Archived News

New Veterinary Surgery Program To Aid Shelter Animals

October 10, 2003

University of California, Davis

October 10, 2003

Surgical services for shelter dogs and cats will be broadened next year at the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine through a new program aimed at expanding training opportunities for future veterinarians and improving chances for finding homes for more companion animals at local animal shelters.

Currently, the school requires third-year veterinary students to take a surgical course during which they perform spay and neuter surgeries on shelter animals, which are then returned to the shelter for adoption.

For many years, third-year students also have had the option to further their surgical training through an elective course in which shelter dogs that have been deemed unfit for adoption underwent non-recovery, or terminal, surgeries, rather than being euthanized at the shelter.

That terminal-surgery elective has been discontinued and will be replaced in the summer of 2004 by a new course that builds on the spay-neuter program to include other surgical treatments needed by dogs and cats in area shelters. These procedures will include treating and closing wounds, repairing fractured bones and removing foreign objects.

During this course, students will be responsible for all aspects of pre-surgery evaluation, surgery, anesthesia, recovery and follow-up care. Once animals have healed, they will be returned to the shelter for adoption.

"The School of Veterinary Medicine has a longstanding commitment to reducing the number of animals used in teaching and research, while maintaining the quality of training provided to our veterinary students," said John Pascoe, executive associate dean of the school. "Completion of a new state-of-the-art surgical teaching facility has enabled us to develop this course, which will offer the highest quality learning experience for future veterinarians and benefit surrounding communities by providing the surgical treatments that are needed to move some dogs and cats from area animal shelters into caring adoptive homes."

The School of Veterinary Medicine is working with animal shelters in Sacramento, Solano and Yolo counties to provide surgical treatments for their dogs and cats.

Media contact(s):

* Pat Bailey, UC Davis News Service, (530) 752-9843,

Additional contact(s):

* John Pascoe, School of Veterinary Medicine, (530) 752-1324,  (Out until Oct. 13)

* Janet Ilkiw, School of Veterinary Medicine, (530) 752-6760,