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Practical Shelter Medicine Training

“I have spent the last two weeks working with the staff and volunteers of HSGM during which time I have improved my surgical skills, learned a great deal about the workings of an adoption guarantee shelter, and helped in the daily medical treatments of the residents of the shelter.”

—Carrie Coffey, Class of 2011 Maddie’s® Extern


Christine Glenn, Class of 2011 Maddie's® Extern

Maddie’s® Shelter Medicine Program provides students with the highest quality training and education in Shelter Medicine. In addition to providing a series of lecture courses in shelter medicine topics, we count on Shelter Partners to assist us in providing practical training during student externships.

Shelters participating in the student externship program strive to adhere to the ASV Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters.

How it Works

Externships generally last two weeks, and may be longer depending on the agency.  During a Shelter Medicine externship, most of a student’s externship time will be spent working with a veterinarian in the shelter, but some time may be spent with technicians, kennel staff, animal control officers, and front office staff to gain a full appreciation of the wide range of shelter activities. The student will participate in daily rounds with a veterinarian on most days. During a Spay/Neuter externship, students will spend the majority of their time developing their surgical proficiency while also exploring the facets of successful high-quality-high-volume Spay/Neuter programs.

In conjunction with full-time attendance at each shelter for a minimum of two weeks, participating students must complete the following tasks in order to receive shelter medicine credit: 

  • Report/Activity Log: an overview of what the student did each day, what they learned, and how their overall experience was. This must include photos.

Please refer to official UF College of Veterinary Medicine policies to ensure that your externship meets requirements for college credit.

More details about these requirements can be found on eLearning upon your externship enrollment. You can also contact the Maddie’s Student Services Coordinator regarding questions about externship requirements at 352-294-4509.

“The staff at HCAS were amazing, to say the least. There were 3 veterinarians on staff, many technicians, an investigation team, a rescue liaison (who works to get the animals on the euthanasia list into a foster home or rescue before their time is up), and animal control officers. During my two weeks, I got to work with every team to see what their job entailed.”

—Christine Glenn, Class of 2011 Maddie’s® Extern


Externship Locations

We have compiled a listing of approved externships in Shelter Medicine and Spay/Neuter. Externship programs must be approved by MSMP to count for Certificate or award credit. If an agency you’d like to work with is not listed, please have them contact us about developing an externship.

Maddie’s® Externship Award

Thanks to the generosity of Maddie’s Fund®, a number of awards are available to recognize commitment to excellence in shelter medicine practice among junior and senior veterinary students.

For Shelters and Veterinarians

Are you interested in hosting a Shelter Medicine or spay/neuter extern? Learn more about how to sign up.