Animal Instructors Program
The “animal instructors” program for Winter/Spring 2024 is now open!
Update on Animal Instructors Program Applications
We are currently pausing the review of new applications for the Animal Instructors Program due to the high volume received. Our focus is on thoroughly evaluating the existing applications. We will reach out to those who have been accepted as soon as possible. If we are able to, we will reopen for new applications in the future. Thank you for your patience and interest in our program.
We are looking for new candidates to join our “animal instructors” program to help teach our second year students spay surgeries.
Our students have spent the last two years getting ready for their first surgical procedure and now all we need are unspayed female cat and dog animal instructors to complete our team. They will be working alongside experienced veterinary faculty members, and licensed veterinary technicians to provide our students with the highest quality surgical experience.
All animal instructors will be present for the entire portion of the three-day lab experience. They will help guide our students through a pre-surgical preparation session the day before, be the star of the show the next day for surgery, and spend the rest of the evening and following morning teaching our students post-operative care.
If you have a qualified unspayed female cat or dog who is interested in becoming one of our animal instructors and receive a free spay, sign-up below. We will be filling spots on a first-come first serve basis.
Surgery dates will be February through April.
Healthy intact (unaltered) female (girl) dog or cat (no aggressive or feral animals)
- Up to date on Distemper/Parvo (DHPP) vaccination. Must be administered by a veterinary professional (record required). Note: Two doses are required (3-4 weeks apart) if no previous vaccination history. If prior vaccination history is available then only one dose is required.
- Weight: 7 to 70 pounds
- Age: 4 months (16 weeks) or older
- No heat cycle for one month prior to surgery day
- Up to date on FVRCP vaccination. Must be administered by a veterinary professional (record required). Note: Two doses are required (3-4 weeks apart) if no previous vaccination history is available. If prior vaccination history is available then only one dose is required. If an intranasal vaccine was given only one dose is required.
- Weight: 4 to 15 pounds
- Age: 4 months (16 weeks) or older
We reserve the right to decline an animal if deemed unhealthy or doesn’t meet the criteria.
Two weeks prior to your scheduled drop-off day you will receive an email with a survey that will need to be completed. A second survey will be sent one week prior to your drop-off day. The day prior to your appointment you will receive a confirmation phone call to the phone number listed during registration.
- The drop-off location will be on the back side of the College of Veterinary Medicine near Dock D. See the maps below to help guide you to the correct location.
- Please look for the “Spay Clinic” signs to assure you get to the drop-off location.
- We will stagger drop-off times to help reduce wait times, please arrive at the drop-off location at your assigned time to help prevent delays. Drop-off will occur between 8:30-9:30 a.m.
- Once you arrive, if you do not see someone outside to greet you, please call 540-315-7188 so that we know you have arrived. We will get you and your pet checked in and ensure we have the signed consent form for participation in the program. One of the staff members will come get your pet to take them inside, do a preliminary weight and health check, and get them settled. We do ask that you plan to wait 5-10 minutes during this period while we weigh your pet to confirm that they are within the range limits, and still qualify for the program.
You can expect to receive an update phone call from the student surgeon once your pet is out of surgery on Thursday after 1 p.m. They will be contacting you at the phone number provided at registration.
What to bring:
- You shouldn’t need to bring anything with you except for your pet. Dogs: Once we are able to switch out to one of our leashes, we will ask that you take your collar(s) and/or leash back home with you. We also ask that you do not bring any soft toys, blankets, etc. that could be chewed up, shredded, ingested, etc. This will help reduce the misplacement of belongings as well as help to ensure the safety of your pet during their stay.
- Cats: PLEASE BRING IN A SECURED CARRIER. We will transport your pet in the carrier.
- If you have a special diet you would prefer your pet to be fed please bring that with you. We will get the instructions at drop-off.
- If you decide you do not want to use the e-collar we provide, you can bring the one that you prefer to use and we can fit your pet.
- You will pick up at the same location that you dropped of (near Dock D at the College of Veterinary Medicine) See the maps below to help guide you to the correct location.
- Please look for the “Spay Clinic” signs to assure you get to the pickup location.
- We will stagger pick-up times to help reduce wait times, please arrive at the pick-up location at your assigned time to help prevent delays. Pick-up will occur between 8:30-9:30 a.m.
- Once you arrive, if you do not see someone outside to greet you, please call 540-315-7188 so that we know you have arrived. One of the staff will bring your pet out to you. You will receive discharge instructions, a rabies certificate (if applicable), and pain medication for your pet.
- Discharge instructions will be gone over with you and you will be able to ask any questions that you might have.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding your pet post operatively please call 540-315-7188 or email email@example.com. If you are unable to reach someone, please leave a message and we will return your call within 12-24 hours.
Suture removal will be scheduled based on your individual pet's surgery date. This information will be confirmed when you enroll as well as included in your discharge paperwork. Suture removal is only needed for dogs. This will be provided on Tuesdays approximately 12 days after the spay. The time will vary depending on the date either 3:00-4:00 p.m. or 4:00-5:00 p.m.
- Please arrive at your scheduled time. The location will be the same as it was for drop off and pick up for the spay (near dock D, located on the back side of the College of Veterinary Medicine).
- When you arrive, if you do not see someone to greet you, please call 540-315-7188.
- It should not take any longer than 30 minutes for this appointment, most likely less. Please wait for your pet to be brought back out to you.
- Participation in this program is 100% free of charge. It covers everything from the time of drop off through discharge, including pain medication to go home and suture removal performed by us.
