Helping volunteers gain veterinary experience while improving animal health and welfare around the world.

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Panamá Spay/Neuter Center

Price Panama 1 week+
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Panamá Spay/Neuter Center


Volunteers help to control the overpopulation of dogs and cats in Panamá by actively participating in an intensive sterilization program and community education.

Some knowledge of Spanish is recommended but is not required as most vets and staff members speak fluent English.


1-week session: $600 USD

Additional weeks: $550 USD/week

  • Destination
  • Departure
    Every Tuesday
  • Departure Time
    Small Animal
  • Return Time
    Animal Lovers | Pre-Vet Students | Vet Students | Vet Techs & Nurses | Vets
  • Dress Code
    Training is provided for all activities. The program fee helps to support the non-profit clinic as well as volunteer activities, transportation and accommodation. Limited to 3 volunteers per session.
  • Included
    Airport Transfers
    Free-time Activities
    Laundry Facilities
    On-Site Support
    Pre-Departure Support
  • Not Included
    Travel Insurance
    Visa Fees (if applicable)
Six Working Days
Working days involve scheduled appointments and spay/neuter procedures at the main clinic as well as mobile sterilization campaigns. See the "activities" tab for a description of daily tasks.
One Off Day
Explore all the beauty that Panama has to offer.

Tour Location

Volunteers stay at the Spay Center in Panama City with 10 live-in rescue animals. There is 1 volunteer bedroom with 3 single sofa beds, 1 bathroom, a kitchen, and a living room. Bedding (pillows, sheets, and blankets), electricity, hot water, A/C, wifi, laundry, and all meals are included.

Overall Rating


  • Julia

    August 11, 2023 at 8:25 am

    I spent two weeks […] in Panama and it was a wonderful experience. I met some very nice people, I made friends and I felt very welcome from my first hour in Panama ([…] picked me up at the airport and knew how to entertain me). I find that my experience was very enriching because I’ve been able to learn more about the veterinary medical aspect, the socio-cultural aspect of Panama and the Spanish language (which I did not master at all before my arrival). Everyone at the clinic has animal welfare at heart. It is rewarding to be able to help stray animals who are not necessarily in very good condition. For a student who’s learning, we are exposed to a multitude of cases and it is very formative. I was taken out to do several activities after our days at work. Also, as a student, I haven’t been very exposed to orthopedic surgeries, but I had the chance to see quite interesting surgeries […]. Whenever I had any difficulties, the employees/volunteers were there to help me. It is an internship that is worth it and that I recommend. Leaving […] Panama was difficult for me and I sincerely want to return there in the next few years. Thank you […], I keep fabulous memories. ♥️♥️

    June 2023

  • Rhiannon

    August 11, 2023 at 8:13 am

    My experience […] in Panama was absolutely wonderful! As a rising third year veterinary student, I went hoping to obtain some surgical skills and learn more about HQHV spay/neuter. In my 10 days there, with the guidance of […] the very knowledgeable veterinarians, I performed 57 feline neuters, 1 feline spay, and 1 puppy neuter. I also had the opportunity to shadow veterinarians during their morning appointments, observe two orthopedic surgeries, and learn how to place IV catheters and ET tubes without any assistance – two skills I’m certain will come in handy during clinics and beyond!

    The veterinarians, staff members, and other volunteers were all very helpful and kind. I also loved spending time with all of the rescued cats and dogs on-site. One thing that took me by surprise was that after our work was done for the day, Patricia would organize for one or two volunteers to take us out to explore the city. Thanks to them, we went to the Panama Canal, Taboga Island, Metropolitan Natural Park, and to several great restaurants.

    I would recommend […] this program to anyone looking for an unforgettable learning experience where you can also contribute to the greater good. […] I’m now certain that I want to incorporate HQHV spay/neuter into my future career. Thank you for everything!

    June 2023

  • Anonymous

    August 11, 2023 at 8:06 am

    Amazing experience for anyone looking to improve their technical skills.

    March 2023

  • Stephanie

    February 16, 2023 at 8:45 am

    I spent a week in Panama and it was one of the most life changing experiences I’ve ever had. Memories I made there will stay with me forever. Their patience and dedication to help sterilize animals for those in low-income is astonishing. I had the honor of helping them with their major spay event in La Pintada. The goal was to sterilize 800 and at the end of the weekend they ended up passing that goal and sterilizing 921. I was so amazed by the vets, vet techs and vet staff for their amazing work at the event and at the Spay clinic. As a Pre-Vet Student this experience helped me gain plenty of hands-on experience and everyone was kind enough to help me gain plenty of clinical skills. This was a very a memorable experience!

