Biological and Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program



Cornell Combined DVM/PhD Degree Program

Clinical Rotations


In the fifth or sixth year of the Program, supervised clinical work at the Cornell University Hospital for Animals (CUHA) begins. Students rotate through ambulatory medicine, anesthesiology, cardiology, dermatology, clinical oncology, ophthalmology, pathology, radiology, wildlife, exotic and zoo medicine, large animal medicine, large animal surgery, small animal medicine, small animal surgery, and community practice service.

Equine, Farm Animal, and Companion Animal Hospitals

The Equine, Farm Animal, and Companion Animal Hospitals provide primary care and clinical specialty medicine for animals that are brought to the (CUHA). Clinical specialty departments include: surgery, medicine, ophthalmology, dermatology, cardiology, neurology, phenomenology, dentistry, anesthesiology, and radiology (including diagnostic ultrasound, CT scan, and nuclear medicine services). The Companion Animal Hospital (CAH) also contains a student-run Wildlife Clinic and the Community Practice Service (CPS).

Equine Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (ENICU)

The ENICU is staffed in the springtime by students who are enrolled in the distribution class VTMED 657, Diseases of Large Animal Neonates. The class is open to 1st- through 4th-year students and one of the requirements is that each student must sign up for ten "on-call" shifts. These are four-hour periods during the night and on weekends. If there is a critically-ill foal in the ENICU during the student's shift, he or she comes in to monitor it. Duties include checking IV fluids, taking vital signs, performing physical therapy and milking the mare.

Ambulatory Clinic

Students accompany ambulatory clinicians on calls and learn the skills and procedures necessary for operation of a modern veterinary practice. The CUHA has seven specially-equipped field vehicles that provide veterinary service for dairy cattle, horses, sheep, goats, and swine at approximately 400 farms and stables in the surrounding area. This is an excellent way to experience large animal medicine first-hand. Weekday volunteer hours may be credited for a distribution class. Reproductive evaluations (including pregnancy and fertility examinations), nutritional evaluation, and disease prevention are stressed. Herd health programs also include vaccinations, parasite control, mastitis prevention, castration and dehorning. In addition, students participate in diagnosis and medical or surgical treatment of ill or injured animals.



This rotation is designed to provide clinical experience in the use of anesthetics in small companion animals, horses, and some food animals. The students participate in selecting suitable anesthetic techniques for patients in the CUHA and then implement those techniques under the supervision of faculty and residents. The program includes both large and small animal anesthesiology. The objectives of the program are to provide training in all aspects of veterinary anesthesiology.

Cardiology Service


The purpose of the cardiology rotation is to provide students with the opportunity to put into practice what they have learned in the foundation years. The management of the most common cardiac diseases is emphasized including congestive heart failure, arrhythmia's, and secondary cardiac diseases. All species are examined, large and small, although the majority are small animals. Diagnostics, including cardiovascular physical examination, electrocardiography, radiography, and echocardiography, are taught. The rotation includes clinical work, didactic teaching, and self-initiated digging for information.

Clinical Oncology


Management and prevention of cancer in companion animals represents a significant component of the practice of veterinary medicine. The focus of this clinical rotation is the development of a comprehensive set of skills necessary for a veterinarian to become an advocate for the client/patient with cancer. These skills include appropriate initial evaluation of animals with cancer, sensitive and effective client and referring veterinarian communication, ability to access relevant information from numerous sources related to cancer management, understand and apply principles of surgical, medical, and radiation oncology as well as techniques specifically related to minimize pain and treatment-related effects in cancer patients.



This course combines clinical experience with beginning skills in diagnostic ophthalmology. Students learn how to apply the ophthalmic diagnostic tests. A competent ocular examination is the goal of this rotation. Confidence in using direct and indirect ophthalmoscopes, slit lamps, tonometers, goniolenses, conjunctival cytology, and surgery comes with the practice provided by this rotation. Students are required to review the introductory orientation videotapes in the Autotutorial Center titled Ocular Examination I and II before the start of the rotation. This rotation provides surgical experience and consultations. A high percentage of the consultations are referral cases that usually challenge the service. Adequate routine case material is presented to prepare most students for practice.



