College of Veterinary Medicine |
Humane Society Alliance Education Program

Healthy Animals, Healthy People, Healthy Planet

Humane Society Alliance Education Program


Frequently Asked Questions


Female Student holding a kittenWhy Partner with Regional Humane Societies?

The alliance gives WSU College of Veterinary Medicine students an extraordinary educational opportunity in community-based, wellness-centered, primary care facilities during their final year in school. The experience better prepares our students to enter the workforce after graduation.

What Do Students Do While at a Humane Society?

Students on rotation at the Seattle or Boise humane societies focus on primary care and surgery. Students spend over 55% of their time performing spay and neuter surgeries to shelter owned animals, with over 65% of those surgeries on pediatric cases (puppies and kittens under 6 months of age). The remainder of the time is spent on diagnosis and treatment of cases. Most cases are illnesses or injuries that students will typically see when they enter private practice. Students also have the chance to observe behavioral assessments, which helps them learn how they can communicate behavioral needs to potential owners. Students on the Pullman rotation, train in primary care and spend approximately 40% of their time performing spay and neuter surgeries, doubling the surgical caseload. Field visits to the Whitman County Humane Society, Hope’s Haven, Humane Society of the Palouse, SpokAnimal, and the Spokane Humane Society provide outreach, animal care, consultation services and educational opportunities such as surgery, population medicine, business models, and data tracking within real world settings.

What is the Value of a Student Rotation at one of the Humane Societies?

The students gain additional surgical and wellness experience that improves their skills and increases their confidence. Before the partnership, students may have only performed 2-4 spay and neuter surgeries over the course of the year. During just two weeks on a humane society rotation, students perform 25-40 surgeries, making them more skilled in completing the surgeries. They also see a range of illnesses and injuries requiring diagnosis and treatment that represent the caseload they primarily will see in a clinic setting. The repetition of diagnosis and treatment also gives students a chance to gain skills making them more valuable as new employees.

How Much Does It Cost To Send a Student?

The cost for sending a student to one of the humane societies is approximately $3,000. WSU pays for the portion of the veterinarian’s time spent on teaching and supplies used by the students and it also covers the cost of housing. For the first two years of the program, a grant from PetSmart Charities will defray the cost for students at the Seattle Humane Society, and a generous gift from an anonymous donor will defray costs for students at the Idaho Humane Society.

How Many Students Are on a Humane Society Rotation Each Year?

During the first year of the program (2013-14), almost 50 students elected to participate in a rotation at the Seattle Humane Society and in 2014-15 and 2015-16 roughly 75 students participated. Once the new clinical facilities are completed at Seattle Humane and the Idaho Humane Society, there will 200 rotation spots available for our veterinary students each year. Beginning with the class of 2016, a WSU Shelter Medicine and Surgery-Pullman rotation will be available for up to 39 students.

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