Millions of unclaimed or unwanted animals are kept in shelters around the country, where they reside in facilities that are sometimes over-crowded and under-funded. Promoting animal health and well-being in these environments can be challenging.

Approximately 100 animal control and shelter professionals from around the Commonwealth of Virginia will learn some new things about caring for these special animals during a workshop on "Shelter Medicine" which will be held on Friday, Nov. 19 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine (VMRCVM) at Virginia Tech. Another 75 people will participate via webinar.

"We're extremely excited about the turn-out for this event," said Marie Suthers-McCabe, associate professor in the Department of Small Animal Clinical Medicine and director of the college's Center for Animal /Human Relationships (CENTAUR). "Our speakers are nationally recognized in this area, and I think all of us appreciate the importance of this cause."

Sponsored by CENTAUR and other organizations, the workshop is designed to help animal control officers, shelter staff and volunteers learn how to recognize those injuries and illnesses that require professional support, and how to manage environmental risk factors in infectious disease control.

Kate Hurley, assistant clinical professor of shelter medicine and small animal population health at the University of California at Davis College of Veterinary Medicine is principle speaker for the event. Hurley is nationally recognized for her work in shelter medicine, which focuses on providing veterinary healthcare for shelter animals and training for those who care for them.

Other speakers include Kate Pullen, director of animal sheltering issues with the Humane Society of the United States, and Ann Zajac, a professor and veterinary parasitologist in the VMRCVM's Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology.

Other event sponsors include the University of California-Davis Shelter Medicine Program, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Virginia Partnership for Animal Welfare and Support (VPAWS), the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), and PetSmart Charities.

Established in 2000, CENTAUR conducts instructional, research and outreach programming designed to foster a greater understanding of the mutual benefits associated with animal/human interaction.