Small Animal Clinical Sciences Internship

All applications should be submitted through the VIRMP Matching Program.


Internship Objectives:

The specific objectives of the internship program are…

  • …to provide the intern an opportunity to acquire advanced training and skills in the diagnosis and treatment of disease in small animals.
  • …to provide the intern an opportunity to acquire advanced knowledge, training, and skills in the specific areas of internal medicine, surgery, and triage/emergency medicine, as well as general practice, anesthesiology, neurology, oncology, cardiology, ophthalmology, diagnostic imaging, clinical pathology, dermatology, behavior, shelter animal medicine, and zoological medicine.
  • …to provide the intern an opportunity to develop teaching skills, including lecture techniques applicable to presenting high quality seminars and interactive teaching skills necessary to educate individuals in small group setting.
  • …to provide the intern an opportunity to prepare for a residency program, graduate study, or for entry into a high quality small animal veterinary practice.


Intern Responsibilities:

Intern responsibilities consist of clinical assignments which include patient care, participation in the clinical teaching of junior and senior veterinary students, participation in the intern and resident seminars series and possible participation in selected continuing education courses. Responsibilities also include rotating day, night and weekend emergency duty. Interns are required to…

  • …assist and direct the admission, care, and monitoring of patients on the intern’s assigned service.
  • …supervise the care and treatment of referral cases as directed by the attending faculty member.
  • …attend all appropriate rounds, seminars, and meetings as scheduled by the assigned service.
  • …assist and supervise patient care provided by students; active instruction of students is expected.
  • …communicate with owners and referring veterinarians in a timely and professional manner in every case, provide appropriate follow-up information via documented verbal and/or written correspondence, and complete medical records promptly.
  • …provide scheduled primary daytime, nighttime and weekend clinical triage and emergency service.


Faculty and Facilities:

Faculty in support of the small animal rotating internship will be those involved in the operation of the University of Florida Small Animal Hospital. The clinical facilities of the Small Animal Hospital will be the primary training location, although external rotations are occasionally permitted for specialized training experiences. You can learn more about the UF Small Animal Hospital, clinical services and clinical faculty by visiting

A wide selection of textbooks and current journals is available in the Reading Room (a small library located within the College of Veterinary Medicine). The main Health Science Library is located in the Health Science Center Communicore within the College of Medicine; roughly a 10-minute walk from the College of Veterinary Medicine. The University of Florida also has an extensive selection of electronic resources with access to thousands of online journals available for no charge. Each intern is encouraged to become familiar with pertinent articles in the current literature.


The Clinical Program:

The clinical internship program will consist of rotations through services within the small animal hospital. The general rotation schedule is listed below; however, specific time allocations will be adapted to both the intern and clinic needs.

General Rotation Schedule
Rotation / Service Time Allotted
Internal MedicineSurgery

Daytime Emergency/Triage

Overnight Emergency

Primary Care Medicine


Elective Rotations


10-12 weeks10-12 weeks

8-9 weeks

8-9 weeks

2 weeks

1 week

6 weeks

2 weeks


Emergency Rotations. The UF Small Animal Hospital operates year round. In support of this, interns will complete 8-9 weeks of daytime triage and 8-9 weeks of overnight emergency duty as described above. The primary responsibility of the intern while on emergency rotations will be to perform initial evaluation and stabilization, determine whether admission to the VMC is warranted, and to transfer the case to the appropriate clinical service. A back-up resident and/or faculty member in each specialty will also be scheduled and available to offer consultation and assistance at any time.

Small Animal Internal Medicine. The intern will be involved in the diagnosis and treatment of internal medicine cases under direct faculty supervision and will be responsible to the faculty member with whom he/she is rotating on the medical service. The intern shall be the “clinician of record” on all cases and will assume the responsibilities of the attending veterinarian. However, interns are expected to consult with the faculty clinician on every case. In this way the intern will be afforded optimal responsibility and will, at the same time, receive continuous feedback on his/her diagnostic, clinical, teaching, and communicative skills.

Small Animal Surgery. The intern will be involved in the diagnosis, treatment, and care of surgical cases under direct faculty supervision. Cases will be assigned to the intern at the discretion of the faculty member. As the intern demonstrates an advanced acquisition of surgical skills and knowledge increased case responsibility may be assigned as determined by the direct supervising faculty surgeon.

A “conflict of interest” is generally present in most academic internship programs when it comes to the surgical exposure of residents, interns, and senior veterinary students. This problem will be minimized by intern rotation and case selection. The resident and intern will be given preference over senior veterinary students for surgical cases considered to be of special interest and value. However, “routine” surgical procedures will also be assigned because of their practical value. The intern will also assist with surgery laboratories while assigned to the surgery services in an effort to further enhance surgical and teaching skills.

Primary Care Medicine. During their two week rotation, the intern will be under the supervision of the service chief and their duties and responsibilities during this rotation will be determined by that person.

Anesthesia. There will be a one-week anesthesia rotation required during the internship. During this rotation the intern will be under the supervision of the service chief and on-duty attending faculty and their duties and responsibilities during this rotation will be determined by that person.

Elective Rotations. Approval of special elective rotations must be granted by the Internship Committee. Every effort will be made to accommodate reasonable and timely requests by the intern, but it will not always be possible to meet all specific requests.

