Small Animal Internal Medicine Residency

Objectives and Goals

This American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) residency program has been designed to provide in-depth training in small animal internal medicine and related basic and applied sciences. The program has been developed to provide the resident with a comprehensive knowledge base of internal medical conditions of small animals. Our program strives to prepare medicine residents for active careers in academia or specialty practice; however, our caseload provides excellent and broad medical experience over the three year residency allowing ventures in to other careers in the health-related professions. The overall goals of the program are:

  • To become familiar with internal medical diseases afflicting dogs and cats and to be able to logically correlate clinical data in order to formulate correct treatment plans.
  • To provide a firm understanding of the underlying pathophysiological basis of disease.
  • To master the art and science of complete patient care and to appreciate the economic and emotional factors involved in the health care of small animals. To appreciate the importance of the human animal bond and the role of animals in clients’ lives.
  • To develop the art of interpersonal communications for proper colleague and client relationships.
  • To allow the resident an opportunity to develop teaching skills as they as they participate in the educational training of veterinary students.
  • To allow the resident to complete a research project, to draft the results in a manuscript suitable for publication, and to present the research finding to the faculty of the College of Veterinary Medicine and at a national meeting.
  • To provide the resident instruction and guidance in experimental design, grant preparation, manuscript writing, and submission for publication in referred journals.
Historical Background

The Small Animal Internal Medicine Residency program at the University of Florida has been in existence since 1978.

Program Description

The University of Florida offers a 3-year residency program in small animal internal medicine to prepare talented veterinarians for a career in academic veterinary medicine or specialty practice. Emphasis is placed on clinical medicine, teaching, and clinical research.

Clinical Medicine

The Small Animal Medicine referral service operates a two-team system with a faculty member and resident on each team. An intern may also be assigned to one or both teams. Teams see cases every other day with workups, consultations, and teaching on the non-receiving days. We have a separate outpatient medicine service providing well-care, so referral cases make up a majority of the internal medicine caseload. Emergency cases, including those seen after-hours are seen by the triage service, which is staffed by interns and supervised by the critical care clinician. Internal Medicine residents participate in daytime triage for 2 weeks during the first year. The internal medicine residents also provide a back-up medical consultation service for the emergency clinicians.

Residents spend the majority of their residency on the internal medicine service. Additional required rotations include cardiology, neurology, oncology, nutrition, radiology including ultrasound, and clinical pathology. Elective rotations may be chosen from other services within the hospital (anesthesia, emergency/critical care, ophthalmology, dermatology, pathology, zoological medicine) or out-rotations at referral hospitals, other colleges, or human hospitals. Training in hemodialysis is also an option.

The University of Florida Veterinary Hospitals (UFVH) house state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment including endoscopy, laparoscopy, holmium-YAG laser, ultrasonography, CT, MRI, nuclear scintigraphy, and fluoroscopy. Unique strengths in therapy at the UFVMC include invasive cardiology, nuclear medicine, stereotactic radiation therapy, hemodialysis, laser lithotripsy and a nascent interventional radiology program. These programs have been enhanced with the opening of a new 100,000 square foot Small Animal Hospital in November 2010. The new facility has an on-site linear accelerator and a state-of-the-art cath lab that is used for a wide variety of minimally invasive procedures including tracheal, urethral and ureteral stenting, as well as embolization of vascular anomalies to name a few. Well trained animal nurses function around the clock to provide excellent patient care in the intensive care unit. The University of Florida Shands Medical Center is located a short walk from the UFVH, and provides a rich resource of collaborative and research opportunities. The Small Animal Internal Medicine Service is staffed by faculty with diverse interests including oncology, gastroenterology, nutrition, endocrinology, critical care, feline medicine, hematology, and infectious diseases.

Teaching: Teaching skills are developed in the clinic, in lectures prepared for the Resident’s Seminar Series, in didactic lectures given to veterinary students, and in student laboratories. The resident seminar series is presented weekly and is designed to provide residents an opportunity to review and present scientific material. Each resident will present one seminar yearly. The topic must be chosen at least 3 months in advance to allow ample time to prepare for this seminar.

