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Small Animal Internship

Internship Mission Statement:

The mission of the Small Animal Clinical Sciences internship program at Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences is to create a confident, experienced, and marketable veterinarian who will have the very best chance to be accepted into a residency program or associate veterinarian position of his or her choice. The overwhelming majority of our interns who pursue a residency or specialized internship do so successfully. Those that enter into the private sector are more sought after and feel more confident practicing veterinary medicine than the competition. To achieve this mission, we ensure that our internship graduates receive hands-on clinical training, ample primary case responsibility, a consistent didactic learning program, and are taught the highest and most up-to-date quality of veterinary medicine from specialists and seasoned veterinarians.  At Texas A&M, you will be exposed to numerous specialties and work side-by-side with experts in their field. We emphasize that our senior faculty will be present on the clinic floor challenging the intern to improve their practice as well as serving as invaluable resources for case management.

Internship Training Objectives:

The training objectives of internships vary with the clinical area and are as follows:

  1. To train the intern to effectively triage emergent patients and perform appropriate life-saving therapies.

  2. To provide the intern with opportunities to develop clinical proficiency in surgical diagnosis, patient management, and to observe state of the art operative techniques.

  3. To provide the intern the opportunity to develop diagnostic acumen, and a problem-oriented approach to medical management of veterinary patients.

  4. To enable the intern to improve patient care and evaluation by utilization of recent knowledge from medical and surgical research.

  5. To prepare the intern to be a competitive applicant for either a private veterinary practice position or for further training in a residency or research degree.

  6. To prepare the intern to exchange information with others in a concise professional manner in rounds, seminars, lectures, conferences, and laboratories.

  7. To present opportunities for the intern to develop teaching skills.

  8. To allow the intern to develop communication skills with professional colleagues, technical staff members, clients, and the general public.

  9. To introduce the intern to the scientific method, research approaches, scientific publications and scientific presentations.

Rotation Priorities:

  1. The majority of the time should be allocated to those rotations in which interns have primary case responsibility for medical and surgical problems applicable to any career or specialty.

  2. Time should also be consistently allocated to rotations in which the specialized nature of the discipline, its procedures, or service logistics necessitates that the primary clinician has expertise in the field.  On such rotations, a greater proportion of the interns’ responsibilities may be devoted to a secondary role in case management

  3. The opportunity for elective rotations in areas of interest should be maintained.

Texas A&M Veterinary Teaching Hospital Facilities:

The Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital is a spacious facility with sophisticated diagnostic and patient care equipment, including color-flow Doppler ultrasonography, 4D transthoracic and transesophageal echocardiography, digital fluoroscopy, scintigraphy, computed tomography, 3T MRI, flexible and rigid video endoscopy, nuclear imaging, direct and indirect blood pressure monitors, acid-base/blood-gas analyzers, standard coagulation as well as TEG and PFA analyzers, intraoperative cell salvage machine, phacoemulsification system, short- and long-term pediatric and adult patient mechanical ventilators, stereotactic neurosurgery, high-flow oxygen therapy, peripheral nerve stimulators, and multifunction patient monitors. Radiation capabilities include TomoTherapy and iridium implant brachytherapy. Surgical instrumentation allows complex orthopedic, thoracic, and abdominal procedures. A catheterization laboratory with C-arm fluoroscopy allows for highly advanced cardiothoracic procedures. Strong support services including nuclear medicine, clinical pathology, radiation therapy, clinical microbiology, anesthesiology, radiology, and physical rehabilitation promote optimal patient management and clinical investigation.

Texas A&M Veterinary Teaching Hospital Faculty

All faculty, residents, and specialty interns present on the clinical floor will be in support of the small animal rotating internship in order to provide a teaching experience on every case. Board-certified faculty members in direct support of the program include 6 internists, 3 cardiologists, 3 oncologists, 5 neurologists, 5 anesthesiologists, 3 criticalists, 5 radiologists, 1 radiation oncologists, 7 surgeons, 2 practitioners, 2 dermatologists, 1 behaviorist, 1 nutritionist, 1 dentist, 2 ophthalmologists, and 2 zoological medicine specialists.

