Residency Program in Small Animal Clinical Nutrition

Residency Program in Small Animal Clinical Nutrition


  • To provide advanced post-doctoral clinical training with a primary emphasis on small animal veterinary clinical nutrition and a minor emphasis on veterinary internal medicine.
  • To provide experience in teaching veterinary clinical nutrition to veterinary students and other residents.
  • To provide experience in research by designing and executing an investigative project in veterinary clinical nutrition.
  • To fulfill the residency training requirement for board certification in veterinary nutrition as established by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM; nutrition is the 6th ACVIM specialty).


Veterinary clinical nutrition, particularly as it pertains to small animal species (dogs and cats), has become a well-developed clinical discipline. There is a need in academic institutions, industry, regulatory/government, and private practice for clinicians specialized in veterinary clinical nutrition.

The small animal clinical nutrition residency program is designed to provide advanced post-doctoral clinical training in veterinary nutrition of three years duration following a 1-year formal internship or equivalent experience. Completion of this residency will partially fulfill the requirements for board certification in veterinary nutrition by the ACVIM.

The Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital has the physical facilities and clinical case load to support a nutrition residency program. Two faculty members, both board certified specialists in nutrition, have direct supervision over this residency program.

Qualifications of Candidate

  • Candidates for residency training in small animal clinical nutrition must have a DVM or equivalent degree from an accredited college of veterinary medicine.
  • At least one year of general clinical experience (e.g., internship, residency, or practice).
  • Excellent communication skills.
  • Excellent organizational skills.

Preference will be given to candidates indicating intent to pursue board certification in veterinary nutrition.

Residency Program

The residency shall be for two years, with the second year based on merit (written evaluation) and desire of the candidate. A certificate of completion will be awarded only to those candidates completing the program.

General Scope and Nature of Training

The resident will spend approximately 70% of the time in the medical practice of the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital with an emphasis on clinical nutrition. Time will be spent receiving cases in the Nutrition Clinic and providing nutrition consultations to other services in the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, as well as to referring veterinarians from around the world.

The resident will spend approximately 30% of their time in other activities, including course work if needed, research, self-study, and participation in rounds and seminars, both in the Veterinary School and the Graduate Group of Nutritional Biology at the University of California, Davis. Presentation at the annual Veterinary Intern & Resident Research Symposium is mandatory.

24 days/year of vacation will be allowed, subject to approval of the Service Chief.

Written evaluation of the resident's progress and performance will be made by the Service Chief at regular intervals. The resident will be required to submit a written evaluation of the residency program at its conclusion.

Responsibilities and Activities

Clinical Responsibilities

  • Residents will participate in the Nutrition Support Service that provides nutritional consultations (customized assessments, evaluations, and recommendations) for all services within the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, referring veterinarians, and their clients. As such, excellent oral and written communication skills are mandatory.
  • Residents are required to participate in Nutrition Support Service rounds and journal club.
  • It is expected that residents will attend hospital rounds with other clinical services.

Teaching Responsibilities

  • Assist in the supervision and instruction of professional students in their clinical training in veterinary nutrition at the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital.
  • Residents are required to participate in the didactic teaching of pre-clinical students by preparing and presenting at least one lecture as well as participate in various laboratory and discussion sessions in basic and advanced clinical nutrition courses.
  • Residents are encouraged to participate in nutrition continuing education reviews for other services in the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital and local veterinary associations.


* Depending upon the applicant's background, attendance in graduate level nutrition courses may be recommended.

* Individuals wishing to pursue an academic program (MS, PhD) following the residency may apply to do so. It will not be possible to pursue an advanced degree concurrently during residency training. However, course work completed during the residency training may be applied toward completion of a graduate degree in the future.


  • Each resident is expected to initiate and complete at least one research project during their residency under the direction of the faculty advisors. The resident must be the principal investigator on this project.
  • The goals are to become acquainted with clinical research, to publish an abstract, to present new material orally to peers, and finally, to publish these findings in a refereed scientific journal. The project may be laboratory/experimental, descriptive, or clinical, depending on the experience and interest of the resident and availability of resources and funding.
  • The results of the investigation will be presented at the Veterinary Intern & Resident Research Symposium (and potentially at a national meeting) as well as for publication by the end of the residency.

Application Procedures

Candidates must apply through the Veterinary Internship and Residency Matching Program; relevant deadlines and application requirements may be found at The Residency Director can be contacted with questions or to request an interview. An interview, while not required, is strongly encouraged.

Clinical Nutrition Faculty

Jennifer Larsen, DVM, PhD (Service Chief, Residency Director, Professor of Clinical Nutrition)
Diplomate (Nutrition) of the ACVIM
Interests: Clinical nutrition, assisted enteral and parenteral feeding.

At least one other board certified veterinary nutritionist is on faculty and involved in the training program.

Other Faculty
There are at least 2 board certified specialists in each of the following clinical or para-clinical areas of interest: Internal Medicine, Cardiology, Dermatology, Oncology, Neurology, Anesthesia, Emergency/Critical Care, Ophthalmology, Surgery, Clinical Pathology, Dentistry, and Radiology.

General Information About Residency Training Programs at the University of California, Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital

A large and complete Health Sciences Library is located adjacent to the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital for support of the resident's clinical training and research activities. This library facility is one of five on the Davis Campus. Collectively, these libraries contain more than 2.3 million volumes and receive more than 51,000 periodical and journal titles annually.

Application procedures and candidate selection will be made in accordance with the guidelines of the Veterinary Internship/Residency Matching Program.

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

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.

Please note: Candidates should be US citizens, US permanent residents, or foreign nationals eligible for a J1 scholar visa (and at the time of application not be subject to holds, bars or in-country rules) or Canadian/ Mexican citizens eligible for a TN visa. We will NOT pursue other visa categories. Candidates will be expected to pay for their visa fees. The offer of a residency may be withdrawn if written evidence of a visa is not provided by July 1, 2024.

Information for Foreign Applicants

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 $950). 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.

This position is a critical position and subject to a background check. Employment is contingent upon successful completion of background investigation including criminal history and identity checks.