course introduces students to the basics of responding to disasters as a veterinary responder and builds a base for further development in responder training. Students receive training on Incident Command Systems (ICS), learn about the role of veterinarians in disaster response through first-hand accounts and case studies, and craft their own disaster response plan and ICS organizational chart.

Full Course Description

VME 6934: Topics in Veterinary Medical Science: Community Cat Management

Develop the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively and humanely manage populations of unowned, freeā€roaming, community cats.

VME 6571: Forensic Applied Animal Behavior

An overview of Forensic Applied Animal Behavior, which is defined as the application of knowledge of animal behavior to the purpose of the law. This includes documenting the behavioral effects of abuse, neglect or inadequate care that may be in violation of laws, regulations, and industry or community standards.

VME 6615: Veterinary Forensic Toxicology

This course will encompass the basic concepts of veterinary forensic toxicology including basic principles of veterinary toxicology, legal aspects of veterinary toxicology, utilization of veterinary diagnostic laboratories in forensic cases, conducting veterinary toxicology field investigations, history-taking, and proper collection, handling and preservation of samples. Species-relevant aspects of veterinary toxicology will be covered.

VME 6056: Animal Law

Animal law is a quickly growing field and is becoming essential to social policy in the United States as well as around the world. This course introduces and surveys important overarching legal themes that occur throughout the unique relationship between humans and animals.

VME 6572: Forensic Aspects of Agricultural Animal Welfare

This course will introduce agricultural animal welfare with a focus on the legal aspects associated with abusive care of agricultural animals. This course explores scientific and ethical dialogue on agricultural animal welfare issues. Completing this course will provide an understanding of current U.S. laws governing agricultural animal welfare as well as the ability to minimally evaluate and assess the welfare of an agricultural animal.

VME 6576: Veterinary Forensic Pathology

Introduces and develops in-depth the field of veterinary forensic pathology, including how to perform and document, through photographs and written reports, a professional necropsy. Introduces and develops in-depth mechanisms and manifestations of death commonly encountered in veterinary forensics (starvation, etc.), using case examples.

VME 6905: Problems in Veterinary Medical Sciences


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