Residency Program in Small Animal Emergency Medicine and Critical Care



Residency Program in Small Animal Emergency Medicine and Critical Care

This is a three year, postdoctoral, non-degree training program. Minimum qualifications include graduation from an accredited school of veterinary medicine and a one-year internship or equivalent practice experience. Acceptance into the second and third years is based on merit, desire, and successful completion of the earlier year. The selection of residents is made on the basis of academic achievement, career objectives, letters of recommendation, interpersonal skills, clinical skills, personal narrative, and pertinent experience.

Objectives of the program:

The objectives of this program are to train individuals to be excellent emergency and critical care clinicians with a focus on the development of critical thinking, an in-depth knowledge base and life long learning skills. The program provides experience and expertise in clinical teaching and guidance in the area of research. This is an approved residency training facility for the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care and the residency program meets all the requirements for board certification.

The need for specific training:

 The specialty of small animal emergency and critical care is currently growing with over 500 boarded specialists currently and approximately 190 residents in training. The UC Davis SA ECC program emphasizes the importance of understanding physiology and provides an intensive didactic resident rounds course. The caseload exposes the residents to a broad variety of cases with ample opportunity to observe and participate in cutting edge veterinary medicine. This program will prepare individuals to be highly competent in stabilization and management of the emergency patient as well as be capable of providing high level critical care. Particular strengths of the program include the training in respiratory medicine, mechanical ventilation and hemodynamic stabilization. It is excellent training for future academicians as well as private practitioners. This program does not provide extensive surgical training, beyond that required for board credentials.

Courses of activities:

Sixty five percent of the residency is spent on clinic duty in either emergency receiving or in the intensive care unit, under the direction of an emergency/critical care specialist. The resident will have case-based interactions with specialists in diagnostic imaging, surgery, cardiology, neurology and neurosurgery, anesthesia, oncology, renal medicine and hemodialysis, internal medicine, dentistry and oral surgery, dermatology, ophthalmology, nutrition, clinical pathology and anatomic pathology. Fifteen percent of the residency is spent in other specialty rotations. Residents will be on-call afterhours on weeknights for approximately 30% of their time as a resident and on ICU weekend duty for 25 to 35 weekends of the 3 year period. The resident will also cover 4-5 weeks of primary overnight emergency receiving per year. In addition residents share some After Hours Emergency Receiving duty with residents in other receiving services. Time is provided for preparation and completion of a research project, attending scientific meetings, and vacation.

Clinic duty on the emergency receiving service includes primary assessment, management and treatment of emergency cases. The majority of the shifts are weekday or swing receiving shifts under the direct guidance and supervision of a faculty member with some overnight and weekend shifts included in the schedule. Residents are responsible for client communications, referring veterinarian communications and timely maintenance of an acceptable medical record. Clinic duty when working in the intensive care unit includes examination and evaluation of all ICU patients, consulting with students and clinicians of other services on patient management issues, performance of procedures and assistance in nursing care.

A primary aim of this residency program is to provide a high level of academic instruction. Resident rounds are held weekly for 10 months of the year, residents will be required to complete assigned reading and participate in these sessions. In addition journal club is held weekly and residents are required to have the read the assigned journal article and be willing to answer questions, contribute to the discussion etc. Residents do several presentations annually including grand rounds, resident rounds, and student club events.

Residents in this training program have a substantial teaching load. Teaching veterinary students and emergency interns in both formal rounds sessions as well as case based teaching is expected for the entire time residents are on clinical service. Residents also participate in teaching veterinary student laboratories. Performance of a research project is a requirement of both the ACVECC board certification and necessary to successfully attain a residency certificate. Residents will be guided and assisted through all stages of development of a research project including project design, grant writing, data generation, data analysis, manuscript preparation and abstract presentation.

