In 2003, under the direction of UW-School of Veterinary Medicine veterinarians Sandra Newbury and Karen Moriello, a group of volunteers worked out of a cramped 1960’s pink trailer behind DCHS’s main shelter. Inside, they were developing a program for successfully treating cats with ringworm in a shelter setting. For more than six years the groundbreaking Dermatophyte Treatment Program (DTP) offered a second chance to more than 400 cats who were treated and cured of ringworm.
By 2009 it was evident that the trailer could no longer serve as a home to the DTP. The roof leaked, the floor had holes, the windows were drafty and it had numerous fire code violations. Plans were drawn up for a new state-of-the-art center and fundraising began.
In October 2010, DCHS welcomed its first patients into the new spacious and modern treatment facility. Now named Maddie’s Felines In Treatment (F.I.T.) Center, the facility boasts a beautiful design that provides the cats a peaceful home while under treatment. Volunteers have plenty of room to work and upgrades included laundry, a dishwasher and a restroom.
Over the years more improvements came. In 2013, we enhanced our cleaning protocols. In 2018, caging was expanded, giving each resident three times the space they had before. This improved our ability to treat large litters as well as moms with kittens.
In 2019, Dr. Moriello retired from the vet school and DCHS vets took over reading and monitoring resident cats’ treatment cultures. We no longer had to transport our cultures to the vet school so we could start them the day we took them. This allows us to monitor treatment in real time and helped cut our average length of stay to an amazing 25 days!
As we observe the 10th anniversary of Maddie’s F.I.T. Center, we celebrate more than 1,245 cats that have healed thanks to this amazing program.