Academics Tracking Options Small Animal Track

Small Animal Track photo: student with beagle

Small Animal Track

Exciting career opportunities

Explore the challenges of medicine and the rewards of working with small animals, from family pets to working dogs. Today’s small animal veterinarian serves as “the other family doctor.” Advancements in training, preventive medicine, diagnostics, and treatments have created better animal health care than ever before. Some career options include:

  • Small animal general private practice
  • Small animal emergency medicine
  • Specialty practice, requiring post-DVM advanced training through internship, residency, and board certification by veterinary specialty organization.
  • Teaching and research

Courses designed to develop excellent practitioners

Our small animal faculty are renowned for their breadth of experience, groundbreaking research, and pioneering use and development of new treatment protocols. These senior clinicians provide instruction in the classroom and the clinic to develop passionate practitioners with excellent clinical knowledge and skills. Some track and elective courses include:

  • Small Animal Medicine I, II & III - Advanced study of diseases of the dog and cat, including infectious, hereditary, and metabolic diseases. Examine disease processes affecting the respiratory, digestive, neurological, central nervous, cardiopulmonary, and endocrine systems and develop understanding of the pathophysiology, diagnosis, and clinical management and treatment of these disease processes.
  • Advanced Small Animal Surgery - Examine surgical principles and methods that are applicable to small animal practice, including identification of disease conditions treatable by surgical therapy, applicable surgical methods, and expected outcome.
  • Small Animal Clinical Problem Solving - Develop problem-solving skills for diagnosis of medical diseases in small animal patients through problem-orientated case material and thorough examination of diagnostic evaluation and therapeutic options. Experience interactive case-based discussions with senior clinical faculty across multiple specialties.
  • Advanced Small Animal Clinical Techniques - Advanced study of small animal clinical techniques with special consideration given to techniques commonly performed in small animal practice. Experience hands-on laboratories, which reinforce skill sets learned in class.
  • Small Animal Nutrition - Building on the core nutrition course taught earlier in the curriculum, this course provides advanced study of nutrition requirements of companion animals. Explore the relationship of diet to nutrient excesses and deficiencies that result in clinical disorders. Examine the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of nutrition-related diseases.

Extensive learning opportunities beyond the classroom

  • Companion Animal Club (CAC) - The CAC provides learning opportunities in many areas and specialized disciplines of small animal veterinary medicine, including exotic animal medicine, alternative medicine, nutrition, and behavior. The club sponsors lectures and wet labs, including suturing and bandaging procedures, physical exam skills, and feline medicine. CAC serves as the college's student chapter of the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), providing speakers and experiences to expose students to the diverse career options available within companion animal medicine.
  • Student Chapter of the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society (SCVECCS) - The SCVECCS supplements the curriculum with educational opportunities specific to the field of emergency medicine and critical care. The club coordinates the small animal ICU volunteer program, which provides students the opportunity to get valuable hands-on experience in the SA-ICU prior to senior year. SCVECCS also hosts monthly lectures and facilitates wet labs for hands-on student learning.
  • Practitioner mentors - Students receive mentorship from regional practitioners, many of them VA-MD Vet Med alumni, through the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association and Maryland Veterinary Medical Association Mentor Program.
  • Pet Loss Support Hotline - Join students dedicated to providing compassionate service to clients in need. Pet Loss Support Hotline volunteers receive formal training and provide support to clients grieving the loss of a beloved pet.


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