Small Animal Surgery Residency

Historical Background

The Small Animal Surgical Residency Program at the University of Florida has been in existence since 1977. All residents have completed their programs and all of our residents that have completed the program since 1987 have successfully passed the American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS) Certification examination, the lion’s share on their first attempt of obtaining board certification. While the majority of our former residents are in private practice, eight are currently employed are in academics, two in research or industry and twelve of the former residents currently employed in private practice previously held academic appointments. A list of former residents and their current address is provided at the end of this document.

Requirements for the residency certificate currently exceed those outlined by the American College of Veterinary Surgeons. Our program strives to prepare our surgery residents for academic careers and board certification; however, our caseload provides excellent and broad surgical experience for individuals that desire to enter specialty practice.



Our four year program is a combined Masters of Veterinary Science/clinical training program designed to prepare the resident for a career in academic veterinary medicine. The program provides a broad foundation in the clinical practice of veterinary surgery which prepares residents for a successful career in either academic surgery or private referral specialty practice. The first year of the program is devoted to pursuit of a Masters of Veterinary Science degree. During the first year, the resident will function solely as a graduate student fulfilling their didactic requirements and performing their major research project. The resident will serve as a teaching assistant for the freshman anatomy and advanced small animal surgery laboratory courses in the fall and the fundamentals of surgery course in the spring. Satisfactory performance during the first year is a requirement for continuation of the program. After completion of the first year, the resident will begin their three years of clinical training in small animal surgery. This phase of the program is structured according to the guidelines defined by the American College of Veterinary Surgeons and is primarily devoted to participating in the orthopedic or soft tissue surgery service rotations within the Small Animal Hospital. Surgical skills and judgment will be obtained through supervised operative experience, didactic course work, teaching of professional students, and participation in veterinary and human surgical rounds and seminars. In the third year, a chief resident service is scheduled for 8 weeks under the auspices of an assigned faculty mentor. Completion of at least two original manuscripts (one most likely resultant from the resident’s Masters research) as well as the successful defense of their Masters program is required in order for the resident to receive their residency certificate.


Resident Selection Procedure

Residents are recruited from internship programs or private practices. A Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree or equivalent is a prerequisite. Small Animal Surgery faculty and residents evaluate the application pool and final selection of the resident is done via the Veterinary Intern/Resident Matching Program. Selection will be based on:

  • The individual’s curriculum vitae including college transcripts
  • A statement of interests and goals
  • Reference letters from a minimum of three qualified individuals
  • Prior veterinary experience
  • Previous scholarly activities
  • Optional interview which is encouraged

We encourage individual one day interviews for resident candidates. These are scheduled with advanced notice. Interviews are scheduled during October through the first two weeks in January. Please contact Dr. Dan Lewis, the program coordinator, by e-mail ( to request an interview. An electronic copy of the candidates CV and VRIMP application (stating GPA and class rank) must be included.


Case Loads
Orthopedics Soft Tissue Total
Surgery Appointments 35/week 24/week 59/week
Surgery Cases 451/year 748/year 1199/year

Our residents serve as primary clinician on the majority of the cases seen by each service. Soft tissue surgery receives a number of internal transfers from medicine and other services and those numbers are not reflected here. In addition, both services receive transfers from the triage service each week; again those numbers are not reflected here. In addition, oncology has a separate oncologic surgical service and our residents frequently rotate through that service several times during their clinical training.


Responsibilities of Residents During Their Clinical Training

Responsibilities of surgery residents consist of clinical assignments, which include patient care, participation in the clinical teaching of veterinary students, lectures to underclassmen, resident seminars, and some participation in surgical laboratories and continuing education courses. Responsibilities will include rotating night and weekend emergency duty. The majority of emergency duty is primary surgical backup. Surgery residents are required to:

  • Assist and direct the daily admission, care and monitoring of all patients assigned to his/her surgery service, including after hours admissions.
  • Supervise the care and treatment of referral cases as directed by the faculty surgeon and communicate with referring veterinarians.
  • Attend rounds, seminars, demonstrations, and meetings as scheduled by each surgery service. Active instruction of students will be expected.
  • Assist and supervise student patient care.
  • Correspond with clients and referring practitioners by phone and/or letter.
  • Prompt completion of medical records.

Mandatory rotations through other services include Radiology, Anesthesiology, Internal Medicine and Clinical/Surgical Pathology. These rotations may be done within the UF Small Animal Hospital or (with approval) at other institutions. Optional rotations may include Large Animal Surgery, Neurology, Ophthalmology, Medical or Surgical Oncology and/or rotations at Shands Teaching Hospital within the College of Medicine. Outside rotations, either at a human medical teaching hospital or another veterinary institution are encouraged. Outside rotations are done at the resident’s own expense and are therefore not required.

