PAWS Magazine


Issue 47, Fall 2000


PAWS intern program helps veterinary students learn ropes of spaying and neutering

Real-life internships don’t get any more real than what Tonia Desautel experienced during her two-week stint at the PAWS companion animal veterinary clinic. Desautel was the most recent veterinary student to complete the internship, designed to give Washington State University (WSU) students an intensive, hands-on experience in a shelter enviroment.

The PAWS companion animal clinic veterinarians are responsible for the health of all of the animals in the shelter. But for many of the WSU interns, it is the constant spaying and neutering of animals that holds the real appeal of the internship. "I came for the surgery experience," says Desautel.

"At school, the students might not get to perform more than a few spays or neuters," says Dr. Katie Steneroden, PAWS Companion Animal Veterinarian. "But at PAWS we perform up to eight a day."

"If we are lucky, we get to do one spay and one neuter our senior year," says Desautel, "so coming here is a great experience."

PAWS has been a leader in the field of early spaying and neutering; altering animals under six months of age. "When the students come here they learn that early spaying and neutering is not only being done, it’s being done safely and easily," explains Steneroden.

"I’m totally pro-early spay and neutering," says Desautel. "They [the animals] handle the anaesthesia so well, and because of their small size the surgery time is cut in half."

The veterinary interns also help out the PAWS vets on their afternoon rounds, caring for the animals in the shelter. "At school they tend to see weird or exotic injuries," says Steneroden. "So here they are excited to see some common ailments and injuries that you find with animals coming into a shelter. Like a plain old wound, or an upper respiratory infection, or ringworm."

Desautel certainly enjoyed working with the staff at the PAWS clinic. "They are awesome," says Desautel. "I’ve never worked with a group who got along so well. They’re good at their jobs and they’re happy with what they’re doing."

Desautel was the last of five veterinary interns that worked at the PAWS clinic in 2000; beginning in January, five new students will work back-to-back internships.

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