This course involves the hands-on diagnostic necropsies of most mammalian species that are presented to the pathology necropsy room and of avian species that are admitted to the avian and aquatic animal medicine necropsy room. Students work in groups of three to five for the two-week rotation. Necropsies are performed under the guidance of pathology faculty and residents. Students prepare written reports of necropsies performed, review microscopic hematology and cytology slides, perform urinalyses, and discuss case studies.



A two-week clinical experience in the Imaging Section is provided. Students use radiographic, CT, ultrasonographic, and nuclear medicine imaging techniques to evaluate animal patients under treatment in the Hospital. Students obtain and interpret radiographic and ultrasonographic studies with guidance from radiology faculty and technical staff. Two 3-hour laboratory sessions are given to allow hands-on experience in patient positioning and radiographic technique. An autotutorial teaching film file is used to familiarize students with radiographic examples of common diseases of large and small animal species. Small-group discussions are scheduled to present and discuss current cases. The safe use of x-ray producing equipment and radioisotopes is discussed.

Wildlife Clinic


This course introduces students to primary medical care of nontraditional pet species, zoo animals, and native wildlife. Students, directly supervised by the attending clinician, are responsible for the assessment, physical examination, and medical management of exotic animal species presented to the CUHA. Other opportunities available to assist in the development of clinical skills in wildlife, zoo and exotic animal medicine include the wildlife clinic cases, ongoing wildlife research and service projects, and trips to the Rosamond Gifford Zoo. Successful completion of the course requires satisfactory performance during this 14-day clinical rotation. The clinic, a component of the Wildlife Health Program, is staffed by veterinary students under the supervision of Dr. Noha Abou-Madi and Dr. George Kollias. The clinic provides care for injured wild reptiles, mammals and birds (ranging from songbirds to raptors). Wildlife rehabilitators and local people who find sick or injured animals bring them to the clinic where they are treated until ready for rehabilitation and release. The CUHA Non-Domestic Pet Clinic receives approximately 500 cases of commonly kept birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians and the Native Wildlife Clinic receives approximately 400 cases native to New York State.

Large Animal Medicine and Surgery


Large Animal Medicine and Surgery consists of training in large animal internal and surgical medicine in Equine/Nemo Farm Animal Hospitals. Students assigned to this service assist the faculty and house staff of the Large Animal Medicine service in the diagnosis and care of patients. The objectives are to provide a high level of clinical experience in the fields of large animal internal and surgical medicine, to provide training toward a high level of veterinary medical service to the public and to the veterinary profession. Students are to acquire knowledge and skills in history taking, physical examination, election and completion of appropriate ancillary tests, diagnosis, treatment, and patient care. In addition, students are exposed for two weeks to clinical procedures in large animal theriogenology.

Small Animal Medicine and Surgery

  • H. Jay Harvey
  • Stephen Barr
  • Sharon Center
  • John Randolph
  • Kenneth Simpson

    The Small Animal Medicine Service is structured to provide supervised clinical experience in the practice of companion small animal medicine and surgery. Under direct staff supervision, students anesthetize and perform surgical procedures on patients presented to the Small Animal Clinic for neutering and minor elective procedures. Students are responsible for all aspects of patient care during their hospital stay and are expected to fully participate in client communications. The course is conducted in the Small Animal Clinic. Students interact directly with clients presenting their pets for primary or referral medical care and participate in the diagnostic techniques; planning of therapy; daily care of dogs, cats, and exotic species; and are responsible for patients undergoing elective ovariohysterectomy or castration under the direction of a faculty veterinarian. The students are expected to formulate and carry out plans for the diagnostic evaluation and medical management of these patients.

    Community Practice Service (CPS)


    CPS provides routine health care, medical management, emergency treatment, and select surgical procedures for dogs, cats and avian/exotic patients. All students are encouraged to participate in CPS on a regular basis. This is a great opportunity to build confidence talking with clients, taking histories, performing physical exams and analyzing basic lab tests such as fecals and skin scrapings. Volunteer hours may be credited to a distribution elective.


    Rounds are open to everyone, but geared toward students. They are presented by 4th-year students, residents, or faculty members. The cases are usually animals that are currently in the clinic and are selected for their teaching value. The presentations include a complete history of the animal, radiographs, summaries of how the case has been handled to date, and in the large animal hospitals, usually the patient itself.