You can learn about the teaching hospital and clinical faculty by visiting

The clinical program:

Interns will be scheduled on 20 two-week core rotations including internal medicine, soft tissue and orthopedic surgery, day and overnight emergency duty, anesthesia, neurology, oncology, and general surgery. Interns will be able to also select 3 two-week elective rotations from services including zoo medicine, ophthalmology, dermatology, clinical pathology, radiology, critical care, or off-site out-rotations.

  • Anesthesia: During this rotation the intern will be under the supervision of the anesthesiologist on-duty and will be given primary case responsibility. This involves pre-anesthetic work-up, perioperative anesthetic management, and student teaching responsibilities. The degree of case difficulty will be determined by the attending clinician. Interns will be required to attend daily case/topic anesthesia rounds.
  • Emergency Duty (day): Interns will be assigned to primary ER duty from 7 AM to 7 PM and see both walk-in primary emergency cases as well as cases referred to a specialty service that are admitted through the ER. Currently, TAMU is the only emergency hospital in an 80 mile radius. Interns will be supported by at least 1 experienced ER clinician or board-certified criticalist during the day ER shift and will share caseload as needed with ECC residents. Interns will be responsible for thorough history-taking, physical exams, generating problem lists, pertinent differentials, and performing emergent diagnostics or interventions. Interns will also be expected to teach and work closely with 4th year DVM students on the problem-oriented approach. Lucid client and referring DVM communication skills will be emphasized.

  • Emergency Duty (overnight): While on overnight duty, interns are responsible for triage, assessment, and treatment of incoming emergency cases with the support of trained technical staff, students, and the on-call residents and faculty.  Interns are also expected to help supervise and troubleshoot ICU patients and patients requiring overnight intervention.

  • General Surgery: The Intern will have primary case responsibility of surgical cases commonly seen in private practice settings with oversight by a senior clinician.  The intern will assess patients prior to surgery, generate an anesthetic and post-operative analgesia plan, perform surgery, oversee and assist student surgeons with procedures, and lead rounds discussions with students.

  • Internal Medicine: The intern will have primary case responsibility for internal medicine patients referred to the VTH on a scheduled or emergent basis, and will work closely with a supervising board-certified internist on each case.  For each patient, the intern will work with an assigned fourth-year student to obtain a patient history and perform a physical exam, then will generate diagnostic and therapeutic plans which will be reviewed and discussed with the supervising faculty member.  The intern will ensure that finalized plans are carried out, including making daily adjustments to plans based on changing patient status, and communicating directly with client owners and referring veterinarians.

  • Neurology: During the neurology rotation the intern will have primary case responsibility.  They will see both new and recheck cases, as well as take transfers from emergency.  Interns will work with the 4th year student performing physical exams, neurologic exams, and developing a therapeutic plan.  All cases will be seen under the direct supervision of the senior clinician, and interns will be given the opportunity to perform CSF taps and scrub into all neurosurgeries.  While on the rotation, interns will be expected to have consistent communication with the owners as well as the referring veterinarian.

  • Oncology: The intern will be under the supervision of the oncologist on clinical duty. They will be given primary case responsibility including new cases as well as recheck/chemotherapy appointments and radiation therapy patients. Most of our patients are treated on an outpatient basis but many radiation therapy patients board with us for the duration of their treatment. Interns will have support from the senior clinician who will approve all recommendations and treatment plans. The interns will also have teaching responsibility by working with students on each case. Interns will be required to attend daily case/topic oncology rounds.

