The Pennsylvania SPCA Kicks-off Veterinary Externship Program
Fourth –year veterinary students from all over the United States are coming to Philadelphia this year to learn about animal shelter medicine as the Pennsylvania SPCA kick-offs a new externship program. Beginning on Monday, Jan. 3, selected veterinary students arrived at the Pennsylvania SPCA to participate in the first session of an intensive two-week training program.
“We are excited to have these students here knowing that we are exposing them to the important issues of animal cruelty and neglect and the world of animal sheltering,” said Susan Cosby, CEO of the Pennsylvania SPCA. “It is gratifying to know that our highly skilled and compassionate staff is actively involved in training the next generation of veterinarians to carry on the mission of organizations like ours.”
The purpose of the program is to teach veterinary students about all aspects of shelter medicine, according to Aime Berman, V.M.D., director of veterinary medicine for the Pennsylvania SPCA. “They will gain insight into how a shelter runs, how to care for shelter animals and how practicing veterinary medicine in a shelter differs from general practice,” she said.
“Up to this point in their education, a lot of the information they have received about animal shelters in general has been from a book or classroom,” said Dr. Berman. “Our program will give them a hands-on learning experience.” Monday through Saturday of each week, students will observe and assist the Pennsylvania SPCA’s veterinary staff in its clinic and surgery programs as well as attend learning modules in animal management within a shelter, disease management and prevention, adoption programs and animal behavior among others. In addition, each student will have an assigned shelter dog and cat to work with for the duration of their stay.
Up to four students will participate in each two-week session allowing for a highly personalized hands-on learning experience. Thus far, veterinary students from the University of Pennsylvania, Cornell University, Mississippi State University, University of Wisconsin and the University of Minnesota are scheduled to participate in the ongoing externship program over the next several months.