Veterinarians save lives in Michigan animal shelters

Most people might think shelter medicine is mostly about spay/neuter, but a group of progressive veterinarians are changing paradigms all over the United States as they develop innovative, data-driven strategies for helping homeless pets.

The Michigan Pet Fund Alliance is proud to welcome some of the nation’s leading shelter medicine experts to our “Getting to the Goal” Conference in Troy, Mich., on Sept. 4-5, 2014.


Our veterinary presenters include:

Dr. Julie Levy

Julie Levy

Dr. Julie Levy

Julie Levy, DVM, PhD, is director of Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida. She will be co-presenting on a revolutionary new approach to community cat management with Dr. Kate Hurley.

Dr. Levy’s clinical interests center on the health and welfare of animals in shelters, feline infectious diseases, and humane alternatives for cat population control, including contraceptive vaccines for cats. She is the founder of Operation Catnip, a nonprofit university-based community cat spay/neuter program that has sterilized nearly 40,000 cats in Gainesville, Florida, since 1998.

Dr. Levy has published more than 100 journal articles and textbook chapters, many focusing on community cat issues. She is the recipient of the Carl J. Norden-Pfizer Distinguished Teacher Award, Outstanding Woman Veterinarian of the Year, and the European Society of Feline Medicine Award for Outstanding Contributions in the Field of Feline Medicine.

Dr. Kate Hurley

kate with adorable kit URI study

Dr. Kate Hurley

Kate Hurley, DVM, MPVM, began her career as an animal control officer in 1989. She graduated from the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in 1999, and in 2001 returned to UC Davis to become the first in the world to undertake a residency in Shelter Medicine. She now directs the UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program.

Dr. Hurley will be joining with Dr. Julie Levy in a presentation on new approaches to community cat management.

Dr. Hurley’s proudest achievements include co-authoring the Association of Shelter Veterinarians’ Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters, and co-editing the textbook Infectious Disease Management in Animal Shelters. She loves all things shelter-related, but her particular interests include welfare in confinement, humane and effective community-cat management strategies, infectious disease, and unusually short dogs.

Dr. Karen Overall

Karen Overall and Toby

Dr. Karen Overall and Toby

Karen L. Overall, MA, VMD, PhD, DACVB, CAAB, has BA, MA and VMD degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and a PhD degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She did her residency training in veterinary behavioral medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Overall is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists (DACVB) and is certified by the Animal Behavior Society as an Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB).

She will be presenting on the shortcomings of current behavior evaluations done in shelters, and discussiong their impact and alternatives.

Dr. Overall has served on the faculties of both the veterinary and medical schools at the University of Pennsylvania and ran the Behavior Clinic at Penn Vet for more than a dozen years. She lectures at veterinary schools world-wide and is an Adjunct Associate Professor in the University of Missouri, College of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences.

Dr. Overall is also editor-in-chief for Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research (Elsevier). She has been named the North American Veterinary Conference (NAVC) Small Animal Speaker of the Year and frequently consults with governments world-wide about legal and welfare issues of pet dogs and behavioral, welfare and performance issues pertaining to working dogs. Her research focuses on neurobehavioral genetics of dogs, the development of normal and abnormal behaviors and how we assess behavior, especially as concerns working dogs. Her favorite collaborator is her husband, Dr. Art Dunham, with whom she shares a household of four much-loved rescue Australian Shepherds.

Dr. Overall’s presenation is sponsored by Dr. Marty Becker.

Dr. James Averill

Dr. James Averill

Dr. James Averill

Since taking over as Michigan State Veterinarian last year, James Averill, DVM, PhD, has made huge changes in the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD’s) companion animal programs, particularly in enforcing regulations in poor-performing animal shelters in the state.

Dr. Averill will appear with his staff to participate in a Q&A with conference attendees and discuss the successes and challenges of MDARD’s programs.

Dr. Averill received his doctorate of veterinary medicine in 2001 from Michigan State University. Upon graduation he went to work for USDA Veterinary Services, Michigan, office as a Veterinary Medical Officer for bovine TB.

Dr. Averill returned to Michigan State in 2002 to pursue a PhD in Epidemiology, which was completed in February 2009. From 2006 to 2008, Dr. Averill worked for the Michigan Department of Community Health as Deputy Coordinator for Pandemic Influenza. In August of 2009, Dr. Averill joined Michigan Department of Agriculture, Animal Industry Division as the Bovine TB Eradication Program Coordinator. In June of 2011, he became the Animal Industry Division Director. Then in June 2013, Dr. Averill assumed the role of State Veterinarian while maintaining Division Director responsibilities. He resides in Webberville, MI, with his wife, Donna.


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