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PlexusCalls:The Million Cat Challenge-Diffusing Change
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When: Friday, August 26, 2016
1 PM - 2 PM
Where: United States

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Friday, August 26, 1 PM-2 PM ET

The Million Cat Challenge: Diffusing Change

Guests: Kate Hurley, Julie Levy, and Kathleen Keil


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When it comes to controlling feral cat populations, catch and kill isn't just hard on cats and shelter staff. It doesn't work.  As a veterinarians who have worked with shelters their entire careers, Drs. Kate Hurley and Julie Levy researched the practice and witnessed dramatic success with alternative approaches at a handful of pioneering shelters. They founded the Million Cat Challenge to spread those successful practices to shelters across the continent. Veterinarian Dr. Kathy Keil, who has experience in equine, bovine and companion animal practice and a degree in experimental psychology, joins this provocative conversation.

Dr. Kate Hurley began her career as an animal control officer in 1989. After graduation from the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in 1999, she worked as a shelter veterinarian in California and Wisconsin. In 2001, she returned to UC Davis to become the first person in the world to undertake a residency in shelter medicine. Following completion of the residency, Kate remained at UC Davis to become the director of the Koret Shelter Medicine Program. Kate loves all things shelter-related, but her particular interests include the welfare of confined dogs and cats, humane and effective strategies to manage community cats, infectious disease, and unusually short dogs. Four of her favorite achievements are co-authoring The Association of Shelter Veterinarians’ Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters”, co-editing the textbook Infectious Disease Management in Animal Shelters”, collaborating in development and dissemination of the life-saving “cat portal”, and co-creating the Million Cat Challenge. She loves shelter work because it has the potential to improve the lives of so many animals and the people who work so hard to care for them.

Dr. Julie Levy obtained her DVM from the University of California at Davis in 1989 and her PhD at North Carolina State University in 1996. She completed a clinical internship in small animal medicine and surgery at Angell Memorial Animal Hospital in Boston in 1990, and a residency in small animal internal medicine at North Carolina State University, culminating in board certification in the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine in 1993. After joining the faculty of the University of Florida specialty service in internal medicine in 1997, Dr. Levy began devoting herself to the emerging field of shelter medicine full-time in 2008 when she co-founded Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program. The program focuses on training veterinary students and shelter specialist veterinarians, shelter consultation, and research into solving the problems that challenge animal shelters. She has spent the past decade helping to develop a recognized veterinary specialty in shelter medicine, a dream that finally came to fruition in 2014. Dr. Levy’s research and clinical interests center on the health and welfare of animals in shelters, feline infectious diseases, and humane alternatives for cat population control. She has performed long-term studies of contraceptive vaccines for cats that, if successful, could greatly enhance the impact of feline population control programs by eliminating the need for surgical facilities and highly skilled medical personnel to sterilize cats.

Kathleen Keil has a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the Ontario Veterinary College, and a M.A. and B.A. in Experimental Psychology from University of Western Ontario. She has several published scientific articles based on her masters research which evaluated visual acuity and depth perception in horses. Most recently, she was the research lead on a University of Calgary Veterinary Medicine project to explore communication patterns between veterinary staff and pet owners during nutritional consultations of their overweight and obese pets. Kathy has experience in equine, bovine and companion animal practice. She has 14 years of business experience in the veterinary pharmaceutical industry in technical services, management and organizational development. Kathy is currently a consultant working as a technical advisor for an international veterinary pharmaceutical company. She is also a yoga instructor and teaches awareness of mental health and ways of dealing with bullying, stress, and conflict in veterinary practice. Kathy has a wonderful non-veterinary minded husband who dearly loves their three cats and somewhat tolerates her dressage horse.


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