VCA Animal Specialty Group, CA

Description of Elective Experience: 

The VCA Animal Specialty Group (VCA ASG) is a specialty referral practice located in Los Angeles, California. Animal Specialty Group was the first hospital in California to be certified as a specialty hospital by AAHA. The specialty staff is comprised of 3 board certified surgeons, 2 board certified internists, 2 board certified neurologists, 1 oncologist, and 1 board certified criticalist. The program is further complemented by surgery, internal medicine, and neurology specialty internships, as well as a surgical residency program. The emergency department is comprised of 8 internship-trained staff doctors.

A wide variety of cases are seen at VCA ASG. Surgery cases include: orthopedics, neurosurgery, soft tissue and general surgery, and oncologic surgery. The internists see all medicine cases and have a special interest in cardiology, immune-mediated disease, and endocrinology. The neurologists have a special interest in encephalitis, neurosurgery (intracranial and spinal cord), and seizures.


As part of the VCA family, we are committed to providing you mentorship during your externship.  Some of our externs have returned as rotating interns which have gone on to residencies in internal medicine, neurology, dermatology, behavior, radiology, and sports medicine. In addition, just as many of our interns have gone on to find jobs in high quality private practices both in Los Angeles and beyond.  VCA has specific resources dedicated to helping interns place into residencies as well as into VCA general practices.

Didactic instruction includes daily clinical rounds where interns present cases along with their diagnostic and therapeutic plans. Weekly teaching rounds (alternating journal club, surgery, medicine, critical care, neurology, and oncology rounds) are designed to formally teach interns. Monthly lectures by senior clinicians and monthly SCVMA lectures are also part of the teaching program.

The overall objectives of the externship and internship are to:
- improve clinical and problem solving skills in medicine and surgery
- gain experience and instruction in advanced diagnostics, surgical and therapeutic techniques
- gain experience in client and professional communications
- prepare the intern for residency or clinical practice


ASG is located in beautiful, sunny Southern California, with access to many cultural, educational, and recreational activities. Local mountains for skiing, hiking, camping, horseback riding, or fishing are about a half hour drive from the hospital. The ocean is less than an hour away. Please visit our website at for more information.

Institutional and Educational Resources - staffing, equipment, etc.: 

The hospital is a modern state-of-the-art 12,000 sq. ft. facility which houses 10 exam rooms, 2 operating rooms, an isolation ward, a separate intern office/work area, staff doctor offices, and a conference room facility (for rounds, lectures, and teaching). Other notable enhancements include in-house MRI (1.5T) and spiral CT systems (64slice). A partial list of equipment includes complete ASIF and total hip instrumentation, external fixators, endoscopes (including instrumentation for arthroscopy, GI endoscopy, bronchoscopy, laparoscopy, and thoracoscopy), surgical microscope, CO2 laser, digital radiography, state-of-the-art anesthetic and monitoring equipment, ultrasound with color flow doppler, defibrillator, and surgical instrumentation for complex surgical procedures. Nuclear medicine is available through local facilities

Student Responsibilities - what is expected of students in terms of hours, days of the week, shadowing or actual support?: 

Externs can elect to rotate through the core rotations of emergency/critical care, medicine, neurology, oncology, and surgery. Externs will work directly with a board certified specialist in a team approach. Duties include daily clinical rounds, office calls, surgical and medical case management, radiology, anesthesia, and special procedures.  Schedules are tpically a 5 day workweek . 

Steven Katz
Contact email: 
4641 Colorado Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90039
United States
Practice or Institution Type: 
Is student housing available?: 
Hours of supervision by a licensed veterinarian per week: 
24 hrs.