Shelter Medicine

Helping Shelter Animals in Louisiana

The Shelter Medicine Program was developed in 2007 using a generous grant from HSUS and is currently sustained by grants. The program’s purpose is to provide a comprehensive educational experience for veterinary students in the setting of local animal shelters.

Students gain valuable veterinary medical experience by working under direct supervision of veterinary school faculty, to serve the needs of un-owned pets in animal shelters. Shelters in southern Louisiana have become the primary educational settings. The program addresses spay/neuter, management issues, infectious disease outbreaks and preventative medicine for pets housed in shelter settings.

Community/Disaster Medicine and Pet Population Dynamics Courses

Each year an elective course is offered to veterinary students focusing on shelter medicine and surgery. This course covers community and preventative/wellness care medicine, animal forensics, population dynamics, and disaster medicine. 

Clinical Shelter Medicine Rotation

A 2-week service-learning rotation is offered to veterinary students during their fourth year of veterinary education.The rotation addresses the needs of medical and spay/neuter surgeries in local animal shelters. The rotation allows students to actively participate in the medical assessment and treatment of un-owned pets. Students who are enrolled in this course travel with faculty to shelters in the southeast Louisiana region. Students gain experience in primary care medicine and surgery. They are also instructed in the need for community education and involvement. Veterinary students also participate in programs geared towards educating grade school students on the importance of responsible pet ownership as well as the need to spay/neuter pets.

These courses constitute credit toward fulfillment of the requirements for the DVM degree in the professional veterinary curriculum. Veterinary graduates, skilled in this field will be capable of providing ongoing service to the people and pets in communities where they will eventually practice.

Community Spay/Neuter Sunday

LSU School of Veterinary Medicine also hosts a monthly high quality/high volume spay/neuter day supported and staffed by local area private practitioners—the LSU Animal Sterilization Assistance Program (LSU-ASAP). The spay/neuter day began in May 2006, and now assists animal organizations in the Baton Rouge metropolitan area. This program provides spay/neuter for cats each month. Local veterinarians, animal control agencies, and animal welfare organizations work together to control cat populations in the Greater Baton Rouge region. Volunteers from the local veterinary community, LSU faculty, residents, interns, staff, and veterinary students, along with volunteers from local animal welfare organizations work together in this highly successful program. 

Animal Shelter Partners

Numerous animal control facilities, animal rescue groups and state prison facilities have joined for the common goals of student education, animal protection and welfare, and education of staff assisting in care for these pets.