Skip to main content

Residency: Large Animal Surgery

The program provides a 3-year postgraduate training program, under the direct supervision of American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS) board-certified surgeons, designed to educate the Resident primarily in the art and science of large animal surgery and related disciplines. The Program shall partially fulfill the requirements set forth by the ACVS for admission to the examination for board certification. In general, the Program conforms to the ACVS requirements for a veterinary surgery residency program (see the current ACVS Information Brochure, also known as the “Blue Book”).


The Resident shall receive intensive training in all aspects of large animal surgery for 3 calendar years. Appointments for this program “at will”. At least 60% of time in this Program shall be devoted to clinical case responsibility and patient care. The Program depends in large measure on echelon teaching. Direct communications between the Resident and faculty surgeons in terms of consultation, observation, demonstration, and constructive criticism will contribute to the Resident’s education. The Resident will be expected to pursue independent study with special emphasis on current surgical literature. The resident shall engage in a strong academic program, including 80 contact hours in each of 4 related disciplines: anesthesiology, internal medicine, pathology, and radiology.

Didactic courses may be taken in accordance with the individual’s needs, interests, and our Program requirements. Residency training and a graduate degree program are not interchangeable, but can be compatible and will be encouraged. Funding for PhD degree graduate training following the residency program may be available. Seminars, rounds, and conferences constitute a significant portion of our Program; and, the Resident shall be responsible for a significant number of these presentations. The Resident shall have gradually increasing teaching and client-patient responsibilities. In order to broaden the Resident’s experience, external rotations can be arranged.

The Resident will complete at least 1 surgically related research or clinical investigative project during the Program; and, prepare at least 1 surgically-related manuscript suitable for submission for publication in an ACVS-approved, refereed journal prior to being awarded a residency certificate. In addition, the Resident is required to generate at least 2 more manuscripts suitable for submission to a refereed veterinary medical journal, ie, at least 1 manuscript for each year in the Program.

NCSU Libraries provides access to ACVS Examination Reading List resources in addition to many other relevant resources.

The Resident shall be assigned to a residency advisor and associated committee who will be responsible for the Resident’s program. In the assignment of the advisor and committee, the Resident’s requests and talents shall be considered.

The major responsibility of the Resident shall be receiving surgical patients, performing physical examinations, and rendering a diagnosis; if required, the Resident shall operate upon and direct the postoperative management of those patients. Each resident shall rotate among the 2 surgical services, soft tissue surgery and orthopaedics/lameness, and work with the senior (surgery) clinicians during service in the Veterinary Teaching Hospital (VTH).

The Resident must accept absolute responsibility for all of the cases on the service, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, 52 weeks per year. If a Resident’s case “gets into trouble” after-hours, either weekday or weekend, the Resident will provide the necessary veterinary medical care. The Resident will function in the VTH, Monday through Friday, at least 8 hours per day; and, have responsibility for hospitalized surgical cases on the weekend, which represents a commitment of at least 2-5 hours. It is anticipated that the Resident will be involved in VTH duties at least 50-60 hours per week. The Resident shall rotate on emergency duty with other residents and interns. Faculty clinicians shall be assigned to provide necessary surgical and medical support. The Resident’s responsibility for patient care will increase as their training proceeds and will depend upon demonstrated levels of proficiency.

The Resident shall maintain all paperwork as required by the ACVS, including a logbook listing all operative procedures in which the Resident participated. The logbook shall be reviewed regularly by the Resident’s advisor.

Rounds: The Resident shall participate in all rounds activities. Following approval by the Resident’s advisor, the Resident shall assume responsibility for daily ward rounds with students, house officers, and faculty.

Seminars: The Resident shall participate in all seminar activities. The Resident shall present at least 2 surgical seminars to students, house officers, and faculty during each year of their residency program. The subject of each seminar must be surgical in nature, and include necropsy, cause of death, and histopathologic results when available.

Teaching: The Resident shall be assigned a major responsibility for assisting in the laboratory sessions of VMC 965 Advanced Principles of Surgery. The Resident may be asked to present 1-2 hours of formal lecture to veterinary medical students.

Research project: Successful completion of the Program requires satisfactory completion of a surgically related research project that is acceptable to the Resident’s advisory committee. The research project should be decided upon by the Resident and advisory committee during the first 6 months of the Program.

Years 2 and 3 shall be a continuation of the clinical experiences, teaching obligations, and research project(s), which were initiated during Year 1. The Resident shall be granted leave from daily VTH responsibilities for variable periods to devote time to research projects, graduate classes, and other rotations. It is expected that the Resident, while being guided by the advisory committee, will be preparing a surgically-related manuscript suitable for publication in an ACVS-approved, refereed journals; and, completing 2 additional manuscripts suitable for submission to a refereed veterinary medical journal.


The Resident shall be evaluated at least twice yearly. The following parameters will be considered in the evaluation process: knowledge base, clinical skills and performance, communication skills, adherence to VTH policies, attitude, and progress during the Program. The evaluation process may include oral and written examinations, audit of case records, consultation with other staff members who have direct contact with the Resident, direct observation of the Resident’s performance in the operating room, tabulation of the diversity of case material with regard to body systems, and review of case complications and mortality. To facilitate this review, the Resident will maintain a case log using the ACVS format.

Since the Resident is required to write 3 papers for publication, the Resident will be encouraged to utilize the VTH case load for short-term prospective or retrospective studies. The faculty will assist in the writing of papers and the manuscripts will be reviewed at various times prior to submission.

Vacation and sick leave

The Resident is provided twelve (12) days vacation and twelve (12) days of sick time per year. Vacation time must be scheduled during “off-clinic” time. The maxium number of vacation days that can carry forward from one calendar year to the next is twenty-four (24) days. Accrued, unused sick leave carries forward without a limit within the term of appointment.  Once the resident exceeds twenty-four (24) days of annual leave, the remaining days will be converted to sick leave at the end of the calendar year.


This residency participates in the American Association of Veterinary Clinicians’ (AAVC) Veterinary Internship and Residency Matching Program (VIRMP) when a position is available.

Information for International Applicants

Preference is given to applicants who have graduated from a college that is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association. If you wish to apply for an internship or residency program things to keep in mind:

  1. Have your degree translated and evaluated by a reputable company. Options include: Josef Silny & AssociatesTrustforte Corporation, and World Education Services
  2. Some programs require the TOFEL exam to qualify for a internship or residency position.
  3. Most foreign interns and residents are appointed to H-1B visas.
  4. To ensure that a foreign national candidate has the H-1B visa at the start of their program the candidate will be asked to pay for the premium processing filing fee of $1,225 USD, if necessary.
  5. Getting a visa takes between 4 and 6 months if the visa is expedited it takes approximately 15 business days.
  6. Take the initial steps and apply for The Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates (ECFVG) certification program is accepted by all state veterinary regulatory boards and the federal government as meeting, either in part or full, the educational prerequisite for licensure or certain types of employment, respectively.