Residency Program in Cardiology

Residency Program in Cardiology


  • To provide advanced post-doctoral clinical training with primary emphasis on veterinary and comparative cardiovascular medicine and minor emphasis on veterinary internal medicine.
  • To provide experience in teaching veterinary cardiology to veterinary students and other residents.
  • To provide extensive experience in cardiovascular research through training devoted to study design, grant writing, and manuscript writing.  Residents will gain experience conducting clinical and/or molecular research as it pertains to cardiovascular disease.
  • To fulfill the residency training requirement for board certification in veterinary cardiology as established by the Cardiology Specialty, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM).

*Further details of programmatic design are provided at the in-person interview dates, which are by invitation only.


Veterinary cardiology, particularly as it pertains to small animal species (dogs and cats), has become a well-developed clinical discipline. The specialty group in Veterinary Cardiology is well established within the ACVIM. There is a need in academic institutions and private veterinary practice for clinicians trained in veterinary cardiology.

The cardiology residency program is designed to provide advanced post-doctoral clinical and research training in veterinary cardiology of four years' duration following a formal internship. Completion of this residency will partially fulfill the requirements for board certification in veterinary cardiology of the ACVIM (successfully passing the board examinations is also required for certification).

The VMTH has the physical facilities and clinical caseload to support a cardiology residency program for four residents. Faculty from the Department of Medicine, School of Veterinary Medicine will instruct in this residency. The Cardiology service supports a robust caseload of more than 3000 cases and consultations per year.

Qualifications of Candidate

Candidates for residency training in veterinary cardiology must have a DVM or equivalent degree from an accredited college of veterinary medicine, and must have completed one year of formal internship in the clinical practice of veterinary medicine. Preference will be given to candidates indicating an intent to pursue board certification in veterinary cardiology by the ACVIM or an equivalent foreign specialty college. Please note: Foreign nationals must be eligible for either a TN or J1 visa with no bars or home country requirement.

Information for Foreign Residents


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

Individuals wishing to pursue an academic degree program (MS, PhD) following the residency may apply to do so as UC Davis offers excellent programs for pathways to graduate degrees and research independence. Residents will not pursue advanced degrees during residency training.

General Scope and Nature of Training

Year one of the cardiology residency is research intensive with the resident spending 25% on the clinical cardiology service and the majority of time engaged in cardiovascular research which may be clinical, bench-top or a mix of both.  The first year resident will be responsible for assisting in clinical trials and consulting cases within the VMTH, thus gleaning a vast array of clinical training in addition to a focus on cardiovascular research.  Residents can expect gaining training and experience in study design, grant writing, data collection and analysis, statistical evaluation of data, conducting research and manuscript preparation/publishing.

For years 2, 3 and 4, the resident will spend approximately 75% of the time in the medical practice and clinical teaching programs of the VMTH, with primary emphasis on cardiovascular medicine. The resident will become familiar with cardiovascular diseases of all domestic species, although the emphasis of training will be on small animal species (dogs and cats).  The resident will spend approximately 25% of the time in other activities, including rounds and seminars, attending other internal or external services, investigative work (research), self-study, and other training and vacation.

Approximately four weeks/year (24 working days) of vacation are provided, subject to scheduling approval of the Service Chief.

Written evaluations of the resident's progress and performance will be made by the cardiology faculty and Service Chief at six-month intervals in the first year and at the end of the second, third year and fourth years of the program. The resident will be required to submit a written evaluation of the residency program at its conclusion.

Clinical and Teaching Responsibilities

  • Receiving, diagnostic evaluation, medical and interventional treatment of patients with cardiovascular disease, under the supervision of service faculty.
  • Consultations (in-house, telephone) and cardiovascular evaluations of patients on other hospital services.
  • Daily hospital rounds with service faculty and assigned professional students.
  • Presentation and participation in hospital seminars and rounds involving cardiology.
  • Assist in supervision and instruction of professional students in clinical medicine. This may include presentation or participation in lectures and/or laboratories in the professional curriculum.

Specialty Training

Training and experience will be provided in all areas of cardiovascular clinical medicine, according to the guidelines of the Specialty of Cardiology of the ACVIM. This training should include periods of study in each of the following areas:

  • Cardiovascular physiology, pharmacology, and comparative cardiovascular medicine. This will be attained by independent study under the direction of service faculty and by attendance of cardiovascular rounds and conferences within the VMTH, including a weekly cardiology Journal Club, and at the UC Davis Medical Center.
  • Specialized diagnostic studies
  • Physical examination, phonocardiography, external pulse recording, by direct performance and interpretation in clinical patients.
  • Cardiac electrophysiology, resting and ambulatory electrocardiography, cardiac event recording, exercise and radiotelemetry recording, by performance in clinical patients and consultation with faculty and staff in the School of Medicine.
  • Echocardiography M-mode, 2-dimensional, 3-dimensional, transesophageal, and Doppler, by performance and interpretation in clinical patients and attendance of conferences at the UC Davis Medical Center.
  • Invasive and interventional techniques, including cardiac catheterization, angiography, balloon dilation angioplasty, coil embolization, and transvenous pacemaker implantation, by performance, interpretation, and reporting in clinical patients, by observation of human cardiac catheterizations and externship with the Pediatric Cardiology Service at the UC Davis Medical Center.
  • Cardiovascular nuclear medicine, CT or MRI imaging studies, by consultation with faculty in the Department of Radiological Sciences.
  • Cardiovascular pathology, by review of pathological examinations of clinical patients, and by independent study under the direction of service faculty.
  • Independent study in all areas of cardiovascular science and medicine, including review of current and past literature in veterinary and human cardiology, is an essential part of the residency, and will be directed by service faculty. Formal review of current literature will also occur during a weekly Journal Club.

Research Training

Extensive training in cardiovascular research is provided through this residency program with the intention of attracting candidates with a keen interest in research and academic veterinary medicine.  While this program does not include a graduate degree, the training and research experience provided will enable the candidate to consider advanced research training and graduate education if interested.  Full details of the programmatic schedule and expectations will be reviewed at the in-person interview dates.

Resident selection will be 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 visit the Clinical Training Programs page.

UC Davis and the VMTH 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.

Cardiology Certification Statistics
Total Residents Trained (1974-2019) = 38
First Attempt Pass Rate = 32/34 (94%)

The cardiology service is supported by three on-site clinical cardiologists, Dr. Joshua Stern, Dr. Lance Visser, and Dr. Catherine Gunther-Harrington. Additionally, programmatic collaborations exist with our UCVMC-San Diego division of cardiology that houses the clinical specialists, Dr. Joao Orvahlo and Dr. Timothy Hodge. This programmatic link supports resident training through combined journal club activities and some research collaborations. 

The residency program in cardiology is currently directed by Dr. Lance Visser. Residents will be assigned to a primary mentor upon acceptance into the program.

Applications will be reviewed as they are received. In person interviews are highly encouraged and will be by invitation only. Interviews will be held on December 13, 2019.

We offer one of the busiest academic cardiology services with excellent interventional caseload. Our residents typically complete their ACVIM requirements for interventional procedures and echocardiograms after 12-18 months of service.  In addition to the excellent clinical training, our program places special emphasis on cardiovascular research and provides an additional year that is largely focused on research.  Residents will gain critical experience in developing research questions, designing studies, writing grants, conducting bench top and/or clinical studies, and writing/publishing manuscripts.  While this program does not provide a graduate degree, UC Davis has numerous competitive programs in place for providing a pathway to graduate degree and research independence.

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.

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.