Spay / Neuter Center

Panama City, Panama


Volunteers help to control the overpopulation of dogs and cats in Panama 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.


Click here for more pictures!


USD (1st week)



USD (additional weeks)



  • Safe and comfortable accommodation
  • Meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner)
  • Airport transfers
  • Wi-fi access
  • Laundry facilities
  • Free-time activities
  • Pre-departure support
  • Clinic support


Not included:

  • Flights
  • Visa fees (if applicable)
  • Travel Insurance

GVE volunteers get discounted rates on flights, travel insurance, and weekend activities through our STA Travel partners!


Click here for our fundraising tips & discounts!

Arrival dates every Tuesday

Limited to 3 volunteers / week

Minimum duration: 1 week (no max)

 6 working days + 1 free day per week

Working days involve operations at the main clinic and mobile sterilization campaign.

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, set up 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), and other jobs at the vet’s discretion

*Please note: these are just some of the activities that volunteers have been able to get involved in- activities are based on the needs and resources of the clinic so they will vary day-to-day (training is provided as necessary).

Vet students: spay/neuter surgery may be performed at the vet’s discretion.*

Vets: there are currently 6 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).

  • Animal Experience (hours/week): 40-60
  • Vet Experience (hours/week): 50-70
  • Clinical Experience (hours/week): 40-50
  • Surgical Experience* (hours/week): 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: volunteers have 1 day off per week with optional (free!) activities including dinner at Miraflores, Panama Canal, Walking Tour of Panama Viejo, Casco Viejo and the Causeway, Amador.

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.

Kitchen & Living room


Animal lovers, Pre-vet students, Vet students, Vet techs/nurses, Vets


Small Animal


All year


Panama City, Panama

“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!”

– Alyssa W. (

Volunteer Stories

“[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.”

– Carla N. (October 2017)

“My time with [this program] was really great! I volunteered with a fellow vet student for three weeks. Everyone […] made me feel very welcome and helped teach me many things during my time there […]. I feel I gained many helpful skills that will prove useful for my future veterinary career and I have gained more confidence in my surgical skills. As well as getting veterinary experience in the clinic and at spay events, I got to experience different aspects of Panamanian culture and the team were great at showing us different parts and tourist sites in Panama City. Thanks to everyone who made my time […] so wonderful.”

– Laurie (September 2016)

More Stories...

“My volunteer service […] proved to be more than rewarding. I was able to observe the care their staff takes into making the sterilization process ease with as minimum stress as possible for the owner and pet. A major factor in this experience was the great teamwork. Thank you [….] for helping our furry friends!”

– Joel B. (July


“[This program’s] mission is to reduce the overpopulation of dogs and cats through a massive sterilization program throughout the territory of the Republic of Panama. For me it is an honor as a volunteer to be able to help this noble mission and I urge everyone to join this cause for a better quality of life for animals.”

– Khristel (May 


“I was a volunteer […] and my experience couldn’t have been better. Not just that they are doing awesome work and help so much, but they are really really kind too! It is very inspirering what they are doing and with what passion and love they do it.
My experience with them was unforgettable and they are just such a great organisation who are doing a really important job!”

– Yaramari J. (October 


“[This] is one of the best places I volunteered at. Great organization that works so smart, every dime is being used in the best way. Not only they save hundreds of animals every week, they also raise awareness and prevent further uncontrollable births and abuse towards animals.”

– Galit B.  (October 


“I spent 1 week working with [this program] and loved every second of it. The staff are so helpful and welcoming. They take time to explain their procedure and protocol and will answer all your questions. The animals always receive the highest level of care and top treatment methods.”

– Bryt (June 2017)


“I spent a little over two months working at [this program] and had a blast. As a Pre-Veterinary student this opportunity offered a great way to gain experience and will set my self apart from other applicants to vet school. While working there I learned how to prepare animals for surgery as well as take care of them afterwards. I became very proficient at shaving, expressing the bladder, giving SQ and IM injections, as well as tattooing and clipping the ears. Aside from just the hands on experience I was able to watch as many different types of surgeries as I pleased. It is a Pre-Veterinary student’s dream. I understandable so, did not perform any surgeries because of my lack of education, however, many students from all over the world in veterinary school were able to and gained a great deal of valuable surgical experience. It is my goal to return once I am in vet school to follow in their footsteps. Not only did the clinic offer a great deal of hands on experience they also did so in a very welcoming and encouraging way. They always were quick to share a laugh and never hesitated to pull me aside and show me an interesting case. I made some really great friends and have created wonderful relationships that will remain for years to come. I recommend [this program] to anyone that is interested in Veterinary Medicine or just to those who desire contribute to the continuing effort to help improve the welfare of thousands of animals.”

– Lohra (


“I had an amazing experience […] as a vet student. I did over 100 cat castrations and was also taught the quick spay method in cats. The experience has really increased my confidence in these surgical procedures. As well as improving my surgical skills, everyone […] was really lovely and took me and the other vet student with me on excursions all over Panama City. Thank you for the experience!”

– Anonymous (August 2016)


“I spent 2 weeks at [this program], and took part in a mega spay event as a volunteer (4th year veterinary student at Nottingham Uni). I would definitely recommend [it] to anyone is that is thinking of volunteering, it is very well organised and I learned a lot of new skills over my time there. In the future I hope to return […] and volunteer again, as I found the experience to be so beneficial and positive.”

– Anonymous (December 2015)


“I am a final year veterinary student studying at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, and I volunteered […] for 2 weeks duration. This was singly the most rewarding work experience I have ever done during my time at veterinary school. The reason for this was because it was incredibly positive and wholesome.
Although I spoke virtually no Spanish, I was made to feel included in all aspects of the clinic, and information/procedures were explained to me clearly. Everyone there was friendly, and the atmosphere was that of a large extended family working together as one efficient unit with the sole purpose of improving the welfare of these animals. Support, immediate assistance, and positive reinforcement was consistently available to me if I ever needed help when I was working. My main objective was to practice my surgical technique and spay/castrate as many cats and dogs as I could. That expectation was surpassed immensely as there were hundreds of animals that I had the opportunity to work with. As an added bonus, at the end of each work day local volunteers would take me out for dinner and tourist excursions
Thanks to [this program], I now feel incredibly more confident as a soon to be veterinarian, and gratified that I helped so many cats and dogs. Once I graduate as a veterinarian I will one hundred percent be returning to volunteer again […]!”

– Victoria (August 2015)


“I am a fourth year vet student and I went volunteering 1 week with a friend […] and I met the most amazing volunteer and vet team there. Everybody was so welcoming and very passionated about animal care and about helping the community. I really enjoyed my time there. I did a lot of pre-op in the clinic: that involved the shaving, injections, scrubbing, emptying bladders. I had also the opportunity to do some surgeries, including approximately 15 male cats and 2 female cats. The vets are very patient and they supervise you if you need any help. I recommand to stay 2 weeks if you want to have time to do more surgeries. We also went on a blitz and we spayed and neutered 250 cats and dogs in a poor areas that day! It was really cool to see how these people care about their animals and want the best for them.”

– Anonymous (July 2015)


“I am a 3rd year vet student from Canada and I traveled with three other classmates to volunteer for a week […]. We had a great experience and were grateful for the generous hospitality and accommodation to ensure we learned veterinary skills as well as appreciation of Panamanian culture. The mentorship from other veterinarians was a highlight of the trip and we were excited to see how successful this well run and organized clinic was in Panama City and in surrounding communities. I would recommend volunteering with this organization for future veterinary students and new graduates as it is a supportive and enthusiastic environment to learn and develop confidence!”

– Allison (June 2015)