  • Orthopedic Surgery: The intern will be under the supervision of the orthopedic surgeon on clinical duty. Interns will be responsible for independently seeing clients for both new and recheck appointments. They are expected to scrub-in ontheir own primary cases and reserve the right to scrub-in on any additional orthopedic case. Learning how to run a surgery room table and prepping the patient for surgery is of paramount importance during this rotation. Interns will be given student teaching opportunities in relation to treatment orders, discharges, medications, bandage changes, speaking to clients at discharge, and calling rDVMs on new or complex cases.
  • Soft Tissue Surgery: During this rotation, the intern will be given primary case responsibility.  The intern will participate in receiving soft tissue referral appointments, determining and performing the diagnostic work up, making an operative plan, performing postoperative care and performing client communication.  The interns will be given intra-operative responsibilities as appropriate.  Interns will attend daily case and topic rounds.


Veterinary interns are selected competitively through the Veterinary Internship and Residency Matching Program (VIRMP) of the American Association of Veterinary Clinicians (AAVC). Criteria for ranking and selection of intern candidates include academic performance in veterinary school, evaluations from at least three individuals who assess each candidate’s academic record, clinical aptitude and interpersonal skills, and the candidate’s statement of professional goals.  The ranked individuals are submitted to the VIRMP and based on candidate program ranking and the program candidate ranking, a selection is made.

Intern Mentorship:

Interns are assigned a mentor for both research support as well as general program mentorship within 6 weeks of the start of the program. The responsibilities of advisors are as follows:

  1. To provide advice and guidance toward the fulfillment of the rotating internship as described by the Internship Committee and as written in this document.

  2. To attend periodic verbal evaluations in the fall and spring of the internship year, as well as exit interviews at the end of the year. This evaluation process will be directed by the Chair of the Internship Committee and its members. The written evaluation will be kept on file by the chairperson of the Internship Committee.

  3. To assist the intern in starting a research project and preparing a seminar to be presented to fellow house officers, students and faculty.

Internship Evaluations:

Veterinary interns have both a written and oral evaluation at regular intervals and are allowed to continue the internship dependent upon satisfactory performance. The intern shall be evaluated formally as previously described. The evaluation process will consist of a review of the evaluations of the faculty for each block that the intern has completed with input from the intern's faculty advisor. This evaluation will be coordinated by the Chair of Internship Committee. The results will be reported in writing to the Department Head and the Associate Department Head in a timely manner.

An exit interview will be held on or about June 15.

Intern Seminars:

One seminar presentation will be required. Each intern is strongly encouraged to submit a manuscript for publication to their advisor for review. The seminar will be presented in conjunction with the intern-resident seminar series. The seminar must be presented before a certificate for the internship will be issued.

Teaching Responsibilities:

Interns may be assigned to assist in various clinical and laboratory courses as deemed necessary by the Department Head. Under no circumstances shall an intern have sole responsibility for, have the major teaching responsibility in, or direct any required or elective course. The intern will actively participate in the educational instruction and professional development of the senior veterinary students.

Didactic Training:

The intern program supports a strong didactic education with weekly house officer topic rounds presented by faculty or residents as well as monthly imaging rounds to hone radiographic interpretation skills. In addition, interns are invited to participate in journal clubs, ECG rounds, and various service rounds. Our program emphasizes the problem-based approach and helps interns to learn to identify patient problems, make rational lists of differential diagnoses, project logical diagnostic plans, and base treatment upon pathophysiologic mechanisms. Every case seen by the overnight ER intern is discussed with a group of clinicians the following morning and direct feedback is provided.

Research Opportunities:

Throughout the year, interns are encouraged to participate in research (such as a retrospective study) and to prepare one manuscript (case report, review article, or clinical study) for publication. Interns will be expected to present a seminar detailing their research or case report at the end of the internship year.

Completetion of the Internship:

  1. Satisfactory completion of a veterinary internship is documented by a certificate that recognizes the successful participation of the individual in the internship program. This includes
  2. The intern must complete all clinical rotations, scheduled emergency duties, medical records, and discharge letters.

  3. The intern must demonstrate competency in medical and surgical skills judged appropriate for an intern’s level of professional development.
  4. The intern must attend 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.
  5. Each intern must present one seminar in the Intern and Resident Seminar Series.
  6. The intern must make a written evaluation of the internship program. This evaluation must be submitted to the Internship Program Committee upon completion of the program.