Gaining surgical experience in a shelter environment is essential for any veterinary student. The more we practice how to use the spay hook or how to do intradermal sutures, the more confident we will become. Here I wanted to share some great shelter medicine opportunities to gain more surgical experience or explore this field.
- ASPCA Humane Alliance Externship is a two-week (40 hours/week) unpaid learning opportunity that provides excellent spay/neuter surgical instruction and techniques. The program is for 4th-year veterinary students attending AVMA-accredited colleges who have completed at least the course and clinical surgery portion of their veterinary training (not rotations). A $125 program fee (required admin fee + dorm fee) and a Student Intern Permit application will be needed. On-campus dorm-style accommodation is provided.
- Atlanta Humane Society Shelter Externship is a two or three-week externship (40 hours/week) that allows students to perform routine spay and neuter surgeries on shelter animals, ancillary surgeries, or dental procedures depending on the student’s prior experience. You can also participate in disaster response and consultation with other shelters. VCA Animal Hospitals provides a grant that will cover students with a food and lodging stipend during the program. Students must be in their senior year of veterinary school and have completed their small animal surgery rotation.
- BARC Animal Shelter and Adoptions Externship takes place in Houston, Texas, and is the only shelter in this city. It allows students to participate in 2-week or 4-week rotations, working 40 hours a week ($10.00 per hour). This program will be available during May, June, July, and August, but later months may be available upon request. Students must be in their 3rd or 4th year at an accredited veterinary school (some exceptions will be made for 2nd-year students). The program would only accept 4-8 students to improve learning opportunities.
- Houston Humane Society Externship is open to 3rd or 4th-year veterinary students at an accredited veterinary school (some exceptions will be made for 2nd-year students). Students can participate in 2-week or 4-week rotations and will be working 40 hours a week. This externship will be available during May, June, July, and August (other months may be available upon request). The program would only accept 2-4 students per rotation.