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  • Organization must have minimum sanitation and disease prevention standards to eliminate transmission of disease to other animals within the facility or home; during transport or in the external community; and to caregivers and the public at large.

  • A plan of health assessment and preventative medicine for the quarantine period must be developed under the supervision of a veterinarian.

  • All animals must be categorized prior to intake as either high or low biosecurity risk. This estimates the likelihood of disease and parasitic infections that are both transmissible to other animals and/or humans. An appropriate biosecurity management procedure must be developed for each case.


Examples of risk:


  • Imported animals

  • Stray animals coming in from northern and rural communities or urban areas with no history available 

  • Puppies or kittens from unknown sources, and health and vaccination status of the dam is unknown 



  • Owner surrender with a medical and vaccination history 

  • Animals incoming from other animal shelters or SPCAs

  • Animals incoming from veterinary clinics

  • All incoming animals regardless of risk must be isolated initially until a health check, vaccinations, and diagnostic testing (if needed) can be performed.

  • Any animal showing clinical signs of disease (e.g., diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, fever, etc.) must be given immediate veterinary care and have increased isolation and biosecurity. 

  • There must be a limited and designated number of trained caregivers dealing with clinically symptomatic animals.

  • Proper personal protective equipment must be worn when in contact with the animal:  gloves, booties, and lab coat/smock.

  • Everyone must ensure hands are washed and sanitized before touching or contacting other animals.

  • In all situations (including transport), when multiple animals are handled, the order of contact must be from healthiest to sickest. 




Quarantine is a period of isolation for newly arrived animals and potentially diseased animals for the purpose of detecting and eliminating disease and reducing transmission. The quarantine period allows for acclimatisation, close observation of animals, animal health checks, and preventative medicine programs.


  • All caregivers working with quarantined animals should be trained and familiar with the organization’s quarantine protocols.

  • Where feasible, the quarantine area should be physically separate from high traffic areas or areas where other non-quarantined animals are kept to prevent direct or indirect contact (e.g., equipment, aerosol, or drainage) between quarantined and healthy animals.

  • Equipment and tools used in quarantine areas should be dedicated for use only within this area and must be cleaned and disinfected on a regular basis and at the end of the quarantine period.

  • Try to ensure that all clothing and footwear that has come into contact with the animal or was worn/used to clean the isolation area is placed in a separate garbage bag and properly cleaned and disinfected after use, minimizing the possibility of disease transmission to other animals and/or people. 

  • Facilities for hand sanitation using an appropriate antiseptic or a washing station are placed at the entry/exit and hands must be thoroughly cleaned upon entry/exit of the quarantine area. 

  • Waste products from the isolated animal including bedding, food, feces, urine, and water should be assessed for their biosecurity risk and managed and disposed of, using strict biosecurity practices during the quarantine period.



  • All organizations must have a plan for biosecurity management during transport and transfer of animals.

  • Transporters must employ the highest biosecurity work practices and personal hygiene. 

    • All transport crates, equipment and, if necessary, vehicles used to transfer the animals must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before and after each use.

  • Waste products including bedding, food, feces, urine, and used paper towels must be managed with strict biosecurity practices during transfer.

If more than one animal is being transported within a vehicle the following guidelines MUST be followed to reduce the risk of disease or parasite transmission. 

  • All transporters must understand and practice biosecurity protocols. 

  • Transporters must be responsible for having dedicated footwear and clothing (e.g., lab coat or coveralls) and disposable gloves, hand sanitizer, and cleaning supplies (bleach solution or other disinfectant, paper towels, garbage bags, etc.) during the transport.

  • Human-animal contact must be limited as humans are capable of transmitting infectious organisms from one individual to another (via skin, hair, and clothing) or movement of objects (e.g., leashes, bowls, bedding).

  • All animals must be individually crated. The only time animals may be crated together is if they are identified litter mates and or dam and a litter.

    • Do not assume animals are littermates just because they are the same age.

  • All equipment must be kept separate (e.g., leashes, bedding, crates, water bowls, etc.)

    • Do not take an animal out of one crate and move it to another.

  • All small animals must be transported in solid plastic crates. Do not use open wire crates.

    • Where possible physical barriers between crates should be utilized (e.g., cardboard), ensuring ventilation of the crate is not compromised.

  • If it is necessary to remove animals for cleaning or exercise, the risk for disease transmission must be weighed against the necessity for the animal to exercise and eliminate. 

  • If transporting animals with high risk of disease transmission, appropriate steps must be taken (e.g., washing hands, changing gloves and clothing between animals).  


“Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters” The Association of Shelter Veterinarians 2010.

“The importance of isolation: reflections on rabies and other infectious diseases.”  The Humane Society of the United States

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