University of Wyoming
1174 Snowy Range Road
Laramie, WY 82070
Phone: (307) 766-9925
Fax: (307) 721-2051
The Department of Veterinary Sciences at the University of Wyoming operates the Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory. This full-service, nationally-accredited animal health laboratory operates under Wyoming statute to provide services to veterinary practitioners, animal owners and wildlife managers in Wyoming. Most faculty members and essentially all of the diagnostic staff have a major time commitment to run the diagnostic laboratory (typically, 100% of staff members’ time; up to 60% of faculty members’ time). We typically accept 2 – 4 diagnostic externs a year. Our strong preference is to take students attending veterinary colleges in the United State or Canada. We have, in the past, accepted students from Europe and Latin America, but this is at the discretion of the department. Our goal in taking on veterinary student externs is to give them an opportunity to see how a diagnostic laboratory operates, incorporate that understanding into their knowledge of veterinary medicine, and perhaps decide whether this is a career path they might like to follow. The faculty and staff of WSVL receive no teaching or other credit for taking on externs. Our reward is to know that veterinary students see firsthand how a diagnostic laboratory operates before they are unleashed on an unsuspecting world.
The most useful activity for diagnostic externs is to work the necropsy floor. This entails post-mortem examinations, and writing up a draft necropsy findings. The write up will be reviewed by the pathologist and finalizing it in the laboratory’s data management system. After the pathologist reads the slides, he or she usually passes them to the student for review. Other activities are: cutting in surgical accessions and necropsies-in-a-bag; reviewing histology slides of diagnostic cases; updating PowerPoint presentations given by the faculty as part of their regular teaching commitment; literature searches; field visits (if opportunity arises); examining Western Round Robin and/or AFIP case slides; teaching pre-veterinary students; necropsy examinations of previously frozen wildlife carcasses under supervision of a WSVL pathologist or Dr. Cynthia Tate with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.
The best extern is one who does not have to be told how to stay busy and engaged. In other words, a self-starter who helps out, is flexible, follows instructions and is willing to learn. It is helpful when you are interested in pathology, diagnostic medicine, and food animals and wildlife, and have a background in histology. We do a substantial amount of companion animal pathology, but the externship is designed for students interested in all facets of diagnostic medicine, regardless of species. Coming here “just to see dog pathology” or “to learn about diseases of range cattle” will not work. You will be expected to help deal with whatever comes through the pathology service.