Shelter Practice Clerkship: VEM 5864

Dr. Larry Garcia and students at the Shelter Practice Clerkship

Course Numbers:

  • VEM 5864

Two-week elective clinical rotation

Credit Hours:


Clerkship Overview

Students in the Shelter Practice Clerkship will play a leading role in providing the life-saving care needed to prepare animals in the local shelter for new homes. At the same time, they will learn to balance the needs of individual animals with the overall health of the population.

Students examine a shelter dog during the Shelter Practice Clerkship

Students will participate in all aspects of shelter medicine, using their skills in preventive medicine, diagnostic procedures, behavior modification, medical treatment, dentistry, and surgery to prevent disease in healthy pets and to rehabilitate animals with health and behavior issues so they can be adopted. Students will also contribute to cruelty case examinations, record keeping, nutrition, housing, and biosecurity.

On a population level, students will participate in rounds, shelter data analysis, zoonotic and species-specific infectious disease control, animal welfare assessment, disease outbreak management, facilities management, and public health and safety.

Students will practice their communication skills during face-to-face interactions with culturally diverse faculty, house officers, shelter staff, volunteers, pet owners, potential adopters, and animal rescue agencies and by keeping accurate electronic and paper medical records, developing standard operating procedures, preparing budget estimates, and creating checklists, signage, and hand-outs appropriate for the shelter audience.

See the syllabi for specific activities includes in the clerkship.