    January 2023

  • Kyle A.

    July 7, 2022 at 11:36 am

    Great experience for veterinary students who want more surgical experience or want to work on their Spanish! All the vets were great teachers and the volunteers took great care of us during our stay. Highly recommend!

    June 2022

  • Molly C.

    July 7, 2022 at 11:35 am

    This program is fantastic for anyone looking to practice veterinary skills. I was given the opportunity to improve my skills in many aspects, including general lab skills for things like hematology as well as surgical skills. After attending this program I have a better confidence in many skills that I will need in my career as a future veterinarian.

    June 2022

  • Alexis

    June 17, 2022 at 2:08 pm

    I only booked this program for one week because I figured that if I wasn’t a fan of it, then it was only one week, and that if I was, I could always come back. And wow, do I wish I booked a month! This program was more than I could’ve anticipated in all the best ways. I fell in love with all of the people, the country, the animals, the clinic, the food, etc. Everyone was so incredibly kind. I got to see so much in one week and learn so much in the clinic. Seeing how they practice and provide medical expertise at low cost was something I believe everyone should experience. I feel honored to have been able to work with them and highly recommend this program to anyone!

    May 2022

  • Alyssa W.

    June 12, 2018 at 3:11 pm

    This experience was unlike anything else I’ve ever done. [This] is an organization that is making a very visible difference in their community. All it takes is a short walk down the street to see the number of stray cats and dogs that have been sterilized thanks to this program. Both staff and volunteers come together every day and work very hard. As a foreign volunteer I felt very welcomed into the project and the community. As a veterinary student I was able to help with pre and post-operation procedures, as well as with surgeries as I gained experience. It was amazing to see 100+ animals get sterilized in a normal day. While there are a lot of spay/neuter programs out there, working to this level of efficiency is rare. And despite being a low cost program, the safety and well being of all the animals […] is taken very seriously. Thanks […] for a great 2 weeks!

  • Carla N.

    October 12, 2017 at 3:10 pm

    [This] is the only non-profit in Panama that helps people with a difficult financial situation and homeless/abandoned animals to avoid over population and suffering by providing spay/neuter and health services at a very low cost which is key to enable people to continue to keep their pets healthy. I’ve been a volunteer[…] for some years and I’ve learned a lot of valuable information to also help and guide others. [This program] is also a key support in my endless work of helping suffering cats by always being available to provide treatment with a great sense of urgency, care and true love for animals. Their drive is to educate people and help animals and their passion inspires and enables me to continue this difficult journey. We need more of this in the world and governments to support this continuous and much needed project.

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Vet/Animal Activities:

Pre-Vets, Vet Students & Vet Techs:
  • Assist the vet
  • Perform pre-op clinical exams
  • Inject antibiotics & pain relief
  • Observe surgery
  • Place ET tubes
  • Place IV catheters
  • Monitor anesthesia
  • Blood sampling
  • Inject sedation
  • Administer medication
  • Calculate drug dosages
  • Setup IV fluids
  • Calculate IV fluid rates
  • Give vaccinations
  • Provide wound care (cleaning, stabilizing, bandaging, etc.)
  • Run basic diagnostic/lab tests (snap tests, blood smears, skin scrapes, etc)
  • Other jobs at the vet’s discretion
Please Note: These are just some of the activities that volunteers have participated in during past programs. Activities are based on the needs and resources of the clinic and will therefore vary day to day. Training is provided as necessary.
Vet students: At the vet's discretion, spay and neuter surgery may be performed by 2nd year vet students and up who have completed their intro to surgery courses.
Vets: There are currently six vets on staff who perform operations, provide basic treatments and train volunteers. We also welcome temporary vets throughout the year, including new graduates. Training is provided as necessary.
Typical Weekly Experience Hours Include:
  • Animal Experience: 40-60
  • Vet Experience: 50-70
  • Clinical Experience: 40-50
  • Surgical Experience: 20-30
Animal welfare is the most important factor to consider when allowing students to perform surgery. We cannot guarantee surgical experience in any session on any program because welfare must be assessed in each case. The estimated number of student surgeries per week is based on past volunteer experiences, however, animal welfare conditions, student experience & confidence, weather, national holidays, and other variables may affect the availability of student surgeries.

Free-Time Activities:

Volunteers have one day off per week with optional (free!) activities including:
  • Dinner at Miraflores
  • Panama Canal
  • Walking Tour of Panama Viejo
  • Casco Viejo
  • The Causeway
  • Tour Amador

Please submit an application for this program below. Our team will contact you with more information within 72 hours- if you don’t hear from us, please check your spam folder!