Intern/Extern Opportunities

The SF SPCA offers general practice externship opportunities for 3rd and 4th year veterinary candidates from U.S.-based degree programs and students in their final year of study from other countries. Students can experience a modern, full-service general practice hospital at the Mission Campus or a 24 hour emergent/preventive care facility at our Pacific Heights Campus. We are unique in that our general practice programs integrate with our shelter and community programs introducing veterinary students with an interest in rescue and welfare to a progressive shelter model.

We have a medical staff of 40+ DVMs, including a veterinary behaviorist and an internal medicine specialist, both board-certified. Student externs gain valuable experience at the SF SPCA campuses. We also host interns (first year post-graduates) for spay/neuter surgical rotations via the VCA San Francisco Veterinary Specialists internship program. We do not currently offer a comprehensive in-house internship program for veterinary post-graduates or any training to veterinarians seeking s/n surgical experience.

Student externs participate in as many of the following modules as available:

Veterinary Hospital and Emergency Services

Our Veterinary Hospitals are open seven days per week. Externs gain experience with treatment plans, client communication, gathering patient histories, surgical procedures, emergency services medicine, preventive care, dentistry and diagnostics. Students are invited to participate in daily hospital rounds and continuing education events.  Externs can choose either, the SF SPCA Mission Campus or the SF SPCA Pacific Heights Campus, formerly Pets Unlimited.

Spay-Neuter Clinic

The Spay-Neuter clinic at the SF SPCA Mission Campus hosts 3rd and 4th year students and veterinary interns.  We provide opportunities for learning quality, high volume spay and neuter techniques under the direct supervision of our surgical team. Externs from California veterinary schools are able to gain hands-on surgical experience. (Available at Mission Campus only)

Community Cares Program

Our Community Cares Program provides experience with feral cat outreach, spay-neuter and treatment and coordinates our twice-monthly vaccine clinics. (Weekend availability mostly.  Based at Mission Campus, but externs at either campus can attend clinics.)

Feline Wellness Center

Our Feline Wellness Center at the Pacific Heights campus sees thousands of feline patients per year and the Center focuses on cat-specific needs and services.

Shelter Medicine

The Shelter Medicine department hosts a limited number of 4th year students from schools offering shelter medicine curricula.   Pre-requisite shelter med experience is suggested. (Available at Mission Campus)

Behavior and Training

Our Behavior and Training programs provide opportunities to discover how we integrate positive reinforcement behavior practices into our campus programs.  We also offer public services including training classes and formal behavior assessments. The behavior module is Mission Campus-based and scheduled depending on on clinician availability. Behavior and Training class observation is open to all externs.  Please request an updated calendar of classes.

Other Opportunities

We maintain partnerships with various Bay Area rescue organizations. Spending time with organizations like Vet SOS provides invaluable rescue organization experience for students. Contact the Veterinary Staff Coordinator for more info about SF SPCA externships: