Vertically integrated educational collaboration between a college of veterinary medicine and a non-profit animal shelter.J Vet Med Educ. 2008 Winter; 35(4):637-40.JV
The College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences (CVMBS) at Texas A&M University (TAMU) has developed a multifaceted program in partnership with the Brazos Animal Shelter to provide teaching opportunities with shelter animals during all four years of the professional curriculum. In the first three semesters of the professional program, students working in small groups spend two hours per semester at the shelter performing physical examinations, administering vaccinations and anthelmintics, completing heartworm or FeLV/FIV testing, and performing simple medical treatments. In an expanded fourth-year program, groups of six students spend 16 contact hours at the shelter during two-week rotations, completing similar tasks. Through this program, each student practices animal-handling skills and routine procedures on an average of 150 to 200 dogs and cats. In addition, during third- and fourth-year surgery courses, student teams spay or neuter an average of 12 to 18 dogs or cats each week. More than 800 animals are spayed/neutered annually through this program, and each student directly participates in 12 to 15 spay/neuter survival surgeries. The program represents a creative approach to veterinary training that conscientiously uses animal resources in a positive fashion. We believe that this is a successful partnership between a state-supported veterinary college and a non-profit shelter that benefits both agencies. We encourage other veterinary colleges to explore similar partnership opportunities to provide optimal training for professional students while using animal resources efficiently.