The purpose of this program is to provide undergraduate students interested in shelter medicine the opportunity to experience all aspects of care of shelter animals. Upon completion of the program the student will have a better understanding of shelter husbandry, animal behavior in a shelter environment, and shelter Veterinary medicine. The student will also receive a certificate of completion from the Veterinary Professions Advising Center.
Stage 1: Animal Enrichment (10 hours)
- Dog exercising
- Animal socialization: fearful dogs, puppies, cats, pocket pets
- Distribution of toys
- Teach dogs basic manners
In order to proceed to the next section of the program, the student must pass a quiz on the tasks and demonstrate the ability to safely approach and remove dogs from kennels, apply walking harnesses correctly, and pick up and hold cats, kittens, puppies, and pocket pets.
Stage 2: Assisting the Health Care Technicians in Receiving (15 hours)
- Assist in the processing of animals including administering de-worming medication, flea treatment, and vaccinations
- Assist in venipuncture for heartworm or FIV/FeLV testing
- Photograph animals as they enter and load images onto the Center website
- Assist in delivering medication
In order to proceed to the next section, the student must pass a quiz on the information learned in this portion of the internship.
Stage 3: Animal Husbandry (10 hours)
- Feeding and watering cats/dogs/pocket pets
- Cleaning and sterilizing feeding bowls and toys
- Cleaning kennels or cages for cats/dogs/pocket pets
- Preparation for the next day such as stocking litter boxes or food
In order to proceed to the next section of the program, the student must pass a quiz on the tasks. Students must also demonstrate the ability to identify signals of aggression in dogs and cats.
Stage 4: Assisting the Veterinary Staff (15 hours)
- Clean instruments and wrap surgical packs
- Check animal health status
- Identify animals in need of medical attention
- Assist with patient preparation for surgery
- Assist with restrain of animals for physical examinations
To pass the final section of the program, the student will receive literature about common shelter illnesses and diseases and be quizzed on the information.
Several sections of the program can be physically demanding such as husbandry, dog walking, restraint in receiving, etc. Any student with any chronic injuries should consult their doctor prior to beginning the program. Any student that has any allergies to dogs, cats, rabbits, etc. should consult their doctor prior to beginning the program.
At the end of the internship, students will have gained:
- 50 clinical hours in a shelter environment
- Personal and professional growth in animal care
- Increased knowledge and understanding of animal care in a shelter environment
- The opportunity to assist the animals that reside in the Center by providing compassionate care and enrichment during all stages of the program
- Networking opportunities with shelter staff and affiliated animal and veterinary professionals
- Animal and veterinary experience
Additionally, students are allowed to continue volunteering and using the experience for animal/veterinary hours for vet school requirements once they complete the internship.
Application Requirements and Procedures
Due to COVID-19, the Shelter Medicine Internship is currently unavailable until Fall 2021. Fall 2021 application information will be sent via the VetPAC Listserv on July 15th, 2021
This program has 3 internship opportunities per year: spring, summer, and fall.
Students can apply to the program by submitting a resume, unofficial transcript, letter of intent, and VetPAC Student Code of Conduct 2020 via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Interviews will be conducted after the application period has closed.
The student must be a current NCSU student with at least a 3.0 GPA. The program is open to all students who are committed to the program. No credit will be given for not completing every portion of the program.
Strong applicants are preferred to have morning availability, a willingness to learn, and a passion for veterinary medicine.
Attainment of Certificate:
The certification program will be overseen by the WCAC volunteer Coordinator, veterinary staff of the Center, VetPAC Internship Co-Coordinators, and Dr. Trivedi. The certificate will be awarded to the student upon completion by VetPAC.