Additional organized rounds and seminars in support of the resident clinical and teaching programs include daily small animal medicine rounds, daily house officer rounds, bi-weekly small animal medicine journal club, weekly Medicine Seminars, monthly cardiology rounds, monthly morbidity and mortality rounds and a multitude of other seminars and rounds presented by other departments and at the Shands Medical Center nearby. The menu of rounds and seminars is tailored to assist residents in literature review and board preparation and to expose them to a broad range of clinical and academic experiences. Residents are also encouraged to attend medical grand rounds at the nearby College of Medicine (Shands Medical Center) as time permits.

 

Research: All residents at the UF Veterinary Hospitals are required to complete a research project in the biological sciences. The form of such projects is highly variable but all involve a literature search, with subsequent development of a hypothesis and appropriate methodology to address the specific aims, and submission of a grant proposal. Residents present their projects with results and conclusions to the faculty and at a national meeting. A manuscript must be submitted to a refereed journal for successful completion of the program. Two additional manuscripts are also required, but these may take the form of a review article, case report, or other format not requiring traditional research. Time for completion of the research project is scheduled during “off-clinic” weeks.

Financial support is available to assist with costs associated with travel to a national meeting and for miscellaneous academic expenses, photocopying and development of teaching materials.

 

Library

A wide selection of current journals is available in the Reading Room of the College of Veterinary Medicine. The main Health Science Library is located in the Health Science Center within the College of Medicine; roughly a 10-minute walk from the College of Veterinary Medicine. A majority of journals are available through electronic access. Each resident is required to be familiar with pertinent articles in the current literature.

Resident Selection Procedure

First-year residents are virtually always recruited from high-quality internship programs. In rare exceptions, residents have been recruited following exceptional experience in practice without a formal internship. A DVM degree or its equivalent is a prerequisite. Small animal medicine faculty and residents evaluate applications, and final selection of the resident is made through the Veterinary Intern-Resident Matching program. Selection is based on:

  • The individual’s curriculum vitae, including college transcripts.
  • A letter of intent containing the applicant’s statement of interest and goals.
  • Reference letters from a minimum of three people.
  • The quality of the internship and other prior veterinary experience.

We do not have formal interviews of candidates for the residency. However, we have set aside two visitation days on which candidates can meet the faculty and residents, tour the facility, and get a more close-up and personal view of our program. We would encourage any visitors to try to schedule their visit for Friday, December 9, 2011, or Friday, January 6, 2012. This will assure the opportunity to meet most of the faculty on the service as well as several of the current residents. If you are interested in visiting, please contact Dr. Kirsten Cooke (email is most reliable): cookek@ufl.edu. An itinerary will be prepared and sent to you. If you are unable to visit, please feel free to contact any of us or to browse our web site at vethospitals.ufl.edu.

Matching applicants who require a visa are responsible to obtain his/her H1-B or TN-1 (for Canadian or Mexican citizens) visa. To expedite the process and enable the applicant to begin the residency at the required time a $1000 expedited processing fee is charged by INS for H1-B visas. The applicant is responsible for this fee. The matching resident will be asked to complete a controlled substance questionnaire.

 

Employment and Benefits

The starting stipend for residents is currently $30,000. Residents will receive medical insurance for themselves. Family insurance is available for an additional fee paid for by the resident. The College of Veterinary Medicine will provide Professional Liability Insurance (malpractice insurance coverage).

Residents accrue annual leave at the rate of 15 work days for each full year of employment. Annual leave may only be granted for the amount of time accrued but may be taken as earned. Leave must be taken in the year in which it was earned; unused leave does not “roll over” to the next year. Residents will not be paid for any unused leave at the time of their termination or completion of their program. Schedules for vacations should be established at times arranged by the Program Coordinator. Vacation time is to be taken when the resident is not scheduled to be on clinic duty or emergency back-up. Requests must be made on the standard University Leave Form well in advance, and must be signed by the Small Animal Medicine Service Chief and the Chair of the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences. Except in unusual circumstances, approval will not be granted for annual leave during the final 3 weeks of the residency