Rotating Internship: Small Animal

Veterinary interns are licensed veterinarians who have graduated from Veterinary School and wish to complete an additional voluntary year of training to further their knowledge and skills.

Encina Veterinary Hospital has had an incredible rotating Internship program (established in 2004). Over time, the program has expanded and now trains 7 interns each year under close supervision of our senior clinicians. Rotations include general practice, specialty medicine, surgery, oncology, neurology, dentistry, and 4 weeks at a local shelter for OVH/neuter surgery experience. Encina Veterinary Hospital (EVH) and East Bay Veterinary Specialists and Emergency (EBVSE) are located under the same roof in Walnut Creek. Our sister hospital, East Bay Veterinary Emergency of Antioch is a 4,000 square foot facility and interns also rotate through the Antioch facility as part of their emergency training.

The program starts with a 4-week supervised orientation period. Following orientation, the interns rotate through various specialties and are also intensively trained in performing abdominal and cardiac ultrasounds. The Intern Surgery Program is an amazing opportunity for interns to gain additional surgical experience under the guidance of a specialist while saving lives. An intern will typically do 10-15 intern surgeries per year. The patients that qualify for surgery in the program must have a client with financial constraints who otherwise could not afford surgery. Encina Veterinary Hospital believes that even though the hospital takes a financial loss on these cases, the value for both the patient and the intern is immeasurable. Examples of common intern surgeries include mass removals, pyometras, amputations, Cesarean sections, foreign body removals, enucleations, cystotomies. Interns review cases with the senior doctors and case discussions occur daily, Grand Rounds are conducted bi-weekly, and subject rounds are held weekly with monthly topic rounds and wet labs. Continuing education will be provided.

The program starts mid June finishes on July 4th annually. For inquiries regarding the Internship program, please contact Christina Sutu at

Here are some words describing the internship at Encina Veterinary Hospital from a former intern:

I was in intern 2010-2011 from the University of Florida. I interviewed at all five northern CA programs and a few in CO. I chose Encina for a number of reasons. First, the surgery experience was far and away the best. I came out having done at least 70 spays/neuters, and more importantly, had performed all of the major surgeries – gastrotomy/enterotomy, GDV, splenectomies, enucleations, amputations, and even c-sections.

Second, I got great ultrasound/echocardiogram experience. Unfortunately, the machine you get spoiled with at Encina is nowhere to be found in the real world, but it was a great start. I feel confident in identifying all of the major abnormalities, and I’ve even been able to pick up some of the more subtle lesions. It’s all because I had significant time with the ultrasound and numerous cases. I feel quite confident in doing an echo when I get the opportunity.

Lastly, I simply learned a lot. It’s the most diverse specialist-wise, and having all of those resources was one of the biggest draws. The setup for the satellite ER hospital is perfect. There’s always someone awake at the main hospital to go over cases which is the way it should be. You have the autonomy to manage your cases, and help is a phone call away. It was a great confidence booster and made the learning quicker than would be in another situation. The docs there are genuinely interested in teaching.

There are long days like any internship. I felt worn out from time to time. Most importantly, I enjoyed coming to the clinic every day because I was able to practice the way I wanted to practice, I was in a place where they were interested in making me better, and it was the perfect start to the best career in the world.

To any future intern, I highly recommend EBVS/EVH. I would not hesitate to do it again. I do recommend you visit any practice you are considering applying to. It’s well worth your time because it’s one of the most important years of your career.

—Kyle Marano, DVM, Intern Class 2010-2011