Shelters provide refuge for young animals with immature immune systems and for animals that have recently experienced stressful conditions (eg, homelessness, abuse), which may increase the animals’ susceptibility to infectious disease.1 Animals entering shelters often have unknown clinical and vaccination histories, which adds to the challenge of maintaining a healthy population.

Transmission of infectious disease is often facilitated in cases of suboptimal housing conditions and crowding resulting from insufficient resources. Management strategies should be planned thoughtfully and in advance to make the best use of shelter resources—especially staff and volunteer time—and to achieve the best outcomes for all animals in their care.

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