Program Description

The University of Florida Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program offers a Shelter Medicine Intern position.  This one-year position is designed to produce a skilled practitioner well-equipped for shelter practice or to be competitive for a residency program in Shelter Medicine. The specific objectives of the Shelter Medicine Internship Program are:

  1. Implement physical and behavioral health programs that optimize well-being for individual animals within the resource limitations of various shelter models.
  2. Diagnose and treat medical, surgical, and behavioral conditions that commonly occur in shelter populations.
  3. Demonstrate competency in pediatric spay/neuter and high-quality/high-volume spay/neuter.
  4. Analyze shelter population metrics, conduct rounds, and implement effective management protocols for shelter populations
  5. Recognize and respond to instances of disease outbreaks, threats to animal welfare, and disasters.
  6. Utilize effective teaching and communication skills with veterinary students, veterinarians, and shelter staff.
  7. Demonstrate skills in scientific writing, critical evaluation of published literature, and professional presentations.
  8. Complete the Certificate in Shelter Medicine and Fear Free Practitioner certification.

Overview of the Internship Program

A unique aspect of shelter medicine is responsibility for the medical care of a population of animals in addition to the individual animal. Therefore, a core component of the internship is primary medical, behavioral, and surgical care of patients in Florida shelters. In consultation with the faculty, interns will select several hands-on rotations from a palette of open-admission municipal and limited-admission adoption-guarantee shelters. Participating shelters were selected for their advanced shelter medicine programs led by full-time shelter veterinarians, most of whom are alumni of the Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program. These in-shelter rotations provide training in best practice protocols for preventive healthcare, monitoring animal health and welfare, principles of population medicine and management, infectious disease recognition and response, cruelty investigations, and surgery. Advanced training in anesthesia and spay/neuter techniques used for pediatric patients and in high-quality/high-volume shelters and spay/neuter clinics is provided by a 1-week training course at the ASPCA Spay/Neuter Alliance in Asheville NC.  In addition to this formal training, the intern will gain surgical proficiency through performing hundreds of spay/neuter surgeries on dogs, cats, and rabbits in the shelter rotations and the monthly Operation Catnip TNR clinic at UF. The intern will also perform other surgeries common to shelter practice such as limb amputations, enucleations, entropion repair, and wound repair/reconstruction.

Additional training opportunities with UF faculty include a didactic course with workshops in veterinary forensic medicine, shelter consultations, diagnosis and management of disease outbreaks in shelters, and large-scale field responses to disasters involving animals, including mass seizures of abused or neglected animals.  The intern will also participate in the annual Shelter Consultation Training Camp hosted by the Shelter Medicine Program at the University Of Wisconsin School Of Veterinary Medicine. This is a 2-week intensive training program for shelter medicine fellows, residents, and interns from the shelter medicine programs at the University of Wisconsin, University of California Davis, and University of Florida.

Individuals interested in this position should contact Dr. Cynda Crawford via e-mail at  In person interviews are not required, however phone/skype interviews may be arranged for interested candidates with a strong application.

Intern Selection Procedure

Residents are recruited from internship programs or private practices. A Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree or equivalent is a prerequisite. Small Animal Medicine faculty and residents evaluate the application pool and final selection of the resident is done via the Veterinary Intern/Resident Matching Program (VIRMP).

Selection will be based on:

  • VIRMP Application
  • Veterinary School Official Transcript from University Registrar
  • Personal Statement
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • 3 Standardized Letters of Reference