U.S. Sheep Experiment Station

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The USSES Veterinary Student Externship is a collaborative program between the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station and the University of Idaho (UI).  All of the animals on the facility are currently involved in active research projects.  The objective of this externship is to:

1. Allow veterinary students to gain experience in the diagnosis and treatment of periparturient disease/problems and perinatal disease/problems of sheep

2. Expose students to research in ruminant nutrition, range management, reproductive physiology, genetics and production systems

This externship is a 2 week intensive, hands-on experience.  The student will work as part of a team to provide the best yet most practical medical care in a timely fashion, using a herd health approach.  At the same time the student must take into consideration the research being done when making treatment decisions.

The student will work 7 days a week and be on call 24 hours a day.  The pace is fast and can be physically demanding with the majority of the day spent outside. The weather is usually cold with snow, rain, mud, and wind however; the sun does shine at times! 

Although the student may be challenged physically and endure long, atypical working hours, the consensus of past students is that this is one of the best, most practical hands-on experiences they received in Veterinary School.  This experience gave them an opportunity to think on their own and practice multiple medical procedures as one might see in practice after graduation regardless of the species they choose to work with.

The USSES has approximately 3000 sheep, 15 horses, and 20 dogs.  About 2800 mixed age breeding ewes which are lambed in the traditional shed lambing system.  The externship only allows room for 13 students each year.  The 13 students will be spread out from the 2nd week in March – 1st week in May.  The student numbers may vary from 1-4 per week during the rotation.  A student may request specific dates, but will not be guaranteed those dates.  Students who do not originally place in a slot will be put on a waiting list.  Once a student is approved and commits to doing the externship the student is expected to follow-through.  Not doing so will result in negative feedback to the students’ academic advisor and makes it very difficult on the staff in trying to fill the slot and cover the students’ workload. 

The working students play a key role in the lambing process and are counted upon daily for the job they do.  If there are extenuating circumstances once a student has accepted the externship, the student needs to contact the USSES/UI Veterinary Student Externship Administrator IMMEDIATELY.  If for any reason a student arrives yet fails to complete the 2 week externship, the student will be financially responsible for their early departure.  

Evaluation of the student is based on the veterinarian’s view of their knowledge, skills, work habits, attitude, and ability to work with people.  There are no formal examinations.  Students will have some opportunity to discuss ongoing research at the station with scientists whose disciplines including physiology, genetics, nutrition, and range science.  One afternoon during the rotation will be designated to allow for this.

** Due to Zoonotic Diseases, you are not allowed to come for an externship if you are pregnant!



Practice Information

University of Idaho
U.S. Sheep Experiment Station
Veterinary Student Externship Administrator
19 Office Loop
Dubois, ID 83423-5032

ph: 208-374-5364
fax: 208-374-5582

email: aeddins [at] uidaho [dot] edu
website: http://www.ars.usda.gov

Signature on file: Annette Eddins, Operations Supervisor
Updated on: 08/03/2012