A lot of hygiene and a glimpse of contraception: this was our shelter convention!

Last week we held our first Canadian shelter convention at our plant facility in Guelph. Great opportunity for some of our shelter partners to see with their own eyes what makes all of us so proud to work for the Royal Canin company! But to go in this plant tour, you need to deserve it. First thing in the morning: you have to spend 3 hours listening to me!!!

Those of you who met me can attest: I love speaking, especially when it comes down to animal facility-related topics. Two lectures were programed: sanitation in a shelter environment & contraception in dogs and cats (if you want to have an overview of the lectures, you can download the slides here). Extremely interesting topics to discuss in a room full of people in charge of different key sectors in a shelter organization: adoptions & kennel/cattery supervisors, operations directors, veterinarians,… Different perspectives, different visions but in the end, we all share the same goal: do the best we can to help these animals.

Sanitation in shelters is definitely something to focus on, and if you ever read my previous posts ( if not, no worries, they are still online!!!), you know that this is something I always emphasize. Especially with staff and volunteers in charge of cleaning and disinfecting: spending time training them on the basics of hygiene in a shelter environment and clearly explaining them what they have to do - and why they have to do it properly!-  will never ever be a waste of time (and remember, if your agenda is already really busy, this is something we do for free for our shelter partners!) New concepts have emerged during the last years: deep cleaning and disinfecting are indeed THE way to get rid of those bad germs you’re fighting permanently, but sometimes, we have to change our good old strategies. Especially when dealing with the feline species: the main goal with cats is to decrease their level of stress. Because when they are stressed out, in a shelter environment, they might definitely get sick (Giardia, Coccidia, Herpes,… all these agents will lead to more severe clinical signs in stressed animals!). New products are available: AHP (Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide) is the standard of care in human hospitals and might become the go-to alternative in the future in shelters. But even AHP is not efficient against all type of pathogens (see picture below). Defining the best sanitation protocol takes time, and will really depend on the challenges the shelter faces.

And what about contraception? At the moment we can say that in shelters, it’s only about surgery. The medical alternatives are not completely satisfying yet and, even if some provide a long-lasting effect (GnRH agonists implant are something that can be considered as an actual alternative), none ensures permanent sterilization for the moment. But the future is bright: different alternatives are being investigated at the moment: GnRH vaccines, cytotoxins, gene silencing (there will be an excellent congress on this topic end of June 2013, visit their website here)... These techniques are not available yet but think about how shelters willl benefit from them. No more need for full anesthesia and surgeries… Think about all the time that will be spared! And I think we will all agree on this: in shelters’ environments, time is definitely what we all need!

Remember we are all part of the same PRO community! Don’t hesitate then: share with us your experiences, ask your questions and let us know what you think! Social networks enable us to keep the discussion going, so whether you are a Facebooker or a Twitter-addict, you can – and should!- be part of it!

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