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 and interests 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 and/or ACVPM - Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 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 500,000 dairy cows located among more than 200 dairy farms with an average herd size of over 1,800 milk cows. In 2021, the County's revenue for milk was over $1.9 billion. Tulare County is also 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 areas of learning and skill development include applied computer science, health management and on-farm 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 ruminant 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 are responsible for payment of tuition and fees for the MPVM Program, but they will receive their full resident's salary while enrolled in the degree program. Residents will have the opportunity for funding support for graduate studies through competitive intramural or other grant applications submitted in collaboration with VMTRC faculty members.

As an alternative to the MPVM degree program, the resident may pursue a Master’s of Science in Animal Biology or Nutrition, at the University of California, Davis.  Residents will be required to pay tuition for the MS 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 acceptable TOEFL score is 80, and minimum acceptable IELTS score is 7.0.  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 orientation.
  4. Be responsible for some clinical teaching in 4th-year student rotations.
  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. Determine interest in obtaining board certification with the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine (ACVPM) and/or the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners- Dairy Practice (ABVP).
    • Participate in ACVPM board certification rounds.
    • Maintain and complete case logs for ABVP board certification.
  8. Initiate a research project to include:
    • A project topic for the 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.)
    • Draft a project proposal for funding.
    • Complete the data collection portion of the research project
  9. Attend the Annual Veterinary Intern and Resident Research Symposium 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 the data collection for their project completed before starting the coursework for the Master's degree program.

The Second Year Resident will:

  1. Start the Master's degree course work
  2. Attend the Annual Veterinary Intern and Resident Research Symposium Day at the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital
  3. Begin data cleaning, analysis and manuscript write-up for their research project

By the end of the second year, the resident should have completed all Master's course work and initiated data analysis and manuscript write-up of their project.

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 Veterinary Intern and Resident Research Symposium 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. Apply and sit for the board examination for the ACVPM, if applicable.
  8. Complete credentialling for ABVP and apply to sit for the board exam, if applicable.
  9. Mentor junior residents and students.
  10. Update curriculum vitae and develop job search strategy.
  11. Have an opportunity to attend a national veterinary 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 and/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 or more 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 Rhonda Gillum (559-688-1731) before your arrival. Ranking of resident applicants will be done at the VMTRC and submitted to the VIRMP for matching.

The VMTH and the VMTRC are committed to building strong relationships with their 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.