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Shelter Collaborations

Colorado State University has a shelter internship program, a shelter fellowship, and a number of student opportunities in local shelters. The programs are run in partnership with our Community Practice service at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital. The Center for Companion Animal Studies interacts with these programs in many ways.

Our center co-sponsors the shelter fellowship program with Nestle-Purina PetCare. Recently, a collaborative study between Nestle Purina PetCare and the center showed that administration of the Probiotic FortiFlora Lessened Diarrhea in Cats housed in a shelter. The veterinary student on that project, Shawn Bybee, received the outstanding poster award from the Comparative Gastroenterology Society for that work.

The shelter internship is co-sponsored by the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Science's Dean's office and our center, partially using funds donated by Merck Animal Health.

Colorado State University provides funds to spay or neuter 750 shelter dogs and cats each year. Nestle Purina PetCare and the Center for Companion Animal Studies partnered to fund a remodeling of the Larimer Humane Society surgery suite to allow us to bring a team of surgeons and students to the shelter on Mondays to spay and neuter these animals. Jorgenson Laboratories donated two anesthesia machines to our center to help support this program.

We have worked extensively with donations of test kits from IDEXX Laboratories and HESKA Corporation. We use these kits to teach veterinary students during their Community Practice rotation how to incorporate rapid bedside diagnostic kits into their general practices. Currently, we are studying causes of infectious canine cough syndrome with donations from Merck Animal Health, Camp Bow Wow, and our center.

Meet the Shelter Residents

Dr. Miranda Spindel
Our first shelter resident, Dr. Miranda Spindel, is now a lead veterinarian for the ASPCA.  Dr. Spindel started a program to save shelter animals that were in need of advanced surgeries beyond the budget of participating shelters which is now called our Saving Animals in Shelters by Teaching (SAST) Program (see below).  The initial work in this area led to a paper in the Journal of Veterinary Medical Education.
In the SAST program, the Veterinary Teaching Hospital allows us to perform a number of different surgeries at a fraction of the normal cost because we are teaching young veterinarians (with veterinary student assistance) common procedures. The animals are then adopted by the participating shelters. To date, we have saved more than 60 lives with this program.
Dr. Elise Gingrich
Our second shelter resident, Dr. Elise Gingrich, specializes in studying the diseases shared between animals and humans. One of her recent studies showed that shelter dogs and cats are no more likely than other community animals to carry methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus organisms.

​Saving Animals in Shelters by Teaching

This program was initially funded by PetSmart Charities. The program now is funded entirely by donations to the Center. The Naniboujou's Legacy for Saving Animals in Shelters through Teaching (SAST) and Nestle Purina PetCare have been the principal sponsors since 2013.

Photo Slideshow:

Saving Animals in Shelters by Teaching

The animals are then adopted by the participating shelters. To date, we have saved more than 150 lives and trained over 600 people with this program. The Center has published a paper on the program in the Journal of Veterinary Medical Education and we hope that other institutions will initiate similar programs around the world.

Recently, one of our shared patients with the Humane Society of Boulder Valley, Daphne, was saved by this program. She was ​featured on a television spot on Channel 4 News and an article on CBSDenver's website.

If you would like to make a contribution to either or both of the Naniboujou Legacy funds, visit the giving page  or contact Dr. Michael Lappin.


 Foundations of our Center

Two Golden Retrievers

Learn more about the beautiful golden retrievers and the Smith family, both important to the founding of the Center for Companion Animal Studies.

Contact Us:
Michael R. Lappin, DVM, PhD, Diplomate ACVIM
Department of Clinical Sciences
300 West Drake Road
Fort Collins, Colorado, 80523-1678

​(970) 297-0313

(970) 297-1205