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Spay/Neuter Externships

Goals for Spay/Neuter Externships

  • Increase efficiency and skill in performing spay/neuter surgery.
  • Understand safe and effective anesthetic and analgesic protocols.
  • Implement techniques to improve efficiency in a high quality, high volume setting (i.e. smaller incisions, pedicle ties, Miller’s knots, flank spays, etc.).
  • Learn safe and efficient techniques for pediatric sterilization.
  • Learn safe and effective techniques for feral cat sterilization, if available.
  • Enhance technical skills such as intravenous catheter placement, tracheal intubation, and surgical preparation.

Approved Agencies

The agencies listed below have been reviewed and are qualifying externships at University of Florida, unless otherwise noted. If you are interested in pursuing an externship at an agency not listed here, visit the Host an Extern page to access the application for new agencies.

Click on the agency names below  to learn more about their externship program.


Humane Alliance of WNC, Inc.

View detailed externship information.  | Visit the agency website.

Humane Alliance offers senior veterinary students an exciting off-campus experience that introduces them to the concentration of high-volume high-quality spay/neuter, the choice that saves lives. Course work includes intensive hands-on medical and surgical experience. This encompasses every aspect of a patient’s experience with us including disease control, patient assessment and selection, behavior, patient preparation, mechanics of sterile surgical technique, record keeping, anesthetic and pain management protocol, and patient monitoring and support. We provide service to healthy canines and/or felines that are good surgical candidates. Our 13,000-square foot facility has six surgery suites and can accommodate 250 patients at one time.

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Humane Society of Greater Miami

View detailed externship information. | Visit the agency website.

We have a limited intake cat and dog shelter here in North Miami Beach, Fl that houses about 60 to 105 dogs (variation due to size) and 45 to 70 cats. We also have a quarantine building on site that houses an additional 40 dogs and 8 cats. We have 2 full time veterinarians on staff and we have 2 per diem part time vets that help with our clinic surgeries. We have a clinic within our shelter and another clinic about 30 miles south. Our clinics provide low cost spay/ neuter and preventive care (heartworm tests, vaccination, etc.) The extern would be exposed to a variety of shelter medicine, customer care, clinic procedures, and the opportunity to participate in surgery.

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First Coast No More Homeless Pets

View detailed externship information. | Visit the agency website.

First Coast No More Homeless Pets was established in 2001 to end euthanasia of healthy cats and dogs in Jacksonville, FL. It is toward that mission that all of our activities are directed. Our purpose in establishing a veterinary student externship is primarily to expose students to the emerging field of high quality, high volume, spay/neuter and to turn their thoughts toward finding a solution to pet overpopulation. Students who are thus exposed are more likely to consider this potential career path and be sympathetic toward such efforts when they enter private practice in the future.

In April 2009, FCNMHP moved into a 16,000 sq ft newly renovated facility designed to handle 200 sterilization surgeries and 75 outpatient visits per day. As of summer 2011, we are 2/3 of the way toward that daily volume. We employ 5-6 full time veterinarians and 50 staff members. There are 6 surgery tables, 5 prep stations, 12 anesthesia machines, as well as IV pumps, pulse oximeters, lab equipment, exam rooms and dental equipment.

Students will have the opportunity to participate in pre-surgical exams, cat and dog sterilization surgeries as well as additional procedures such as enucleations, limb amputations, wound treatments, etc, as needed for the pets of area animal control agencies, rescue groups and low income pet owners. If desired, students may also help in the outpatient clinic which sees routine wellness cases as well as minor injuries and illnesses.

Responsibilities of the student include learning the details of our anesthesia, prep and surgery protocols, demonstrating the abilities to screen surgical patients, complete a spay or neuter procedure in a timely manner, induce and maintain anesthesia, monitor recovery and provide follow up care as needed.

Discount hotel accommodations are available at the Microtel Inn and Suites at Jacksonville Airport, which is 9 miles (15 minutes) from the FCNMHP clinic. Mention First Coast No More Homeless Pets to get the special contract rate of $40/night plus tax.

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Humane Society of Tampa Bay

View detailed externship information  | Visit the agency website.

Our mission at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay is “Dedicated to ending animal homelessness and providing care and comfort for companion animals in need.”  In 2012, the Animal Health Center veterinarians performed over 12000 low-cost sterilization surgeries on companion animals and sterilized over 6500 feral cats.  Our new facility has been designed with a main surgery suite with 5 tables for routine surgeries and a single “special surgery” suite for longer or more complicated procedures.  Companion dogs and cats are the primary focus, although a few rabbit sterilizations are performed monthly.  An spay/neuter extern should expect to perform 40-60 sterilization procedures during their rotation, as well as become proficient at endotracheal intubation techniques, intravenous catheterization, and sterile technique.  The extern will likely also have opportunities to observe or assist in mass removals, inguinal hernia repairs, eye enucleation, cystotomies, and dental cleanings, depending on the schedule through our special surgery team.  The extern is expected to participate in all areas of our surgical day, from patient exams, medical recording,  patient prep, surgery, recovery, discharge and clean up.

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Miami-Dade Animal Services

View detailed externship information. | Visit the agency website.

An average of 97 animals are abandoned at Animal Services each day. The veterinary technicians are responsible for performing the initial physical exams and distinguishing between normal and abnormal. Externs would be an asset to the shelter and assist in this process while gaining valuable experience performing physical examinations. Two veterinarians are scheduled each day. One veterinarian works in the rabies clinic that is open to the public for rabies vaccines and micro-chipping. That veterinarian is also responsible for examining all sick/injured animals admitted to the shelter and developing their treatment plan. Equipment would include stethoscopes, a microscope, and a wood’s lamp. The second veterinarian is scheduled in spay/neuter surgery. Approximately 25-28 surgeries are performed daily. Equipment includes heart monitors and anesthesia machines.

The extern responsibilities would include performing physical exams, assisting with treatments such as bandage changes, medicating, etc., monitoring animals under anesthesia and during the recovery process, surgery, and assisting the veterinarian in the rabies/microchip clinic.

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Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control

View detailed externship information. | Visit the agency website.

Palm Beach County Shelter Medicine Externship Program is focused on mentoring Veterinary Students in all aspects of Herd Management. The externship will cover the following rotations:

  • Surgery: mainly spay/neuter surgeries, however occasional surgeries, such as, leg/ tail amputations, enucleations, wound repairs, etc will be performed.
  • Customer service: adoption processing, lost and found, relinquishment processing, customer education. Dispatch: student will learn how complaints and animal emergencies are handled over the the phone.
  • Spay Shuttle: low-cost mobile spay/neuter clinic where the student will be able to learn from incoming processing, paperwork, animal pre-anesthesia injection, induction and anesthesia maintenance, surgical preparation, discharge of patients, and post surgery instructions.
  • Cruelty cases processing: including necropsies.
  • Shelter Rounds: assessing the well-being of all animals in the shelter. Veterinary Physical Examination and Behavior Assessment: assessment of animals to go to the adoption program.
  • Incoming emergencies: assessment of Sick and Injured incoming animals, diagnosis, and formulation of treatments. Field trip: the student will work one day at the side of an ACO (Animal Control Officer), responding to public complaints related to animals.

Our goal is to mentor every Veterinary Student Extern that comes through our doors in a wide variety of Shelter Medicine skills, and to help them to truly comprehend the concept of herd management. Our vision is to see these students working with their local shelters, regardless of their chosen specialty, as volunteers, performing spay/neuter surgeries, doing pro-bono work, educating their patient owners about pet overpopulation, and embracing new adopters and their adopted animals to minimize their return to shelter, etc.

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