Vacation. Two weeks will be available for vacation each year. These do not have to be taken together, but will be used in one-week blocks. These will be assigned at the time the schedule is created. In general, every effort will be made to accommodate specific requests for scheduling of the vacation blocks, and there will be some flexibility for emergency situations. However, vacation days taken during required rotation blocks will only be allowed in exceptional circumstances and with the permission of the appropriate service chief and supervising clinician.



The internship training program will utilize faculty members within the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences (SACS) as advisors. The intern’s faculty advisor will be assigned by the Internship Committee at the beginning of the training program. The advisor will be chosen based on the intern’s letter of intent and direct communication with the intern regarding their clinical interests and long-term goals following acceptance into the training program.

The faculty advisor’s primary role is to serve as a mentor and advocate for the intern. They should assist the intern in setting and keeping to timetables for completion of the internship requirements. The mentor will be kept advised of the intern’s progress through receipt of rotation evaluations and will also participate in the quarterly program progress evaluations. The mentor should also serve as a source of advice and guidance for career decisions (particularly for those interns interested in pursuing advanced training in a clinical specialty).

The faculty advisor is not ultimately responsible for the intern’s successfully completing all requirements (that responsibility belongs to the intern). In particular, although the advisor will often be a great source of advice for the seminar and publication requirements, there are many instances in which a different faculty mentor may serve as a research or publication mentor.


Intern Evaluations:

Interns will receive evaluations after each rotation and there will also be formal performance reviews every 3-4 months. The purpose of these evaluations and review is to open and improve communication between the Program Director, Internship Oversight Committee, the interns’ faculty advisors, and the interns in order to outline constructive methods to help, not hinder, the intern toward positive progress in the training program. In addition to these formal reviews, the intern should meet with their faculty advisor regularly to discuss their progress and accomplishments as well as any concerns that may have arisen about the internship or their performance.


The Teaching Program:

Clinical Teaching: Throughout the internship program, interns will be viewed as role models by professional students. While rotating through each hospital service, the intern will actively participate in the educational instruction and professional evaluation of junior and senior veterinary students. The intern will also actively participate in daily service and ward rounds, special topic conferences, and other scheduled conferences of the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences. Other seminars in the College of Veterinary Medicine and the Veterinary Medical Center will be attended as scheduling permits.

Other teaching responsibilities: In addition to their active role in the clinical instruction of the students while participating in clinic rotations, interns will be required to participate in the weekly Intern and Resident Seminar Series. Interns may be invited to present seminars on topics of special interest to freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior veterinary students during their professional education or for special events such as club meetings, local conferences, etc… Interns may also be asked to mentor students in the surgical and medical teaching laboratories.


Intern and Resident Seminar Series:

The Intern and Resident Seminar Series is presented weekly and is designed to provide interns and residents an opportunity to receive and present scientific and clinical information. Each intern will present one seminar. Attendance at others is required. The topic must be chosen at least 3 months in advance in conjunction with the intern’s faculty mentor to allow ample time to prepare for this seminar. The mentor should also be involved in the development of the seminar, including a pre-presentation review of the actual lecture. Intern seminars are typically scheduled towards the middle of the spring semester.


Intern Publication Requirement:

Interns are required to submit a manuscript for publication at some time during their program. Their must be a UF faculty member co-author. The manuscript must be submitted to a refereed journal for peer-review. Acceptance of the manuscript is not required.

A formal research experience is not required, but is encouraged. However, interns wishing to pursue this type of work should keep their faculty advisors apprised of their progress and should consult with them before starting any research project. Care must be taken to ensure that completion of a project is feasible within the structure and time constraints of a single year internship program.


Other Opportunities:

Additional organized rounds and seminars in support of the internship training program include daily Small Animal Medicine and Small Animal Surgery Service Rounds, daily Small Animal Medicine House Officer Rounds, weekly Small Animal Surgery Case Presentations, Small Animal Medicine and Small Animal Surgery Journal Clubs, Cardiology and ECG Rounds, ECCM Pathophysiology Rounds, and Morbidity and Mortality Rounds among others. In addition, faculty may provide selected Pathophysiology Seminars in an effort to help the interns advance their clinical and basic science knowledge. The menu of rounds and seminars is tailored to assist interns in literature review and to expose them to a broad range of clinical and academic experiences.

There is also an opportunity to help serve the local community and develop surgical and teaching skills by participating in the Operation Catnip clinics. These clinics occur monthly and result in the sterilization of thousands of feral cats each year. After a brief training introduction interns are welcome to participate in any or all of these events.


Certificate of Internship:

A certificate of successful internship completion will be awarded at the end of the internship only when the stipulated Internship Certificate Requirements are satisfied and the Internship Committee Members have signed the Documentation of Internship Completion Form.

Internship Certificate Requirements

  • The intern must complete all clinical rotations, scheduled emergency duties, medical records, and referral letters.
  • The intern must demonstrate competency in medical and surgical skills judged appropriate for an intern’s level of professional development.
  • The intern must attend all seminars, rounds, and scheduled meetings (including journal clubs) specific to the service the intern is currently assigned to and specific to the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences.
  • Each intern must present one seminar in the Intern and Resident Seminar Series. Topics must be selected 3 months in advance.
  • The intern must submit one first or second author manuscript to a refereed journal. This manuscript must be peer reviewed and must be co-authored by a faculty member.
  • The intern must make a written evaluation of the internship program. This evaluation must be submitted to the Director of the Internship Program by the end of the second week of June.
  • The intern must complete the final checklist and submit this document to the Program Director by the end of the second week of June.