Extension / Outreach

Below are the major outreach programs in which the UF College of Veterinary Medicine serves our local community and animals throughout the state of Florida. If you are interested in volunteering, please visit our Volunteer Opportunities page.

Veterinary Extension

Extension is a partnership between state, federal, and county governments to provide scientific knowledge and expertise to the public.  At the University of Florida, Extension is located in the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS), and the College of Veterinary Medicine houses Veterinary Extension, providing information relevant to residents of the state of Florida on aquatic animals, equine research, beef and dairy cattle, and poultry.

Aquatic Animal Health

The aquatic animal health program at the University of Florida includes the marine mammal health program operated through the College of Veterinary Medicine and the Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience. It is funded by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Also included is a strong program in fish and aquaculture medicine which is run through the Program in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, in the School of Forest Resources and Conservation.

Operation Catnip

Operation Catnip is a nonprofit organization offering free spay/neuter and vaccines for unowned free-roaming community cats from Alachua County, Florida. Our clinics are run entirely by volunteers (veterinarians, vet technicians and other trained volunteers) and are capable of sterilizing over 200 cats in a matter of hours.

Veterinary Community Outreach Program

The Veterinary Community Outreach Program is an elective clinical rotation for junior and senior veterinary students at the UF College of Veterinary Medicine. Working closely with area animal rescue groups, the VCOP introduces students to the challenges of veterinary practice in both community and shelter environments and provides experience in spay and neuter techniques of dogs, puppies, cats and kittens. The program emphasizes disease control in shelter situations, reviews vaccination strategies for shelters, and stresses preventive medicine programs.Students learn about the pet overpopulation crisis facing our community, treatment of heartworm disease, recognizing animal abuse and neglect, and the importance of community involvement in reducing the number of unwanted animals in our local shelters.

Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program

Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program aims to enhance the health and welfare of homeless animals through education, innovation, and advancement of the life-saving goals of sheltering programs.

Disaster Response

The University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine is a lead member of the Florida State Agriculture Response Team (SART). As a “quick strike” resource, the college has been tasked to assist the state in response to animal and agricultural disasters whenever an emergency has been officially declared.


Pets Are Wonderful Support (PAWS) is a volunteer organization run by veterinary students of the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine that aims to improve the quality of life for people with disabling illnesses by offering free veterinary care.