A Veterinary Workforce for the Critical Unmet Needs in Animal Welfare

This is a transitional time for the animal welfare field as growing demand for animal-friendly solutions is challenging traditional sheltering paradigms. At the same time, a growing national shortage of veterinarians skilled in Shelter Medicine and high-quality high-volume spay/neuter is threatening to slow momentum for life-saving programs.

Most newly graduated veterinarians in North America are specifically trained for private practice and lack the specialized training and technical skills required for shelter practice. That’s why the Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida developed programs tailored for veterinary students and new veterinarian graduates to train with expert faculty at the University and alongside seasoned veterinarians in shelters in real-world shelter practice.

Training Programs for Passionate Veterinarians

The Professional Certificate in Shelter Medicine is one of the most comprehensive training programs for veterinary students in the world. Certificate students complete a rigorous set of elective courses and immersive hands-on shelter trainings to prepare for day-one shelter practice readiness, particularly where a mentor is available to facilitate their ongoing professional development.

The Shelter Medicine Internship recruits top-performing senior veterinary students from across the country to join a year-long next-level program for newly graduated veterinarians who can then enter shelter practice at a more advanced level, practice more independently, help shelters update their protocols, and contribute to more impactful programs.

Both veterinary student and veterinarian training programs build critical competency and confidence in the broad scope of Shelter Medicine practice. This includes skills in shelter animal care, disease outbreak intervention, animal cruelty investigations, disaster response, public health, shelter animal behavior, animal welfare, trauma care, high‐quality high‐volume spay neuter, special surgeries, and leadership.

Our Shelter Medicine internship, residency, and continuing education alumni are a uniquely talented pool of compassionate veterinarians who have gone on to become veterinary school faculty, leaders in international animal welfare organizations, shelter directors, shelter veterinarians, and surgeons. They can be found working fulltime in animal welfare, serving as consultants to their local shelter, staffing low-cost access-to-care clinics, supporting shelters and rescues through their private veterinary practices, or volunteering their time to help the animals that need them the most.