Residency Program in Medical Oncology

Residency Program in Medical Oncology


  • To provide non-degree, post-doctoral training in oncology.
  • To provide the Resident with a broad overview of clinical and research priorities in veterinary oncology.
  • To prepare the Resident for the Certification Examination of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine.
  • To provide the resident the opportunity to participate in the clinical training of DVM students in the principles and applications of clinical oncology.

Oncology is the most recently recognized specialty of Internal Medicine under the umbrella of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM). Advances made in diagnosis, treatment and prevention of cancer in human medicine have also influenced the practice of veterinary medicine, encouraging specialization. Further, new understandings of etiology and pathogenesis of cancer have emerged from laboratories, and many of the mechanisms underlying cancer in experimental animals and human patients are known or suspected to be operative in domestic animals with cancer as well. There are great opportunities for veterinarians with specialized training in oncology at this time in private practice, academic hospitals, industry and research laboratories and it is clear that the current training programs are not adequately filling the available posts. The program outlined here stresses clinical patient management, but encourages investigation into more fundamental processes in oncology. Residents are encouraged to pursue both clinical training, as well as basic research training during their residency. The clinical training program is designed to prepare the resident for a variety of opportunities in the work place, and to provide fundamental knowledge and training to assist in preparation for specialty certification.

Qualifications Required of Applicants
Applicants must have a DVM or equivalent degree and must have completed a one-year internship or comparable program of post-graduate training in veterinary practice. Please note: Foreign nationals must be eligible for either a TN or J1 visa without restrictions. 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

Description of Training
Duration: The duration of the program is 3 years. Renewal for the second and third years is contingent upon satisfactory performance. At the completion of the program, the resident may be able to continue in a Master of Science or PhD training program, or as a post-doctoral fellow, in an area of interest. Funding for such a program is secured through extramural grant requests and is not a part of the residency training program.

First Year Program

  • The first year of the residency program is dedicated to service in the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (VMTH). Residents will have primary case responsibility, under the direct supervision of the faculty members, as well as the third year resident, and will develop an understanding of concepts underlying medical management of companion animals with cancer. This will include management of routine (non-referred) cases, but primary emphasis will be on referred patients, including both secondary and tertiary referrals. Patient case load reflects animals with cancer of all sites, allowing broad exposure to both routine, as well as unusual cancer patients. The resident will gain experiences with diagnosis and treatment of animals with cancer, utilizing the full range of capabilities in a large, well equipped, modern veterinary teaching hospital.
  • Residents will develop skills in evaluating diagnostic images (radiographs; CT and MRI; ultrasound; nuclear medicine), and cytologic and histologic interpretations. Rotations are scheduled with the Small Animal Radiology Service, as well as with the Clinical Pathology Service for training in these departments. Residents will develop experiences in collaborations regarding cancer patient management with other specialists including, but not limited to, internists, radiation oncologists, and surgeons.
  • Residents will have the opportunity to develop teaching skills and will have a major role as clinical instructors. This will be performed, in part, by assisting in the tutorial support of senior veterinary students and conducting clinical rounds. Experience lecturing to small groups will be provided in the seminar/rounds format. Residents will receive assistance and guidance in the preparation and delivery of lectures and research papers.
  • Residents will develop the ability to critically evaluate veterinary and comparative literature, and will obtain the broad scientific base which is critical to understanding problems in veterinary oncology. The resident will be encouraged to use the medical library and computer-assisted learning programs, and to attend as many relevant seminars as possible within the school. Opportunities to hear research presentations at the UCD Cancer Center in the School of Medicine will be arranged.
  • The first year resident is encouraged to develop a project with a clinical or laboratory-based research theme that will ultimately lead to manuscript preparation and submission, aimed at satisfying the publication requirement for certification in the ACVIM, Specialty of Oncology.
  • Residents share out-of-hours emergency duty on a rotational basis

Second and Third Year Program

  • Duties in the VMTH will be similar to the first year, but with increasing responsibility for clinical instruction of DVM students both on the hospital floor and in group settings in the classroom. Direct support from faculty is provided for all residents. The third year residents will have some supervisory responsibility for first-year residents. The second and third year residents will have time provided out-of-clinics professional development time for research, other hospital rotations, and studying, in addition to the scheduled vacation time. Professional development time will allow the resident to complete projects, as well as prepare for ACVIM board examinations. The nature and amount of time spent on hospital rotations outside the Oncology Service will be assigned and tailored to individual needs and interests of the resident. These rotations might include dedicated time in Internal Medicine, Neurology, Dermatology, Cardiology, Emergency and Critical Care, or the research laboratory. Additionally, an outside rotation in a human Cancer Center is encouraged.
  • Residents will develop expertise in one or more areas of oncology. third-year residents will spend dedicated time with the Radiation Oncology Service learning the principles of radiation oncology, including radiation physics, treatment planning, and applications of radiation therapy. Residents will also be expected to attend, and participate in, seminars and conferences organized toward their areas of special interest. Guidance in the development of a special interest will be coordinated by the Service Chief or another faculty member with allied interests.
  • The second and third year residents are expected to attend the Veterinary Cancer Society Annual Conference, as well as, the ACVIM Forum. A presentation of the resident's research project(s) is expected at the UC Davis Annual House Officer Seminar Day (held in the spring) in the second or third year of the residency. Additionally, the resident is expected to present their research project at the Veterinary Cancer Society Annual Conference.
  • Residents share out-of-hours emergency duty on a rotational basis.

Residents will share general hospital after hours/weekend emergency on a rotational basis. When on call for duties in the Oncology Service, the resident must be accessible by pager or phone and remain within a reasonable distance of the VMTH so that when contacted he or she can respond to the VMTH in person when needed. Residents will be available to perform specific oncologic procedures and assist with antineoplastic drug preparation for administration. Other duties should not be scheduled which conflict with on call duties.

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

Selection 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.  For questions regarding the application process, contact the House Staff Coordinator, Corey Vermilion, at:  Candidates with additional questions regarding the program may contact Dr. Jenna Burton at

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.

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.