Increasing the life-saving capacity of animal shelters and communities through education, shelter outreach, and development of new knowledge

Northern Tier Shelter Support

The UW Shelter Medicine Program is part of a partnership providing assistance to shelters in seven states: Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Idaho, Montana, Washington, and Alaska. While our program has a national and international focus, and any shelter can receive help, shelters in these seven states are particularly important to us.

The goal of this partnership is to help local shelters and animal welfare organizations in these states to advance their work and promote animal welfare through community outreach and sheltering of aniamsl in need of care. Our program is available to assist with these goals in a number of ways, including on-site consultations, outbreak assistance, diagnostic testing, and providing workshops and regional tours.

Forms of Assistance

  • Shelter Consultations

    • Done remotely and/or on-site depending on your organization’s specific needs.
    • Can focus on a particular topic you shelter would like help with, or may cover all areas of shelter operations and impact within the community
    • The Shelter Medicine Program will collaborate with your shelter to gather data, discuss strengths and areas of concern, and develop recommendations and action plans in the form of a written report to support strengths and address concerns.
    • Our program will provide follow-up support to help your shelter to help implement recommendations.
  • Outbreak Assistance

    • Disease outbreak assistance is offered to organizations facing potential disease outbreaks at their facility
    • Our program veterinarians are available to discuss the situation and to help to determine the best plan and assist with the implementation of that plan. This plan may include other components of assistance offered, such as shelter consultation and diagnostic testing. Funding is often available to assist with diagnostic testing through our program.
    • While we can assist with any outbreak of infectious disease, we specialize in canine and feline infectious diseases such as canine distemper virus (CDV), canine influenza virus (CIV), canine parvovirus, feline panleukopenia, and ringworm.
  • Diagnostic Testing

    • Diagnostic testing is a valuable investment for shelters to quickly identify and manage the spread of infectious disease.
    • Our program works with the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (WVDL) to offer diagnostic testing at a greatly discounted rate, thereby making diagnostic testing and disease surveillance more accessible to animal shelters.
    • Our veterinarians work with shelters and shelter veterinarians to help make decisions about what diagnostic testing might be indicated, interpretation of results and will recommend interventions as needed.
    • Funding is often available to assist with diagnostic testing through our program.
  • Workshops and Regional Shelter Tours

    • Our program is available to provide workshops on a variety of sheltering topics to meet the needs of your shelter as well as shelters within your region.
    • Part of our mission to encourage collaboration among shelters. If you are interested in hosting a workshop in partnership with other humane organizations in your area please contact us for more information.
  • Shelter Fellowship Program

    • Annual program for Shelter Staff in a leadership role. Applications are being accepted now for this program.
  • Northern Tier Shelter Professional Facebook group

    • Facebook group for communication between shelter professionals in the Northern Tier. 

If your shelter is located in Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington, or Alaska assistance from our program is available through this partnership! If you are interested, please contact us at

Special funding for shelters in these seven states is available through the ASPCA’s Northern Tier Shelter Initiative Grants. For more information, click here