Structure and organization:

Day clinic duty starts at 7:00am, although the exact start time will be determined by case requirements. The receiving day ends at 5:30pm but residents are responsible for completing all patient assessments, diagnostic evaluation, institution of the treatment plan and completion of the medical record before leaving the building. The ICU day is finished at ~6:00pm or when all patients are adequately stabilized. Faculty members are on duty in both the emergency room and the ICU all day on weekdays. There is 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.

Residents have a shared office space. There is access to numerous shared computer terminals throughout the hospital and an extensive library of relevant textbooks is readily available. The Medical Library is in an adjacent building and the University has full online access to many medical resources including PubMed, Cab Abstracts and Web of Science. The facilities and resources for research opportunities are extensive.

Faculty participating in the program:

Dr. Kate Hopper – holds a 50% clinical position

Dr. Karl Jandrey – holds a 35% clinical position

Dr. Steven Epstein – holds a 70% clinical position

Dr. Jamie Burkitt  – holds a 70% clinical position

Dr. Ron Li – holds a 50% clinical position

Dr. Angela Borchers - holds a 90% clinical position

Process off evaluation:

Residents receive 4 evaluations (written and verbal) during the residency program at 6 months, 12 months, 2 and 3 years. If considered indicated more frequent evaluations may be performed. If the performance of a resident is considered inadequate they will receive written letters of warning describing the concerns and what is required to rectify them and in what time frame. If these performance issues are severe the resident will informed that failure to improve could result in termination from the program. If the performance of the resident fails to improve despite two or more of these warnings the resident maybe dismissed.


Successful completion of a minimum of 45 weeks of clinical duty in emergency receiving and 40 weeks of clinical duty in the ICU, participation in rotations with other services as required by ACVECC and completion of a research project at UC Davis during the residency period are all required in order to be awarded a residency certificate.

State Licensure:

SPECIAL NOTE: The California Veterinary Medical Board requires all veterinarians working at the University of California, Davis with primary patient care duties to hold a special University license. To obtain this University license, veterinarians that are not licensed in the state of California will be required to take a 3-day course on regionally-important diseases and a short open-book jurisprudence test, in addition to being background checked. The course will be given on-site at the University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine early in the course of your training program (dates to be determined). The cost of licensure will be the responsibility of the trainee (currently $600). This limited license only permits individuals to work in California as veterinarians for University-related practice. Although veterinarians that do not have hands-on patient care duty (e.g., anatomic pathologists, clinical pathologists) are not required to hold this license, obtaining the license is encouraged whenever your activities may have an impact on animal-owning members of the public. If in doubt, please contact the Office of the CVMO for clarification.

Advanced degree during residency:


California Driver's License:

Not required.


  • Graduated from a college or school of veterinary medicine accredited by the AVMA; or possess a certificate issued by the Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates (ECFVG); or are legally qualified to practice veterinary medicine in some state, province, territory, or possession of the United States, Canada, or other country.
  • Have demonstrated unquestionable moral character and professional behavior.
  • One year rotating internship or equivalent mentored practice experience.

Requirements for foreign applicants:

In addition to the minimum qualifications above, foreign graduates must also meet the following requirement.

  • Must be eligible for a TN (Mexico and Canada) or J-1 visa with no bars or home country requirement. Also, while the hospital will initially pay the cost of the VISA application fee, you will be expected to reimburse the hospital upon your acceptance and arrival in your new house officer position Information for Foreign Applicants

Service/Board requirements:
TOEFL – No but encouraged

Selections will be made in accordance with the guidelines of the Veterinary Internship/Residency Matching Program. For application procedures, salary and benefits, and other information about the residency program, please see General Information.

To be considered for this program, Interviews are by invitation only. Skype interviews are required and in-person interviews can be arranged if desired. All applicants who wish to interview for the residency must submit a curriculum vitae to Dr. Jaime Burkitt at by November 25, 2018 for consideration. The phone/skype interview will be approximately 20 minutes in length and will be scheduled either later in December or in early January. Personal interviews are not necessary for selection for the residency

Please note: Foreign nationals must be eligible for either a TN or J1 visa without bars or home country requirement. 

The University of California, Davis, and the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital 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.