At Iowa State University's College of Veterinary Medicine, students begin their surgical training in their very first semester.
And that training runs throughout the entire four years a student spends on campus.
The College of Veterinary Medicine teams up with area shelters and rescues to provide free wellness and spay/neuter care for shelter and rescue animals in the college's hospital facilities. Participating shelters and rescues bring their new animals to Iowa State where 3rd year veterinary students, under the supervision of clinicians, provide medical assessments and preventive care, as well as spay/neuter surgeries as part of their Surgical Education Program.
During the surgical laboratory class students will conduct:
- Multiple medical exams before and after surgery to ensure the patient is healthy for surgery and experiences a normal recovery
- Evaluation pre-operative bloodwork including red blood cell counts, total protein, blood glucose, kidney indicators, fecal parasite exams and urinalysis
- Multiple pain scoring examinations and responsibility for making sure the patient has adequate pain control
- Medication administration including becoming familiar with the common protocols and products for vaccines, deworming and prevention of heartworm, fleas and ticks
- Diagnosis and treatment of common problems encountered in pets including ear, skin and urinary infections, internal and external parasites, eye problems, skin masses and minor wounds
- Perform spay/neuter surgeries
The program provides students the opportunity to learn about canine and feline preventative care for all life cycles including vaccines and parasite treatment, prevention and productions. This has a significant impact on preparing students for their fourth year clinical rotations and life as a veterinarian.
At the conclusion of the 2017 spring semester, the veterinary students have helped almost 600 dogs and cats from 20 shelters on their journey to forever home.
The program has also evolved including a 2nd year surgery lab where students neutered 32 tom cats during the 2017 spring semester during a live surgery laboratory.
Learn more about the program
- Participating local animal shelters from whom you can adopt an animal
- General program information for animal shelters
Thank you to our industry sponsors who have provided assistance for the program in 2016-17:
- Bayer Animal Health
- Ceva Animal Health
- IDEXX Laboratories
- Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedia, Inc.
"The Junior Surgery and Community Outreach Program helped me gain confidence, valuable experience and reminded me why I was willing to go to four more years of college to be a veterinarian. I gained my first real doctor-like experience due to this program, when one of my patients didn't recover well from anesthesia and surgery. I took care of my cold, depressed, trembling patient throughout the night. It allowed me to see first-hand how my efforts made a real impact on her recovery. The experience greatly improved my confidence in my own abilities to problem solve and treat patients. It is extremely gratifying to know that she is now healthy and happily adopted.
– Hilary Opdahl
Class of 2018