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Description of Elective Experience:

Description: The Best Friends Veterinary Externship Program gives fourth-year Veterinary students hands-on experience in a unique shelter medicine setting. The Best Friends clinic serves the medical needs of all Best Friends Animal Sanctuary animals (dogs, cats, horses, pigs, goats, parrots, rabbits, guinea pigs and various other mammals, reptiles, and amphibians).

This two, three or four-week program gives externs hands-on experience with:

  • Participating in medical rounds
  • Making diagnoses
  • Offering treatment recommendations
  • Conducting scheduled appointments
  • Assisting in emergency situations
  • Completing special projects, as assigned
  • Performing spay/neuter surgeries and other surgical procedures (depending on prior surgical experience and current caseload)
  • Interpreting diagnostic testing and providing opinions about the medical treatment animals are receiving

You may also be asked to:

  • Perform general care of patients, such as feeding, walking and cleaning living areas
  • Do laboratory work (e.g., fecals, urinalysis, preparing lab samples)
  • Assist in cleaning the clinic at the end of the day
  • Perform other duties, as assigned

Time commitment:

  • 40 hours per week for two, three, or four weeks, externs may be asked to assist with emergencies outside of business hours
  • Daily schedule may vary (typically M-F, 8a-5p)
  • Days off may vary (typically Sat/Sun off)


  • Must be a fourth-year veterinary student or equivalent level in a three- or five-year program.
  • Must have reliable transportation (motorized vehicle) in order to get to various areas of the Sanctuary, which are spread out over several miles.
  • Must have genuine interest in animal welfare and shelter medicine.
  • Must be able to understand and adhere to all safety rules.
  • Must be able to remain calm and focused during emergent situations.
  • Must demonstrate initiative to listen to instructions, ask questions to clarify if needed, and ensure that tasks are carried out correctly.
  • Must have positive attitude and enjoy working with volunteers, staff and public clients.
  • Must ensure that all responsibilities are completed effectively and in a timely manner.
  • Must be able to communicate effectively through oral and written communication.

Physical requirements:

  • Must be able to routinely lift up to 25 pounds.
  • Must be able to remain in a stationary position for long periods of time.
  • Must be comfortable performing strenuous physical activity daily, including but not limited to walking, bending, lifting, carrying, twisting, reaching, stooping and squatting, and ascending and descending ladders.
  • Must be comfortable and confident interacting with physically strong dogs, such as when walking them on a leash or restraining them for medical procedures.

This is an unpaid externship. Housing is not provided. All expenses including living expenses and travel are the responsibility of the extern. Upon acceptance into the program, externs with genuine financial needs can apply for scholarships to assist with housing and travel expenses.

Please note that space is limited. Applications are accepted on a first come, first serve basis. There are multiple two, three, and four-week sessions offered per year. Each session can accommodate one extern. We typically schedule students 18-24 months in advance of their desired rotation dates.

Description of Elective Experience:

Student will experience the role of a aquatic animal diagnostician within an academic setting.  Learning will take place through diagnostic cases submitted by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, specifically from the Fisheries Division; Tours of the Oneida Fish Hatchery and Cayuga Inlet Fish Ladder where health assessments of walleyes and sea lamprey will take place; and Sample analyses of Hudson River and Long Island Sound Striped Bass Populations for mycobacteriosis.

Description of Elective Experience:

Small animal practice with a focus in wellness care, sick/emergency, surgery

Description of Elective Experience:

General private practice of small animal medicine and surgery. 

Description of Elective Experience:

Students will shadow clinicians throughout their day, including participating in consults, client communications, treatments and procedures, case discussions and treatment decisions.

Description of Elective Experience:

Independently owned, rural, companion-animal, general practice.


Description of Elective Experience:

1:1 DVM shadowing, case review and rounding, assist with procedures depending on comfort level  

Description of Elective Experience:

Regionalization Evaluation Services (RES) evaluates the animal health statuses of foreign regions and assesses the risk of disease introduction via animal commodities for import into the United States. We follow science- and risk-based approaches that are consistent with APHIS obligations under international trade agreements. Externs would participate in projects as assigned, as well as opportunities to shadow Veterinary Services (VS) personnel both virtually and in-person. Past students have completed short projects and developed oral presentations. Externs may also be able to shadow VS personnel carrying out duties in the field, such as inspecting animals or animal facilities. When externs are not meeting with VS personnel or working on projects, we expect they will complete self-paced learning activities including Incident Command System (ICS) training and National Veterinary Accreditation Program (NVAP) modules.

Description of Elective Experience:

Westfield Animal Hospital is an AAHA accredited veterinary clinic and is a part of Pet Vet Care Centers. As part of this externship, students will mimic the RISE mentorship program to get a better understanding of not only the program, but the mentor(s) and hospital(s) as well. "The RISE Mentorship program is a rotational, immersion & skill-building, experience structured to support the transition from academia into clinical practice. Participants will be paired with an experienced mentor, while they practice medicine and manage their own caseload."

Description of Elective Experience:

Externship at Saint Francis Animal Hospital in Saint Cloud Florida. Experience to include routine physical exams, radiology, surgeries, sonography, echocardiography, dentistry, record keeping, anesthesiology, laboratory interpretation, treatments, time management and other aspects of veterinary. medicine.