Veterinary Externship

Accepting applications for 2023 - 2024

The Department of Comparative Medicine (DCM) offers two externship track opportunities to 3rd and 4th year veterinary students: a 2-4 week externship in laboratory animal medicine or a 2 week externship in comparative pathology.  An emphasis on anesthesia and analgesia may be incorporated into the laboratory animal medicine externship. Interested applicants may apply to one or both externship tracks. A joint track externship would consist of a 2-week laboratory animal medicine rotation and a 2-week comparative pathology rotation.

The Department of Comparative Medicine oversees all animal facilities at Stanford. The Veterinary Service Center (VSC) at Stanford University School of Medicine is managed by faculty veterinarians with primary appointments in the DCM.  The VSC complies with federal, state, and local guidelines for laboratory animal care and is accredited by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC) International. The VSC houses fully equipped and staffed veterinary hospital and clinical service areas, clinical pathology, diagnostic laboratories, animal necropsy, and histology laboratory. These facilities support campus-wide research programs.

Under the supervision of board-certified specialists, externs will gain experience in laboratory animal medicine and comparative pathology in a premier research institution.  Externs will receive informal one-on-one training with the faculty and staff in a variety of veterinary specialty areas, including comparative pathology, surgery and anesthesia, disease surveillance, animal behavior, internal medicine, epidemiology and biostatistics. Externs will be expected to attend seminars sponsored by the DCM and other relevant seminars at the University. Opportunities to participate in basic research may be available. A short scholarly presentation by the extern to the faculty on a particular case or area of interest is highly recommended at the end of their externship. Evaluations will be provided to the extern by the DCM faculty.


Laboratory Animal Medicine

  • To develop an experiential perspective of biomedical research
  • To understand basic biology of laboratory rodents
  • To develop an appreciation of medicine, anesthesia, surgery and post-operative analgesia for laboratory animals
  • To develop an appreciation of the control of infectious diseases
  • To understand the goals and applications of quarantine procedures
  • To develop a perspective on basic animal facility management: barrier and containment corridor concepts, cost issues, etc.
  • To become familiar with basic laboratory tests utilized for laboratory animals: serology, microbiology, haematology, serum biochemistry, blood gas analysis, etc.

Comparative Pathology

  • To become familiar with proper laboratory animal necropsy techniques
  • To discern post-mortem artifacts from pre-mortem lesions
  • To understand and recognize common diseases of laboratory animal species
  • To select appropriate ancillary diagnostics (i.e. PCR, microbiology, special stains, etc.) for clinical case work-up
  • To become familiar with basic histopathology and explore pathologic changes
  • To understand the role of a veterinary pathologist in a biomedical research setting

Only applicants from American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) – accredited schools in North America and/or U.S. citizens will be accepted.  Acceptance is contingent upon availability of an open place in the dates requested and documentation from the applicant's veterinary school that they are enrolled and in good academic standing.

Applicants interested in our externships, please fill out this form.

Updated February 10, 2023