There is a possibility that your pet may be disqualified from having surgery for any of the following reasons:
- Once weighing your pet, if they are outside of the eligible range we will not be able to allow them to participate in the program. Dogs must be at least 7 pounds but not over 70 pounds. Cats must be at least 4 pounds but not over 15 pounds.
- If your pet is not able to be handled by the staff and/or students
- If any of the pre-surgical tests fall within ranges that would deem it unsafe for your pet to undergo anesthesia at that time.
- Any medical issues noted during the physical exam that may cause complications for the procedure to be performed in this setting. Some issues might be more minor, requiring a course of antibiotics and then re-enrollment possible (ex: skin infection where the incision would be). Others may not allow for re-enrollment (ex: higher grade heart murmur)
- Any major medical issues discovered during the physical exam of your pet will not be worked up. We will provide you with paperwork documenting what we found that can be given to your primary care veterinarian.
- Yes, as long as your dog/cat doesn’t get car sick, you can feed them. If you prefer to wait, we can offer your dog/cat breakfast once it gets settled.
- The program will cover any complications that are related to the procedure as long as the owner has followed the post-op care instructions.
- Free spay procedure for your pet
- All medications needed for the procedure including pain medication
- 4DX combination test for dogs (to check for tick borne illness and heartworms) or a Feline Leukemia/Feline AIDS combination test for cats
- Basic pre-anesthetic labwork (spot check kidney function and red blood cell volume)
- Vaccinations, if needed
- One dose of flea/tick preventative and heartworm preventative
- Nail trim and ear cleaning, if needed
- E-collar for your pet
- Optional free microchip with free lifelong registration, if your pet is not already microchipped.
- Thank you bag
- Complete the survey. If needed, we will provide two vaccination clinics for those willing to participate.
- Rabies vaccinations are not required, but if your animal is not up to date it will receive this vaccination on surgery day.
- Contact us immediately at 540-315-7188 to inform us to allow time for us to give your spot to another animal instructor. We will do our best to get you rescheduled for a later date (once your pet is better and if open spaces are available).
- Unfortunately at this time we do not have a program to accommodate male (boy) dogs and cats. We hope to be able to expand this offer at a later date. We can keep your information and if we are able to start this program we will contact you.
- Contact us immediately at 540-315-7188 to inform us. It is much safer for your pet to allow time for the heat cycle to complete to limit any potential complications or additional challenges. We will do our best to get you rescheduled. This will depend on when your initial scheduled surgical date is and the availability of open spaces we have remaining. We must wait for at least one month after heat before we can reschedule your pet.
- This only applies to dogs. Cats are not at a higher risk if they are in heat.
- Your pet will need to have strict care after surgery for 10-14 days. Every patient will go home with a sheet explaining instructions to follow along with any other pertinent information specific to them.
- Activity restrictions include: no rough play, no running (leash walk only) or jumping, and no bathing or swimming.
- Your pet will need to wear an e-collar for 10-14 days to prevent chewing and/or licking at their incision site (which can lead to infection and/or the incision site coming open). We provide a standard plastic e-collar (see example image below). If you prefer to use a different style, please ensure the fit is appropriate.
- Incision site will need to be checked daily until sutures are removed.
- Your pet will go home with pain medication. You will need to give this to your pet once a day until it has been finished.
- Dogs will have skin sutures that will need to be removed 10-14 days after surgery. We will provide a time that your pet can be brought in to have the sutures removed. If you prefer to take them to your regular veterinarian for suture removal that is ok. Please be advised we cannot cover charges that may be incurred by your regular veterinarian.
- Yes. Your pet will have to stay with us from drop-off day (the day prior to surgery) through to the morning after surgery. Your pet will have its pre-surgical workup completed the day it is dropped off. The surgeries start early the next morning, so we need all patients to be at the school. We have the pet stay the night after your pet’s spay to continue monitoring postoperatively.
- Dogs will be walked at least 3 times per 24 hours.
- Animals will be individually housed in stainless steel cages or a run, with bedding, based on their size. If your pet chews bedding we will have to remove it to reduce the chance of a foreign body.
- Room diffusers to aid with calming are used. Adaptil for dogs and Feliway for cats.
- We will provide food and water to your pets. Food is offered twice a day. If your pet has a special diet, please feel free to bring food for us to feed during its stay.
- We provide dogs with Purina EN (a prescription gastrointestinal (GI) diet) to help reduce any potential GI upset. Generally, we use dry, but we do have a canned option too.
- Cats are provided Purina ProPlan Adult dry food. We also have canned food options.
- Food will be removed at 9 p.m. the evening prior to surgery, but your pet will always have access to water. Food will be offered on the day of surgery once the pet has recovered from anesthesia. We will not feed the pets the morning of discharge, to reduce potential stomach upset and car sickness.
- Positive reinforcement and low-stress handling.
- All surgical procedures have an inherent risk associated with both the procedure and the anesthesia. However, we have a group of experienced veterinarians and veterinary technicians here to minimize those risks. Each student group is overseen continuously by an experienced faculty veterinarian from start to finish. A veterinary anesthesiologist oversees all anesthesia and we have a staff of licensed veterinary technicians assisting.
- No. You will be assigned to a surgery date on a first come first serve basis. We only do surgeries on Thursdays, therefore all drop-offs will be on a Wednesday.
If you have questions about the program please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more urgent matters or if your pet is a current patient in the hospital you can call us at 540-315-7188. Texting this phone line is also an option but you may leave a voicemail and we will return your call within 12-24 hours.
Hours of operation are Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.