People for Animals, Inc. (PFA) is New Jersey’s highest-volume spay/neuter provider, having performed over 22,000 procedures in the last year at our two high-volume high-quality clinics. Your rotation will take place at our Hillside facility where, on a typical surgery day, 70-100 procedures are completed by a team of three to four surgeons. This is a hands-on surgical rotation. After proper training, students may perform up to 12 surgeries on dogs and cats, under the direct, one-on-one supervision of one of our experienced surgeons during the course of the rotation. PFA’s high surgery volume allows externs to see unusual anatomy that are less frequently seen in general practice such as intra-abdominal and SQ cryptorchid males, open and closed pyometra, ovarian cysts, single aplastic uterine horns, and other atypical anatomy.

Externs will be expected to help with all support-aspects of PFA’s spay/neuter operation, including: animal intake, preoperative examinations, pre-medication, and induction, surgical prep, surgical assistance, monitoring anesthesia and recovery, and assisting with patient discharge. Externs are also involved in “behind the scenes” activities such as preparation of the operating room, anesthesia machines and surgical instrument packs.

Externs are also encouraged to spend time at our Wellness Services during which they can get hands-on experience with a wide variety of puppy/kitten and adult animal essential preventive care such as dog and cat vaccinations, heartworm and FeLV/FIV testing, fecal testing and deworming, microchipping, surgical rechecks, and of course spay/neuter counseling. Externs are permitted to administer all vaccinations except for Rabies, which (as required by law) must be administered by a veterinarian. Surgical rechecks may occur during Wellness Service hours as well, allowing externs to gain experience performing postoperative follow-up examinations and managing surgical cases postoperatively.

In addition, PFA’s board-eligible veterinary pathologist, Dr. Laurie Heeb, has 20 years of experience at Antech, and is available to provide instruction regarding pathology on routine and unusual cases (some common examples include: identifying incidental skin tumors found at surgery, hematology, cytology, and parasite identification).

PFA is a non-profit organization employing a staff of approx. 50 lay and professional people, plus additional volunteers. PFA networks with other nonprofit organizations, animal welfare groups, municipal shelters, rescue organizations, and local TNR (feral cat trap/neuter/return) programs, as well as offering services to the general public. Externs considering a rotation with PFA may have some additional questions, and are encouraged to contact PFA’s Externship Program Coordinator.

Externship Program Coordinator
Dr. Eric Etheridge