Spring/Summer Issue 2015

by Marcia Hill Gossard ’99, ’04 Ph.D.

The WSU College of Veterinary Medicine has partnered with regional humane societies to give our students an extraordinary educational opportunity in community-based, wellness-centered, primary care facilities during their final year in school. The experience better prepares them to enter the workforce after graduation.

During the first year of the program (2013-14), almost 50 students elected to participate in a rotation at the Seattle Humane Society and in 2014-15 almost 75 students participated. Once the new clinical facilities are completed at the Seattle Humane Society and the Idaho Humane Society, we will have the capacity for up to 200 rotations each year. Beginning with the class of 2016, a WSU Shelter Medicine and Surgery-Pullman rotation is available for up to 39 students.

“My experience at the Seattle Humane Society made me a much better and more confident surgeon.”
—Caitlin Dooley (’14 DVM), staff veterinarian at the Seattle Humane Society

Students on rotation at the Seattle or Boise humane societies focus on primary care and surgery. Students spend over more than half of their time performing spay and neuter surgeries to shelter owned animals; most of those surgeries are on pediatric cases (puppies and kittens under 6 months of age). The remainder of the time is spent on diagnosis and treatment. Most cases are illnesses or injuries that students will typically see when they enter private practice. Students also have the chance to observe behavioral assessments, which helps them learn how they can communicate behavioral needs to potential owners.

Students on the Pullman rotation train in primary care and spend approximately half of their time performing spay and neuter surgeries, doubling the surgical caseload. Field visits to the Whitman County Humane Society, Hope’s Haven, Humane Society of the Palouse, SpokAnimal, and the Spokane Humane Society provide outreach, animal care, consultation services, and educational opportunities such as surgery, population medicine, business models, and data tracking within real world settings.

Learn more about the Humane Society Alliance Education Program.