Residency Program in Small Animal Surgery (SAS)

Residency Program in Small Animal Surgery (SAS)

The UC Davis Veterinary Surgery Services will not be offering any visiting days this year. However, a series of invited teleconference interviews will be held on Monday 1/14/2019 and Tuesday 1/15/2019 between 8-10 am PST. The invitations for these interviews will be sent via email to the candidate between 1/7/2019 and 1/9/2019.

  • The residency is a 3-year program. The residency starts on August 1st. The residency provides in-depth surgical training that permits individuals to pursue a career in either private practice or an academic setting. The program meets all requirements of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS); during this time the resident must produce at least 1 manuscript from UC Davis, that is accepted for publication in an appropriate journal to get a resident certificate.
  • There are two surgical services (orthopedic surgery, soft tissue surgery) in the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (VMTH). A service consists of the faculty member, one or two residents, and sometimes 3-5 senior veterinary students. Surgical residents actively participate in client interviews, physical examinations, and interpretation of diagnostic procedures. The findings and interpretations of the resident are evaluated and extended by consultation with faculty surgeons, and with residents and faculty from the various support services.

Operative experience is extensive in this program. At first the resident assists or operates under direct supervision; later primary responsibility is gradually transferred to the resident. Clinical experience is supported by participation in service rounds as well as by attending clinical rounds in medicine, radiology, pathology and anesthesiology. Clinical rounds at the UCD Medical Center are open to VMTH residents and including Orthopedic Grand Rounds, Morbidity/Mortality Rounds, Oncology Grand rounds, etc.

  • Neurosurgical cases are handled mostly through the Neurology/Neurosurgery service. The small animal residents will rotate onto service with neurology and will have primary on call duties for neurosurgery under the direction of the small animal faculty. Two-week rotations in Radiology, Pathology, General Internal Medicine/Critical Care and Anesthesiology are required to comply with ACVS Residency program guidelines.
  • Residents are assigned to clinic duty for approximately 38 weeks per year. SAS residents participate in in-hours and after-hours emergency surgery. During off clinic time, the resident is expected to organize and conduct research projects and maintain ACVS required documents.

One research project performed at UC Davis must be completed and submitted for publication prior to completion of the third year. Short-term controlled research projects are encouraged, as well as quality prospective and retrospective clinical research activities. Funding is available to support resident research projects; however, application to extramural sources is strongly encouraged to develop expertise in preparing effective grant-writing skills


  • Daily case management of all patients assigned to his/her surgical service, including after hours admissions.
  • Assistance and supervision of student treatment of animals on the surgical service.
  • Extensive preparation for surgical management of patients is expected, i.e., the resident should be completely familiar with the pertinent surgical anatomy and clinical literature relative to each patient prior to the surgical procedure.
  • Correspondence with clients and referring veterinarians, as directed by the faculty member in charge of the service. The resident is expected to maintain follow-up communication with clients until resolution of the initial problem.
  • Attendance at rounds and seminars as scheduled by the surgery service. Active instruction of students is expected.
  • The resident maintains a surgical log and related ACVS documents.
  • The resident is expected to present at least one major extramural conference during the residency program. The resident is also expected to participate in the Annual House Officer Seminar Day.
  • The resident will also present a variable number of lectures as a participant in Surgical Resident Rounds or didactic courses organized by the SAS group.
  • The resident must have a minimum of one major manuscript submitted to a refereed journal by the end of the third year. All manuscripts must be reviewed by a member of the SAS faculty prior to submission. If the resident does not complete a manuscript draft by the time they graduate, then the data is the property of the University and a copy must be given to the project mentor. The resident will not receive a resident certificate until the manuscript is complete.
  • The resident is expected to be abreast of the surgical literature. Specific journals and methods for periodic review will be discussed with the resident early in the program.
  • Medical records must be kept current, using computerized input of case summary data. All medical records must be completed prior to completion of the residency program.

Progression to the next year is contingent upon satisfactory performance. A certificate is awarded upon completion of the residency. Graduate degree programs may not be pursued concurrently with the surgical residency program.


The VMTH will provide limited support for travel to meetings. Residents that are presenting research will get priority in attending the meetings they request.


A DVM degree or equivalent is required, plus completion of a formal internship.

Please note: Foreign nationals must be eligible for either a TN or J1 visa with no bars or home country requirement.

Selection will utilize the Veterinary Internship/Residency Matching Program. For application procedures, salary and benefits, and other information about the residency program, please see Residency Information on the VMTH web site at General Information.

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.

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.