Kate Hurley, DVM, MPVM, Program Director

Dr. Hurley began her career as an animal control officer in 1989 at the Santa Cruz SPCA, a private shelter providing field and sheltering services to the community in Santa Cruz, CA. She enjoyed the job more than she ever could have imagined, especially the feeling that she was able to help people take better care of their pets as well as protecting animals every day. Becoming a veterinarian seemed a logical way to continue serving both pets and people, and after six years she left the Santa Cruz SPCA to attend the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Kate Hurley Director of the UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program, with kitten

Hurley soon found she couldn’t tear herself away from shelter work, however, and after graduation from veterinary school in 1999, immediately went to work as a shelter veterinarian. Hurley loved that job too but in 2001 couldn’t resist the opportunity to return to UC Davis to become the first in the world to undertake a residency in Shelter Medicine.

During her three year residency, Hurley investigated and characterized one of the first documented outbreaks of Virulent Systemic Feline Calicivirus. Hurley has built on this experience with extensive research on feline upper respiratory infection in the multi-cat environment, other emerging or re-emerging diseases affecting dogs and cats in shelters, and the relationship between housing, health, wellness and adoption for shelter animals. Following completion of the residency, Hurley became the director of the UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program.

Two of Hurley’s proudest achievements are co-authoring the “Association of Shelter Veterinarians’ Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters” and co-editing the textbook “Infectious Disease Management in Animal Shelters”. She also co-authored the first-ever vaccine guidelines specifically for shelter dogs and cats.

Hurley co-chaired the organizing committee for a specialty in Shelter Medicine, an 8-year process that culminated in 2014 with approval by the AVMA of a Shelter Medicine specialty within the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners. Most recently, in partnership with Dr. Julie Levy at the University of Florida Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program, she helped launch the Million Cat Challenge, a campaign to save one million cats in North American shelters over the five year period from 2014-2019.

Hurley’s research interests include welfare of confined dogs and cats, humane and effective strategies to manage community cats, and infectious disease (especially strategies for prevention). She will always love 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.

Selected Publications

Wagner, D.C., Hurley, K.F., Stavisky, J.H. (2018). “Shelter housing for cats: Principles of design for health, welfare and rehoming.” Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery  20(7), 635-642

Wagner, D.C., Hurley, K.F., Stavisky, J.H. (2018). “Shelter housing for cats: Practical aspects of design and construction, and adaptation of existing accommodation.” Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery  20(7), 643-652

Wagner, D.C., Kass, P.H., Hurley, K.F. (2018). “Cage size, movement in and out of housing during daily care, and other environmental and population health risk factors for feline upper respiratory disease in nine North American animal shelters.” PLoS ONE 13(1): e0190140.

Karsten, C.L., Wagner, D.C., Kass, P.H., Hurley, K.F. (2017). “An observational study of the relationship between Capacity for Care as an animal shelter management model and cat health, adoption and death in three animal shelters.” The Veterinary Journal 227: 15-22.

Scherk, M. A., R. B. Ford, Gaskell, R.M. Hartmann, K., Hurley, K.F., Lappin, M.R., Levy, J.K., Little, S.E., Nordone, S.K., Sparkes, A.H. (2013). “2013 AAFP Feline Vaccination Advisory Panel Report.” J Feline Med Surg 15(9): 785-808.

Kamiya, C., D. C. Wagner, et al. (2013). “The effect of cage size on the expression of normal behaviors in shelter cats.” Annual House Officer Seminar Day, Davis, CA.

Tanaka, A., D. C. Wagner, Hurley, K.F. (2012). “Associations among weight loss, stress, and upper respiratory tract infection in shelter cats.” J Am Vet Med Assoc 240(5): 570-576.

Newbury, S. and K. F. Hurley (2012). Population Management. Shelter Medicine for Veterinarians and Staff. L. Miller and S. Zawistowski. Ames, Iowa, Blackwell Publishing: 93-114.

Hurley, K. F. and P. A. Pesavento (2012). Disease recognition and diagnostic testing. Shelter Medicine for Veterinarians and Staff. L. Miller and S. Zawistowski. Ames, Iowa, Blackwell Publishing.

Welborn, L. V., J. G. DeVries, Ford, R., Franklin, R.T., Hurley, K.F., McClure, K.D., Paul, M.A. , Schultz, R.D. (2011). “2011 AAHA canine vaccination guidelines.” J Am Anim Hosp Assoc 47(5): 1-42.

Kruger, E. F., B. A. Byrne, Pesavento, P., Hurley, K.F., Lindsay, L.L., Sykes, J.E.,  (2010). “Relationship between clinical manifestations and pulsed-field gel profiles of Streptococcus canis isolates from dogs and cats.” Vet Microbiol.

Newbury, S.P., Blinn, M.K., Bushby, P.A., Cox, C.B., Dinnage, J.D., Griffin, B., Hurley, K.F., Isaza, N., Jones, W., Miller, L., O’Quin, J., Patronek, G.J., Smith-Blackmore, M., Spindel, M. (2010). “Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters”, The Association of Shelter Veterinarians.

Miller, L. and Hurley, K.F., (2009) “Infectious disease management in animal shelters” Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Ames, Iowa., 400 pages.

Drazenovich, TL, Fascetti AJ, Westermeyer HD, Sykes JE, Bannasch MJ, Kass, PH, Hurley, KF, Maggs, DJ. (2009) “Effects of dietary lysine supplementation on upper respiratory and ocular disease and detection of infectious organisms in cats within an animal shelter.” “Effects of dietary lysine supplementation on upper respiratory disease and infectious organism shedding in cats within an animal shelter.”  Am J Vet Res 70(11): 1391-1400.

Hurley, K. F. and C. J. Baldwin (2008). “Developing Infectious Disease Policies and Procedures in an Animal Shelter”. Maddie’s Infection Control Manual for Animal Shelters. C. A. Petersen, G. Dvorak and A. R. Spickler. Des Moines, Iowa, Colorfx: 66-79.

Pesavento, P. A., Hurley K.F., et al. (2008). “A clonal outbreak of acute fatal hemorrhagic pneumonia in intensively housed (shelter) dogs caused by Streptococcus equi subsp. zooepidemicus.” Vet Pathol 45(1): 51-3.

Timmins, R. P., Hurley, K.F., K. D. Cliff, et al. (2007). “Enhancing quality of life for dogs and cats in confined situations.” Animal Welfare16(Supplement 1): 83-87.

Pesavento, P. A., Hurley, K.F., Bannasch, M.J. et al. (2007). “Fatal Streptococcus canis infections in intensively housed shelter cats.” Vet Pathol 44(2): 218-21.

Hurley, K. F. Feline infectious disease control in shelters. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract 2005; 35(1): 21-37.

Hurley K.F., Pesavento PA, Pedersen NC, Poland AM, Wilson E, Foley JE. An outbreak of virulent systemic feline calicivirus disease. J Am Vet Med Assoc. Jan 15 2004;224(2):241-249.

Hurley K.F., Sykes JE. Update on feline calicivirus: new trends. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract. Jul 2003;33(4):759-772.

Hurley K.F. Implementing a population health plan in an animal shelter: goal setting, data collection and monitoring, and policy development. In: Miller L, Zawistowski S, eds. Shelter Medicine for Veterinarians and Staff. Ames, Iowa: Blackwell Publishing; 2004:211-235.