Residency Program in Neurology / Neurosurgery

Residency Program in Neurology / Neurosurgery

This program is a 3-year, post-doctoral, non-degree clinical training program. Minimum qualifications include graduation from an accredited veterinary school, and a one-year internship or equivalent practice experience. Renewal of appointment to a second and third year is based on merit and successful completion of the previous year. Resident selection is made on the basis of academic achievement, career objectives, references, interpersonal skills, clinical skills, personal narrative, and pertinent experience.

Objectives of the program:

This is an approved residency training program of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM), Specialty of Neurology, and the residency meets all the requirements for board certification. The objectives of the program are to train individuals to be excellent veterinary neurologists and neurosurgeons, focusing on developing critical thinking, an in-depth knowledge base, and life-long learning skills.

Resident responsibilities:

The UC Davis Neurology/Neurosurgery Service is dedicated to providing 24 hour receiving and care of neurological patients. 60% of the residency is spent on hospital duty receiving patients, including weekday, weeknight, and weekend emergency duty, all under the direct supervision of a faculty neurologist. 10% of the residency is spent on other specialty rotations. 30% of the residency is professional development time for study, preparation and completion of at least one research project, and completion of outstanding records and electrophysiology reports. Twenty-four days of vacation are earned each year. Vacation days must be used by the end of each year, or they will be void.

Hospital duty includes primary assessment, management and treatment of animals with neurological disorders, performance of special procedures and neurosurgery, and assistance in nursing care and rehabilitation - all under the guidance and supervision of faculty. Residents are responsible for client and referring veterinarian communications (documenting in the record), and maintenance of the medical record, including writing surgery and electrodiagnostic reports.

A primary goal of this residency program is to provide a high level of academic instruction for residents. Resident rounds are held twice weekly for 49 weeks of the year. A one-hour didactic class as well as a one-hour journal club are held weekly for 10 months of the year. One-hour neuromuscular or neuropathology rounds are held 20-25 times a year. Residents must prepare and deliver a grand rounds presentation 3 times a year, and must present an abstract of their research project at least once at the annual Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (VMTH) House Officer Seminar Day.

Residents in this training program have a substantial teaching load. Teaching veterinary students in both formal rounds sessions as well as through case-based teaching is expected for the entire time residents are on clinical service. Residents also participate in teaching veterinary student laboratories in the neuroscience and clinical neurology courses.

Completion of a research project is a requirement for ACVIM board certification, and is necessary to attain a residency certificate. Residents will be guided through all stages of conception, execution and reporting of a research project.

Structure and organization:

Weekday clinic duty starts at 7:00 am, when the resident examines inpatients and prepares for rounds and receiving patients for the day. One hour didactic student rounds are held at least once daily. Residents are responsible for completion of patient assessments, diagnostic evaluation, institution of treatment plans, and completion of the medical record before leaving the building each day. Residents on-call are expected to receive all neurological emergencies presenting to the VMTH. A faculty member is on call with the resideny at all times. The majority of case management and student teaching is performed under direct supervision of a faculty member.

Faculty participating in the program:

There are six faculty involved in the clinical training of all residents. Research projects are performed under the guidance of one or more faculty members, depending on the nature and topic.

Process of evaluation:

Residents receive written and verbal evaluations at least at 6 months, 12 months, 2 and 3 years. More frequent evaluations may be performed, if indicated. If a resident’s performance is considered in need of remediation, a written letter of warning outlining areas of concern and stating the steps required (with a time-frame) to rectify the concerns will be provided. If these performance issues are severe, the resident will be informed that failure to improve could result in termination from the program. If the resident’s performance fails to improve despite 2 or more warnings, the resident may dismissed or not renewed for the following year.

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:


Additional requirements for foreign applicants:

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

Selections will be made in accordance with the guidelines of the VIRMP. For application procedures, salary, and benefits, and other information about the residency program, please visit the Clinical Training Programs page.  Although not mandatory, a personal interview is highly recommended. Contact Dr. Karen Vernau, to set up an interview.

We strongly encourage interested candidates to visit at any time; additionally, we will request interviews from selected candidates after reviewing completed AAVC packets, and official interview dates will be arranged on an individual basis.

Residents must be able to arrive at the hospital within 15 minutes of an emergency call, therefore, residents must plan to live within 15 minutes of the hospital.