Shelter medicine saves lives

Provide high-quality medicine and surgery to more pets, for less.

If you’re a shelter that’s looking to improve and extend your veterinary resources, consider our Shelter Medicine Outreach Program. We offer on-site and virtual support for high-quality, high-volume spay/neuter (HQHVSN) services and other key lifesaving services, all while preserving your staff’s well-being.

Best Friends Shelter Outreach Program

Every size and type of shelter can benefit, improving shelter medicine to saves lives.

Participants have a choice of these offerings:

Program assessments

Comprehensive shelter medicine program assessments
Person lying on a blanket with a dog who is undergoing accupuncture


HQHVSN workshops for veterinarians and support staff
Two smiling people examining a dog together


Infectious disease consultation and outbreak response
Person wearing a protective gown and gloves with a dog


On-site or virtual shelter medicine mentorships
Two people working together in a veterinary clinic setting

Shelter Medicine Outreach Program assessments

You’ll get comprehensive or targeted assessments, geared directly to your needs.

To pinpoint where your shelter needs the most support, we’ll send Best Friends staff (most often a veterinarian and a vet tech) to do an on-site, multiday assessment. They’ll ask what areas you want to focus on: program efficiency, staffing, disease prevention and management, healthy housing, population management, and/or animal health. 

After the assessment, they’ll meet with shelter leadership and your medical staff to help identify priorities and find the resources you need to target those areas. Ongoing follow-up can include staff training, help with protocol design and implementation, and targeted programs that address medical populations.

Who should enroll?

If you are a veterinarian or a technician/assistant working in a shelter surgical program with little-to-no previous high-volume experience, or if you plan to start a program, this workshop is for you. We also welcome those wanting to increase their surgical capacity from moderate to high-volume, using improvements in surgical and/or program efficiency.

“These animals are going to be able to get adopted faster or more easily now that they have been fixed,” Proler said. “It’s (the workshops) about helping pets find their families and stay with their families.”

Houston Chronicle, 2/18/2023

Surgical training workshops for veterinarians and support staff

Get hands-on surgical training for high-quality, high-volume surgical techniques (HQHVSN) and clinic flow.

This four-day workshop focuses on surgical techniques for veterinarians. We also offer an optional technician training component on HQHVSN anesthesia, surgical support, and clinic flow. Workshop attendees will earn 20 hours of RACE-approved CE credit. 

The current workshop venue is the Best Friends Lifesaving Center in Houston; however, future workshops may be available at our center in Northwest Arkansas or Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah. On-site training at your own shelter may be available in California, Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, Utah, or New York. Please inquire directly about training in those states.

What shelters should enroll?

If your shelter’s goal is to increase lifesaving capacity or start a basic shelter medical program, we can certainly help. Our program is targeted toward improving efficiency, reducing infectious disease, and expanding proactive population management. 

Shelter medicine mentorships—virtual and on-site

Get expert help designing and implementing treatment programs that really make a difference.

Are you a solo veterinarian who wants to bounce ideas off another experienced shelter vet? This mentorship is for you. 

Would you like to begin a ringworm or parvo program, but don’t know where to start? We have the resources you need. Sign right up! 

Our virtual mentorships are geared to address the challenges at your shelter: capacity challenges, length of stay, pet health, and adoption and transfer outcomes. 

We’d love to help you tackle population management, program implementation, lifesaving medical programs and more. On-site support may also be available. Just ask!

Who should enroll?

Shelters trying to improve medical programs or start new medical programs will benefit from our virtual mentorships, where we explore your needs and help create lifesaving improvements. If you want to get proactive with population management, you can request on-site support to help get that program going. 

We’ll help you address animal flow and daily population rounds. Targeted advice can really streamline the process and save more lives! 

Infectious disease consultation and outbreak response

Don’t let disease impact your lifesaving work.

Are you seeing more sick pets than usual? Are your pets showing more severe clinical signs? We know a lot about best practices for outbreak response and general management. We’ll help you solve the very real challenges posed by infectious diseases that affect pet health and happiness in your shelter.

Who should request these services? 

If you suspect an outbreak of infectious disease in your pet population, please consider an expert consultation. We’ll help you use your limited resources most effectively and thereby achieve the fastest resolution to the outbreak. If you want to decrease infectious diseases in general and aren’t sure where to start, we can help!

People working together in a veterinary clinic setting

Meet the shelters that have shifted into high gear.

Learn about shelters that have benefitted from our Shelter Medicine Outreach Program’s hands-on training to build veterinary care services.

Want to improve training opportunities at your shelter?

The Shelter Collaborative Program pairs mentors from no-kill shelters with colleagues from shelters moving toward no-kill.

Best Friends Animal Society logo mark

About Best Friends

Best Friends Animal Society is working to save the lives of cats and dogs all across the country, giving pets second chances and happy homes.

Just a few short years ago, cats and dogs were killed in staggering numbers in this country simply because shelters didn't have the community support or the resources to save their lives. That number is now less than half a million per year, but there’s still work to do to ensure a bright future for every dog and cat in America.

Best Friends operates the nation's largest no-kill sanctuary for companion animals and is committed to saving the lives of homeless pets by working with shelters and passionate people like you. Together, we will bring the whole country to no-kill by 2025. Together, we will Save Them All.