High School Veterinary Service

Learn and practice clinical skills at a dog shelter and spend a week volunteering hands-on with rescued elephants - all with a veterinarian to teach your small group!

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This two-week program put you alongside a veterinarian whose job is to teach you so that you get to learn and practice new skills while helping animals in need. Work in a dog shelter and learn clinical skills such as blood draws, suturing, and skin scrapes, including assisting in neuter surgeries. Spend one week living at an elephant sanctuary learning about and caring for rescued elephants. Evenings and weekends are filled with travel activities such as ziplining or exploring street markets.


• Feed, bathe, and care for rescued elephants
• Assist in neuter surgeries
• Learn and practice small animal clinical skills
• Discover what it's like to be a vet in the tropics

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Who It's For

High School students (ages 14-18) who are interested in becoming veterinarians or working professionally with animals. There are no pre-requisites for this program. You do not need to be in school currently to apply. Individuals of any nationality may apply.

Applicants should be comfortable working with animals and getting their hands, and everything else, dirty. This program can accommodate a maximum of 12 students per session.


In this two-week program, you’ll work and learn alongside veterinarians at an elephant sanctuary and a dog rescue. Live among the elephants and care directly for them, provide check-ups and procedures to dogs in need, and experience magnificent Thailand first-hand. Check a sample itinerary here.

This program is divided into two weeks. In one week, students work with our staff vet to care for dogs at the ARK (Animal Rescue Kingdom) Dog Shelter in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Students learn and practice clinical skills, including:

  • IM, IV, and Sub-Q injections and catheter placement
  • Blood draws, blood smears, and microscope skills
  • Sterile scrubbing and gloving
  • Instrument handling and suturing
  • Ear cytologies, skin scrapes, fecals, and other diagnostics
  • Calculating medication dosages and administering medication
  • Physical exams and stethoscope use
  • Canine and feline neuter surgeries, anesthesia monitoring, and recovery
  • Identifying tropical diseases
  • Students are in the examination room in small groups, assisting with procedures and surgeries and learning hands-on from the vet. Each day will have a lecture-style portion at the clinic and a chance to put the skills learned into practice helping animals in need, culminating in two surgery days at the end of the week.

    In the evenings and over the weekend, we will have a chance to explore city life in Chiang Mai, including visits to local street markets for eating and shopping, dinners at local restaurants, a meditation lesson with a Buddhist Monk, a city tour, the choice of a ziplining day in the jungle or an outdoor Thai cooking class, a visit to Doi Suthep temple, and some chances to relax in the city and at home.

    The other week is spent living and volunteering with the elephants at the Elephant Nature Park in a specially-tailored volunteer program. Students work with the elephants, helping to feed them, bathe them, cut their food, clean their homes, and provide overall care for them. They will also help with sanctuary upkeep and have the chance to participate in cultural activities.

    In addition, your vet will help you learn about elephant anatomy and physiology, body condition scores, and behavior.

    There will be a chance while at the Elephant Nature Park to learn from the elephant vet on staff, help provide medical care to animals in need, learn to test for various medical conditions in large mammals, and possibly observe surgical procedures in the on-site dog clinic. The dog shelter at ENP provides many opportunities for students to help. They may also have opportunities to shadow the elephant trainer, participate in a diet study, prepare medications, or any number of other things going on at the park.

    Students also have the chance to meet world-renowned conservationist and ENP founder Lek Chailert, learn a bit of Thai, enjoy tubing down the river that runs through the reserve, and get to know some of the elephants on the property one-on-one.

    Either the Elephant Nature Park or the Chiang Mai week may come first in your itinerary.

    Courses and Hours

    This program is created with students who may want to study pre-Vet or Animal Science. For your application to vet school, the program provides the following hours:

    Veterinary Hours (for vet school applications): 72
    Research Hours (for vet school applications): 8

    The AVMA says "If you have the opportunity to work... for veterinarians who work with different species, that's a bonus that can make you more appealing to a veterinary school admissions committee." We're proud to offer you that opportunity!

    You will get to know your vet during the program, and they will get to know you! If you participate to the best of your ability, you will be well-positioned to ask for a recommendation letter at the end of the program.

    This program provides a total of 80 service hours. Loop Abroad is a certifying organization for the Presidential Volunteer Service Award, for which those hours are eligible.

    Loop Abroad can provide you with a pass/fail transcript for the course ""Tropical Shelter Medicine, Management, and Welfare: From Companion Animals to Elephants" at your request. This course is the academic component of your program. If you are seeking credit from your college or university, please contact us for any assistance needed.

    Tuition and Dates

    2018 Dates:* July 14 - 30, 2018.

    Tuition: $3,850 USD not including international airfare. Airfare on the group flight from New York is estimated at $1,800 round-trip including taxes and fees.

    High School Veterinary Service can be supplemented with a Bonus Week. By adding the Adventure Bonus Week, or Elephant Bonus Week to your program, you can customize your three-week adventure to be exactly what you want without increasing your airfare.

    You can get details on housing and meals here. All housing and meals are included in your tuition.

    How to Apply

    On the Application for Admission, choose "High School Veterinary Service: Thailand" as your program and select all dates that you would be able to attend.

    If you want to combine with another program or add a bonus week, please select that on your application as well. If you have any questions about how to combine programs or add bonus weeks, you can contact us at admissions@loopabroad.com.

    For More Information

    Message us on Facebook, call us at (617) 412-0838, fill out the contact form, or send an email to admissions@loopabroad.com any time!

    *Dates indicate departure from and return to New York. Some flights depart early in the morning and may require students to arrive in New York the night before. Loop abroad reserves the right to cancel any program at any time; in case of such cancellation by Loop Abroad, all payments will be returned in full.