Residency Certificate Requirements
  • Each resident must maintain a surgical log in a format approved by the ACVS Credentials Committee. The Resident’s Advisor and the Residency Program Coordinator must sign the log in accordance with the guidelines defined by the ACVS.
  • Each resident must present one major extramural seminar at a national level meeting.
  • Each resident will present one seminar per year in the Small Animal Hospital’s Resident Seminar Series. Topics must be selected three months in advance.
  • Each resident must have one major manuscript submitted to a refereed journal by the end of his or her second year: failure to do so may preclude the resident from entering the third year of the residency program. A second major publication should be submitted before the end of the residency program. Surgery residents are strongly encouraged to publish interesting cases and/or clinical observations in refereed journals in addition to original scientific material. All manuscripts should be peer reviewed and a mentor from the Small Animal Surgery section must be listed as a co-author, unless approved by the Residency Program Coordinator.
  • Each surgery resident will be assigned a faculty advisor and a residency committee. The committee should consist of 4-6 people, including the Residency Program Coordinator and the committee may include one person from outside the section.
  • The Resident Program Coordinator maintains a folder for each resident. Residents are responsible for keeping their file current by noting fulfillment of required obligations, updating their curriculum vitae, and providing a copy of all manuscripts submitted for publication.
  • Residents will be provided with a reading list and be requested to take oral/practical/ written examinations at three month intervals. The purpose of these examinations is to provide defined reading objectives and valuable practice for the board certification examination. Questions from current literature are commonly included.
  • A final checklist (enclosed) is due to the resident advisor and program coordinator by the end of June of the final year of the residency.
  • A residency certificate will be issued to those applicants completing the four year program and fulfilling all requirements.


Rounds and Seminars

A broad range of rounds and seminars are given weekly which the resident is encouraged to attend. Small Animal Surgery Journal Club, Pathophysiology Seminar Series, Radiology Rounds, Resident/ Graduate Student Seminars and Clinician’s Morbidity/Mortality Conference held in conjunction with internal medicine, clinical and anatomic pathology, oncology, radiology and neurology are compulsory. The Small Animal Surgery Section meets weekly for journal club and resident case presentations in which residents present recent or current cases. Case management is critiqued. The resident presents a literature review, related to each case and a discussion period follows. A number of external speakers (representatives of companies or visiting academic personnel) also give lectures (typically 10-12 each year) to our faculty and residents. We also have monthly wet labs for the residents – these labs focus on specific defined soft tissue, oncologic, neuro or orthopedic procedures. In addition, residents are encouraged to attend surgery rounds within the College of Medicine (Shands Teaching Hospital) as time permits.


Typical Weekly Rounds/Seminar Schedule
Monday 8:00-9:00 AM Student grand rounds
Tuesday 8:00-9:00 AM Residents and interns seminar series
Wednesday 7:30-9:00 AM Orthopedic or soft tissue surgery morbidity/mortality problems conference or service meeting
Thursday 8:00-9:00 AM Small animal surgery journal club or small animal medicine and surgery morbidity/ mortality problems conference
Friday 8:00-9:00 AM Faculty seminar or resident case presentation

A wide selection of current journals is available in the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Reading Room. The main Health Science Library is located in Shands Health Science Complex. Each resident is required to be familiar with pertinent articles in the current literature. Reasonable photocopying expenses and reprint request card costs are defrayed by the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences.


Residents will produce at least two peer reviewed publications during their program. Resident research projects must be reviewed by the resident’s (Master’s of Science or American College of Veterinary Surgeons) advisor as well as appropriate Small Animal Surgery faculty. Each resident will be expected to participate in an independent or joint prospective studies and/or original research and the resident is encouraged to seek funding from both local and national sources. An annual Resident Research Award Competition through the Dean’s office funds many small resident projects (up to $2,000.00) with (mandatory) faculty assistance. In addition, the Mark S. Bloomberg Memorial Small Animal Surgery Resident Research Fund was established to support the scholarly activities of our residents. Each resident is eligible to receive one award (up to $2,000.00) from this service during the program. Participation in retrospective or prospective clinical studies is also encouraged.

Resident Evaluation

The members of each resident’s committee will evaluate the progress of each resident biannually. Resident committees are responsible for guidance of the surgery resident and to provide constructive criticism to aid their clinical, academic and professional development. Each surgery resident will be requested to evaluate the surgery faculty and the residency program annually.

Certificate of Residency

A certificate of residency will be awarded at the end of the residency only when stipulated requirements are satisfied and the resident’s committee members have signed the Residency Completion Form.



The stipend for graduate students is set by the College of Veterinary Medicine while the salary for residents during the clinical phase of their training is set by the UFVH’s Hospital Board. Incremental annual raises of $500.00 are generally awarded following completion of each year of service during the clinical phase of training.

Fringe Benefits
  • Vacation: Residents are allowed 15 working days vacation per year, to be taken at times arranged with the Resident Program Coordinator. Vacation time is to be taken when the resident is not scheduled to be on a clinic rotation or emergency duty. Requests should be made on the standard University Leave forms well in
    advance, and must be signed by the Resident Program Coordinator or Service Chiefs as well as the Department Chairman.
  • Tuition: Residents are required to pay tuition fees for courses in which they are enrolled during pursuit of their Masters degree; however, tuition fees are paid by the College during semesters in which the resident functions as a Teaching Assistant.
  • Meetings: Residents are encouraged to attend one specialty or national meeting each year. Residents are encouraged to attend the basic or advanced ASIF
    course in their first year of the clinical phase of the program. Attendance at the ACVS annual meeting is encouraged in the second and third year. The UF Small Animal Hospital provides $475/year to help defray the cost of these meetings. Subsidization of additional costs may be considered by the Department Chair based on the merits of the request (i.e., presentation of a scientific abstract) and a specific Small Animal Surgery Resident Scholarly Fund has also been established to support resident travel.
  • Insurance: Residents are covered by Professional Liability Insurance for $1,000,000.00 and health insurance (BlueCross and BlueShield) is provided.
    Health insurance coverage does not include spouse or children, but these can added to the policy at the resident’s expense.
  • Miscellaneous: Uniforms and cellular phones (to be used for work related purposes only) are provided.