Residency Program in Dairy Production

Residency Program in Dairy Production


  1. To provide advanced training in dairy production medicine and herd health for careers in advanced dairy practice, dairy consulting practice, food animal academic positions, or industry, depending on the needs of the resident.
  2. To provide clinical teaching experience.
  3. To provide experience in designing and implementing a clinical research project.
  4. To provide graduate training and an advanced degree.
  5. Time in the program could count toward possible board certification in: ABVP - Dairy Practice; ACVPM - Preventive Veterinary Medicine; or Theriogenology, depending on the needs and interests of the resident.


The Veterinary Medicine Teaching and Research Center (VMTRC) is located in the heart of California's dairy industry. Tulare County is the leading milk production county in California, home to over 285 dairies with an average herd size of over 1,700 milk cows. In 2013, the County's revenue for milk was over $2.8 billion. Tulare County is home to many bovine feedlots for dairy beef production and heifer replacement rearing. The Dairy Production Medicine residency program is situated in this unique area and taps into these important resources.

In addition to clinical training in dairy production medicine, this residency provides candidates with quantitative skills that can be utilized in the interest of controlling and preventing economically important diseases and improving the efficiency of dairy cattle production. Other skills developed include applied computer science, health management and food safety issues. Currently, residents completing the program receive a residency certificate, the Master of Preventive Veterinary Medicine (MPVM) degree, and will be qualified for employment in progressive dairy practices; academic positions in dairy medicine or reproduction, especially where epidemiology and/or preventive medicine is emphasized; in industry; and for leadership positions in public sector regulatory veterinary medicine.

The MPVM degree program involves three academic quarters of coursework on the UC Davis campus and occurs during the second year of residency. (While taking academic coursework, the resident is not assigned to clinical duties or rotations.) The MPVM program emphasizes epidemiology and biostatistics, and provides for a variety of elective courses in nutrition, mathematical modeling for epidemiology, infectious diseases, animal health economics, and diagnostic test evaluation. A publishable, written thesis involving the use of MPVM-acquired quantitative skills is a requirement of the program. Examples of thesis topics include clinical trials, prevalence studies, clinical evaluation of diagnostic tests, cost-benefit assessments, and decision-tree analyses for problem-solving of herd problems.  Residents will be required to pay tuition for the MPVM Program, but will receive their full resident's salary while enrolled in the degree program..

If interested, and as an alternative to the MPVM degree program, the resident may pursue a Masters of Business Administration at the Craig School of Business, at the California State University, Fresno, located about 50 miles from the VMTRC. Residents will be required to pay tuition for the MBA Program, but will receive their full resident's salary while enrolled in the degree program.

Additional Information for graduates of universities outside of the United States and Canada

TOEFL scores for foreign applicants.  If English is not your first language, applicants must submit TOEFL scores (or IELTS equivalent) to provide evidence of demonstrated written and verbal skills in English.  Scores that are two years old or more will not be accepted.  The minimum TOEFL score required for admission to this program is 90 or greater.  As an alternative to TOEFL scores, scores may be submitted from the Academic Modules of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) designed by the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate and administered by the British Council worldwide. (The applicant's most recent overall IELTS BAND score must be at least 7 on a 9-point scale.)  The applicant is responsible for providing current (within two years) TOEFL scores or an official Test Report Form (TRF) of the IELTS.

Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 (or equivalent for foreign students) in their veterinary medical degree program for consideration of admission to the residency program.

Qualifications Required of Applicants

Applicants must have a DVM or equivalent degree. Preferably, applicant must have completed a one-year large animal or food animal internship or have one year of large animal or food animal clinical experience that includes substantial dairy cattle experience. Appropriate private practice experience is considered favorably, in lieu of formal internship training.  Please note: Foreign nationals must be eligible for either a TN or J1 visa with no bars or home country requirement. Information for Foreign Applicants

The duration of the residency program is 3 years. Renewal for the second and third years will be contingent upon satisfactory performance.

General Scope and Nature of the Training

The First Year Resident will:

  1. Under supervision of faculty and senior residents attend core herd visits and provide herd health/production medicine services
  2. Rotate through emergency services, sharing duty with two clinicians & one resident
  3. Participate in VMTH 1st year resident retreat
  4. Be responsible for some clinical teaching in 4th-year student rotations: review of reproductive tracts, pregnancy diagnosis, and how to teach artificial insemination, and farm labor training
  5. Participate in weekly rounds, biweekly journal club and regular practice meetings
  6. Take on additional herd work as assigned by the clinicians, including: dairy records monitoring and evaluation, reproductive herd health, on-farm individual animal medicine and surgery, youngstock programs, nutrition services
  7. Initiate a research project to include:
    • A project topic for their master's program to be conducted from Tulare
    • Conduct a literature search and find mentor(s) for the project
    • Identify skills needed to accomplish the project (e.g computer, laboratory, statistical, etc.)
    • Identify elective courses to take
    • Draft a project proposal for funding

8. Attend the Annual House Officers' Seminar Day at the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital

By the end of the first year, the resident should be fully capable to perform all clinical duties in the practice; be able to collect dairy herd records and run standard and custom herd monitoring reports; be able to evaluate dairy rations and feeding practices on the farm; have developed and delivered a farm labor or student training program; and have a project topic well-outlined before starting the coursework for the Master's degree program.

The Second Year Resident will:

  1. Start the Master's degree course work
  2. Work on refining project methods and funding proposal
  3. Be encouraged to submit an abstract and present it at the Annual House Officers' Seminar Day

By the end of the second year, the resident should have completed all Master's course work; secured funding for and initiated their project; and have submitted an abstract for Dairy Research summaries at AAPB or ADSA.

The Third Year (Senior) Resident will:

  1. Take over the responsibility for at least one herd for performance monitoring, and delivery of herd health services.
  2. Participate in clinical duties and clinical instruction.
  3. Complete Master's degree project, finalize and defend thesis.
  4. Present research project at the Annual House Officer's Seminar Day.
  5. Participate in weekly rounds, biweekly journal club and regular practice meetings.
  6. Submit one or two articles for publication if planning to take a specialty board examination.
  7. Mentor junior residents and students.
  8. Update curriculum vitae and develop job search strategy.
  9. Have an opportunity to attend the AABP meeting or other suitable dairy cattle health or production meeting.

At the end of the third year, the resident should have completed their project and presented it; submitted paper(s) for publication; be skilled in oral or poster scientific presentation; and have been responsible for at least one client's total herd health care.  If identified as a goal at the beginning of the residency program, the third-year resident should be prepared for achieving board certification status in one of the relevant veterinary specialties.

Application Procedure
Selection will utilize the Veterinary Internship/Residency Matching Program (VIRMP) For application procedures, salary and benefits, and other information about the residency program, please see Application and General Information. If you visit the VMTRC, please contact Staci Slaght (559-688-1731) before your arrival. Resident selection will be done at the VMTRC.

The VMTH and the VMTRC are committed to building strong relationships with its constituents. A major part of the residents' duties, therefore, includes timely communication with referring veterinarians and clients.

The University of California, Davis, and the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital and the Veterinary MedicineTeaching and Research Center are interested in candidates who are committed to the highest standards of scholarship and professional activities, and to the development of a campus climate that supports equality and diversity.