Penn Vet Seeks Volunteer Foal Sitters

Penn Vet’s New Bolton Center is seeking volunteer foal sitters in the neonatal intensive care unit during the months of February through June. Registration begins in December.


The University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet) is recruiting volunteers to assist veterinarians and staff in its New Bolton Center’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) during the foaling season.

Registration begins in December with an orientation following in January. The volunteer shifts start in February and go through June.

The New Bolton Center enlists more than 90 foal sitters each year, about half of them returning volunteers, according to the school. Foal sitters include local horse owners and enthusiasts as well as university and high school students.

Second-year Penn Vet students also foal sit for five shifts of six hours each as part of an elective course.

“The foal sitters are very important,” said Jon Palmer, VMD, chief of New Bolton Center’s NICU and director of perinatal/neonatal programs. “To deliver the level of intensive care that we do, we need help. Foal sitters are vital to our operation.”

Foal sitter duties include holding foals upright when they are lying down, assisting staff as they stand and turn foals, milking mares and storing the milk, monitoring equipment for alarms, changing bedding, restocking treatment areas and cleaning equipment and hospital areas.

To register, email

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