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 for spay/neuter surgical rotations via the VCA San Francisco Veterinary Specialists internship program. We do not currently offer an in-house internship program for veterinary post-graduates.

Student externs are scheduled according to their interests and can participate in the following modules based on availability:

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. 

Community Cares Program

Our Community Cares Program provides experience with feral cat outreach, spay-neuter and treatment and coordinates our twice-monthly vaccine 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 with shelter volunteer experience from schools offering shelter medicine curricula. In addition, any student extern may shadow shelter medicine care appointments at the Pacific Heights campus.  Students planning a career in shelter medicine can apply to spend time in our main shelter at the Mission campus.  Pre-requisites are required.

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.  Clinical shadowing is limited at this time.

Other Opportunities

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