Residency Program in Livestock Reproduction and Herd Health

Residency Program in Livestock Reproduction and Herd Health

Upon completion of this three year residency program, veterinarians should be well prepared for progressive practice, leadership in regulatory positions, or clinical academic positions. The residency program provides an opportunity to obtain the Master's of Preventive Veterinary Medicine degree and develop expertise in reproduction, epidemiology, and herd health. This residency program is not specifically designed to prepare residents for any specific board certification, but the residency will meet some or all of the requirements for certification in boards relating to theriogenology, and preventive medicine.


  • To provide advanced education and training in livestock reproduction and herd health involving dairy cattle, beef cattle, sheep, and goats.
  • To provide clinical teaching experience.
  • To provide experience in design and implementation of investigative projects in a clinically related area.
  • To develop expertise in herd and flock health management, including reproduction, advanced reproductive techniques, neonatal health, udder health, food safety, diagnostic methods, and metabolic and nutritional health.
  • To develop working relationships with faculty who have expertise in these areas.
  • To develop knowledge, skills, and abilities in application of methods of population medicine, epidemiology, statistics, and enterprise economics involved in the delivery of health services to herds and flocks.
  • To develop and apply technology in herd health management, including that related to computers, advanced diagnostics, and reproductive technology.
  • To develop critical assessment and problem solving skills related to herd health management, including endemic and epidemic disease investigation.
  • To meet requirements for board certification in theriogenology and/or preventive medicine.

Livestock veterinarians are increasingly being called upon to act as advisors and consultants, to expand productivity, promote well-being, and improve the health of livestock, while enhancing the quality and minimizing the cost of food animal products to consumers and society. To accomplish these objectives, practitioners need to develop new approaches whereby the herd or flock is considered the patient, and health management of the patient incorporates such issues as market and enterprise economics, risk assessment, and societal needs for environmental and public health protection. These new approaches will require epidemiologic and statistical methods in measuring and managing herd health, as well as providing new means of enhancing herd health. The clinical training program described herein is designed to produce veterinarians with a wide scope of skills and abilities aimed at problem solving at the food animal population level.

General Scope and Nature of the Training
The residency program is intended to prepare veterinarians for a career in herd health practice, regulatory veterinary medicine, or livestock research and teaching.

First Year Program

  • During the first year the resident will spend 8 months in the Livestock Reproduction and Herd Health (LR/HH) service, 2 months in the 'in house' Livestock Medicine Service involving internal medicine and surgery of food animal species, 2 weeks at the California Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, and 2 weeks at the Veterinary Medical Teaching and Research Center in Tulare. The resident is also provided 24 days of scheduled paid vacation yearly.
  • The resident will have primary patient care responsibilities under the supervision of a senior clinician. Responsibilities will include management of routine cases, where a case may represent an individual animal, herd or flock. Training will include supervised experience in both routine (breeding soundness exams, and ultrasound) and advanced reproductive techniques (embryo transfer), use of commercial computerized records, large commercial dairy, sheep, and goat production medicine, including computer database and ultrasound pregnancy diagnosis, commercial beef production medicine, and food animal internal medicine.
  • Rotating duty into after-hours livestock emergency duty is required and shared with the 4 other residents.
  • Residents will develop expertise in evaluating reproductive problems, in assessing reproductive performance, and in the management of reproduction programs with large herds and flocks. Residents will acquire improved skills and abilities at rectal palpation, use of ultrasound, in assessment of male breeding soundness, and in embryo transfer. Residents will develop skills in use of computer software aimed at managing and analyzing animal health data, including that related to reproduction, udder health, production, neonatal health, etc.
  • Residents will have a significant role as clinical instructor of students in the Livestock Reproduction and Herd Health service and related clinical instruction. Instruction also may include assisting in teaching of students in all 4 years of their veterinary education, and in conducting and participating in rounds and seminars.
  • Residents will develop the ability to critically evaluate information such as that published in the literature, presented in seminars and classroom, and presented in the lay press. Residents will become familiar with use of the library and with computerized searches of the literature.
  • Residents will begin to develop the research project, which is required as part of the residency and will be implemented during the 2nd year of the residency, while enrolled in the MPVM Program. Submission of the research project results to a refereed Journal will be required for completion of the residency.
  • Attendance at the Annual House Officer Seminar Day in March is mandatory. Final year VMTH residents from all Services present their research results at this event.
  • Toward the end of the first year, residents will spend a 2-week rotation at the VMTRC/CAHFS at Tulare to view a variety of management systems, and at the CAHFS at Davis to participate in laboratory diagnostic process.

Second Year Program

  • Between August and June, of the second year, the resident will be enrolled in the Masters of Preventative Veterinary Medicine Program. In addition to required core courses, the resident will take courses specifically tailored to each resident's background and need, including, but not limited to enterprise economics, interpretation of tests, advanced statistical methods, nutrition, herd health, and food safety. Grant funds may be available to help with tuition for the MPVM Program.

Residents will continue to have on-call emergency duty during the MPVM instruction period, but it will not be scheduled during exam periods and university quarter break periods (Winter break and one week in March).

  • Residents are expected to complete and present the findings of their research project and the final approved MPVM thesis, which should be based on a clinical problem being addressed in the LRHH service, by August of the second year.
  • The other 2 months (approx.) will be engaged in similar clinical and instructional activities as described for the first year, allowing time for other residents to take out-of-clinics time.
  • Attendance in the Annual House Officer Seminar Day is mandatory.

Third Year Program

  • Residents will be expected to assume primary responsibilities for selected herds. Residents will be expected to apply knowledge, skills, and abilities developed while in the MPVM Program to the development and implementation of herd health services.
  • The resident will be responsible for overseeing and introducing activities of the first-year resident and for scheduling and coordinating emergency duties, and ensuring appropriate resident coverage at all times. The third year resident will continue to share in emergency duty coverage.
  • Presentation in the Annual House Officer Seminar Day is mandatory, as is one presentation per quarter at herd health rounds. Residents will be strongly encouraged to present findings of a project at a major outside meeting or conference.
  • The resident will be scheduled a month out-of-clinics to prepare a research project for publication.
  • With prior approval of a proposal, residents may be scheduled an elective month to pursue a specific training objective, either on or off-site.

Qualifications Required of Applicants
Applicants must have a DVM or equivalent degree, and completion of a minimum of one-year internship or one year in food animal practice. Resident selection considers academic achievement, career objectives, letters of recommendation, skill in communications and interpersonal interactions, and relevant experience.  Please note: Foreign nationals must be eligible for either a TN or J1 visa with no bars or home country requirement. Information for the Foreign Applicants


PAVE     No

The duration of the residency program will be 3 years, with one new resident selected each year. Renewal for the second and third years will be contingent upon satisfactory performance. The MPVM degree, if appropriate, will be awarded upon successful completion of the requirements for the degree and upon completion of the third year. Successful completion of the program also confers a Residency Certificate of Completion.

Grant funds may be available to help pay tuition for the MPVM Program.

Application Procedure
This program participates in the Veterinary Internship/Residency Matching Program:  For application procedures, salary and benefits, and other information about the residency program, please see General Information on the VMTH web site.

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