William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital

Photo: Neurology/Neurosurgery Team
UC Davis faculty members, Dr. Karen Vernau, center-left, Associate Professor of Clinical Neurology/Neurosurgery and Dr. Marguerite Knipe, (next to Vernau), also an Assistant Clinical Professor of Neurology/Neurosurgery, conduct a neurological exam with a client dog for fourth-year veterinary students at the William R. Priotchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at the University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

Residency Program

Note to applicants for the 2014-15 cycle:

Interview dates for interested applicants are: Friday October 24, Friday November 21, Friday December 19, and Friday January 9, 2015.  If you would like to schedule an interview, please email Dr. Maggie Knipe (mfknipe@ucdavis.edu) with the date you would like to come visit.


UC Davis Neurology/Neurosurgery Program

This program is a 3-year, post-doctoral, non-degree clinical training program. Minimum qualifications include graduation from an accredited veterinary school, and a one-year internship or equivalent practice experience. Renewal of appointment to a second and third year is based on merit and successful completion of the previous year. Resident selection is made on the basis of academic achievement, career objectives, references, interpersonal skills, clinical skills, personal narrative, and pertinent experience.

Objectives of the program:

This is an approved residency training program of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM), Specialty of Neurology, and the residency meets all the requirements for board certification. The objectives of the program are to train individuals to be excellent veterinary neurologists and neurosurgeons, focusing on developing critical thinking, an in-depth knowledge base, and life-long learning skills.

Resident responsibilities:

The UC Davis Neurology/Neurosurgery Service is dedicated to providing 24 hour receiving and care of neurological patients. 60% of the residency is spent on hospital duty receiving patients, including weekday, weeknight, and weekend emergency duty, all under the direct supervision of a faculty neurologist. 10% of the residency is spent on other specialty rotations. 30% of the residency is professional development time for study, preparation and completion of at least one research project, and completion of outstanding records and electrophysiology reports. Twenty-four days of vacation are earned each year.  Vacation days must be used by the end of each year, or they will be void.

Hospital duty includes primary assessment, management and treatment of animals with neurological disorders, performance of special procedures and neurosurgery, and assistance in nursing care and rehabilitation - all under the guidance and supervision of faculty. Residents are responsible for client and referring veterinarian communications (documenting in the record), and maintenance of the medical record, including writing surgery and electrodiagnostic reports.

A primary goal of this residency program is to provide a high level of academic instruction for residents. Resident rounds are held twice weekly for 49 weeks of the year. A one-hour didactic class as well as a one-hour journal club are held weekly for 10 months of the year. One-hour neuromuscular or neuropathology rounds are held 20-25 times a year. Residents must prepare and deliver a grand rounds presentation 3 times a year, and must present an abstract of their research project at least once at the annual Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (VMTH) House Officer Seminar Day.

Residents in this training program have a substantial teaching load. Teaching veterinary students in both formal rounds sessions as well as through case-based teaching is expected for the entire time residents are on clinical service. Residents also participate in teaching veterinary student laboratories in the neuroscience and clinical neurology courses.

Completion of a research project is a requirement for ACVIM board certification, and is necessary to attain a residency certificate. Residents will be guided through all stages of conception, execution and reporting of a research project.

Structure and organization:

Weekday clinic duty starts at 7:00 am, when the resident examines inpatients and prepares for rounds and receiving patients for the day. Student rounds are from 9:00-10:00 am, and brief evening rounds are held between 4:00-6:00 pm. Residents are responsible for completion of patient assessments, diagnostic evaluation, institution of treatment plans, and completion of the medical record before leaving the building each day. Residents on-call are expected to receive all neurological emergencies presenting to the VMTH. Two faculty members are rostered on clinic duty 49 weeks a year, with a faculty member on call at all times. The majority of case management and student teaching is performed under direct supervision of a faculty member.

Faculty participating in the program:

Dr. Peter Dickinson – 50% clinical position

Dr. Richard LeCouteur – 50% clinical position

Dr. Beverly Sturges – 70% clinical position

Dr. Karen Vernau – 70% clinical position

Dr. Marguerite Knipe – 90% clinical position

All faculty are involved in the clinical training of all residents. Research projects are performed under the guidance of one or more faculty members, depending on the nature and topic.

Process of evaluation:

Residents receive written and verbal evaluations at least at 6 months, 12 months, 2 and 3 years.  More frequent evaluations may be performed, if indicated. If a resident’s performance is considered in need of remediation, a written letter of warning outlining areas of concern and stating the steps required (with a time-frame) to rectify the concerns will be provided. If these performance issues are severe, the resident will be informed that failure to improve could result in termination from the program. If the resident’s performance fails to improve despite 2 or more warnings, the resident may dismissed or not renewed for the following year.

State Licensure:

Possession of a CA state license is encouraged to facilitate prescription writing, but not required.

Advanced degree during residency: None

Additional requirements for foreign applicants:

Must be eligible for a TN (Mexico and Canada) or J-1 visa with no bars or home country requirement.

Selections will be made in accordance with the guidelines of the VIRMP. For application procedures, salary, and benefits, and other information about the residency program, please see General Information on the VMTH website.

Although not mandatory, a personal interview is highly recommended. Contact Dr. Knipe (mfknipe@ucdavis.edu) to set up an interview.

Residents must be able to arrive at the hospital within 15 minutes of an emergency call, therefore, residents must plan to live within 15 minutes of the hospital.