Making Better Veterinarians and Providing Services for Pets 

Donna L. Harris, College of Veterinary Medicine
CSNIP (Community Spay/Neuter Initiative Partnership)

MSU College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) and CSNIP have collaborated since the first student requested to participate in an externship there in 2009. This collaboration has expanded and developed into a true partnership in which fourth-year veterinary students can hone their skills while serving CSNIP clients. For MSU CVM students, the CSNIP externship is one of the most sought-after experiences. Three students are accepted for each three-week block and rotate through surgical practice, anesthetic induction, and working at the Well Pet Clinic. Because of CSNIP’s high caseload, students have the opportunity to advance their surgical and clinical skills at a rapid pace. In addition, students are exposed to clients from diverse backgrounds who have many challenges when accessing traditional veterinary care. CSNIP collaborates with CVM faculty when needed on complex cases, conducts research, and has seen a rise in patient care standards. CSNIP staff members enjoy the challenge of teaching veterinary students and the energy they bring to the practice. Another important benefit of this partnership is that it has developed a cohort of veterinarians who value the role nonprofits play in providing veterinary care for a community.