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New Bolton Center Kennett Square, PA
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Ryan Hospital Philadelphia, PA

Shelter Medicine Press Releases

Penn Vet Program Saves Community's Most Vulnerable Dogs

By Ashley Berke Published: Mar 11, 2016

Richard Lichter Charity for Dogs to Extend Shelter Dog Specialty Medical Treatment Project

[March 11, 2016; Philadelphia, PA] – Charlie was saved after ingesting rat poison. Boomer made it through a dangerous bout of parvovirus. Diver was treated for an adverse vaccine reaction. These dogs represent three of 25 shelter dogs saved by Penn Vet’s Shelter Dog Specialty Medical Treatment Project since the program’s launch in March 2015. Now, thanks to the continued generosity of the Richard Lichter Charity for Dogs, the program will be extended to help 50 more shelter dogs in need.

Visit to read about some of the first dogs treated through this unique program.

“There is nothing more rewarding than giving dogs a second chance by providing care that was previously unattainable,” said Dr. Brittany Watson, Director of Shelter Animal Medicine and Community Engagement at Penn Vet. “Thanks to Richard Lichter’s dedication and support, we are able to partner with the shelter community in a truly impactful way. We’re so grateful to have the opportunity to continue this life-saving program.”

A dog is treated through Penn Vet’s Shelter Dog Specialty Medical Treatment ProjectWhen a shelter dog has a medical problem that requires specialty care, shelters often do not have the resources necessary to address the animal’s needs. Through the Shelter Dog Specialty Medical Treatment Project, veterinarians at Penn Vet’s Ryan Hospital provide specialized medical care to dogs from area shelters that are in need. All diagnostic and medical services are covered free of charge to participating shelters. Following treatment, dogs are placed in foster homes and made available for adoption. All dogs that have completed treatment through the program are adopted into new homes. 

“This program is one of the best things to ever happen at Penn Vet,” said Dr. Kenneth Drobatz, Chief of the Emergency Service at Penn Vet’s Ryan Hospital. “It has not only had a tremendous impact on the dogs, but also on our clinical team. It is incredibly rewarding to help these dogs in need without having to worry about resources. We’ve seen a major boost in morale.” 

“This has been a wonderful collaboration with Penn Vet,” said Richard Lichter. “Their veterinary expertise has restored hope for dogs in their time of maximum need.” 

About the Penn Vet Shelter Animal Medicine Program

Established in 2006, the Penn Vet Shelter Animal Medicine Program programs consultative, educational, and veterinary support to regional shelters and residents of the Greater Philadelphia community. The program has a significant impact on how many homeless animals are given quality care and placed into permanent homes. In addition, the program provides interdisciplinary and authentic instruction to veterinary students through the lens of shelter medicine, by integrating best practices in educational techniques and research with community outreach, collaborative partnerships, and service learning.

About Penn Vet

The University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet) is a global leader in veterinary education, research, and clinical care. Founded in 1884, Penn Vet is the first veterinary school developed in association with a medical school. The school is a proud member of the One Health initiative, linking human, animal, and environmental health.

Penn Vet serves a diverse population of animals at its two campuses, which include extensive diagnostic and research laboratories. Ryan Hospital in Philadelphia provides care for dogs, cats, and other domestic/companion animals, handling more than 30,000 patient visits a year. New Bolton Center, Penn Vet’s large-animal hospital on nearly 700 acres in rural Kennett Square, PA, cares for horses and livestock/farm animals. The hospital handles more than 4,000 patient visits a year, while the Field Service treats nearly 37,000 patients at local farms. In addition, New Bolton Center’s campus includes a swine center, working dairy, and poultry unit that provide valuable research for the agriculture industry.

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