Surgical Internship Program

What makes the surgical internship at VSC unique?

Veterinary Specialty Center offers a distinctive surgical internship program that connects participants with our experienced surgical team while providing them unique educational access to our full specialty hospital and Certified Trauma Center. The following sets this experience apart from other programs:

  • One-on-one mentorship with an experienced team – Working one-on-one with 5 board-certified surgeons, all of whom have worked at VSC for more than 10 years, with a combined experience of over 90 years, exposes interns to a wide variety of perspectives for surgical case management.
  • Caseload and Experience – Our caseload is complex and varied, and each intern can expect to assist in 4-6 surgeries per day. Each intern should expect an intra-operative experience in assisting complex surgeries, performing surgical closures, and depending on experience, performing approaches to surgeries and portions of surgeries.
  • Rounds – Daily hospital-wide, grand rounds will expose interns to comprehensive management of critically ill patients.
  • Case Management – Post-operative case management exposes interns to client communication, problem-solving, and patient care requirements of surgical patients.
  • Residency Consideration – VSC does not use the VIRMP Match for our residencies. Our surgery residents are hand-selected from our current and previous surgical interns. Our surgery residency program has been approved by ACVS since its inception over 18 years ago and has always been in good standing due to our breadth of specialty support.
  • Multi-Specialty Collaboration – Daily consultation and interaction with a variety of on-site specialists including radiology, anesthesia, internal medicine, cardiology, critical care, dermatology, clinical pathology, medical oncology, and radiation oncology.
  • Salary and Bonuses – In addition to a very competitive salary, we offer an additional bonus for each surgical emergency case that our interns assist with.  We recognize the hard work and long hours our interns put in and wish to appropriately compensate as such.
  • Additional Benefits – Along with medical, dental, vision, life, and pet insurance, VSC offers the same benefits to our interns as we do for our full-time team members. Learn more here.
  • Didactics – Intensive, multi-specialty didactics average 2-3 times per week and maintain the academics and foundational skills needed to be a successful surgeon. These alternating didactics include:
    1. Anesthesia rounds
    2. Cardiology rounds
    3. Clinical pathology rounds
    4. Emergency and Critical Care rounds
    5. Fracture rounds
    6. Journal club
    7. Morbidity and mortality rounds
    8. MRI/neurology rounds
    9. Radiology rounds
    10. Tobias/chapter rounds
    11. Wet labs to learn approaches and procedures
  • Additional continuing educational opportunities – VSC offers a range of evening and weekend webinars and (when possible) in-person continuing education programs presented by our doctors, technicians, and other veterinary experts.
  • Primary Case Responsibility
    1. Our Shelter Animal Surgery Service (SASS) is led by our intern class. SASS provides low/no-cost elective surgery (not just sterilizations) for 250+ rescue animals per year. Interns get primary surgical responsibility (with supervision as needed) exposing them to communications, diagnostics, surgery/procedure, postoperative care, and follow-up.  Common surgeries our surgical interns perform include amputation and FHO.
    2. One day a month (only on Sundays when on-call), interns gain exposure to primary emergency cases (mostly surgically based) to keep diagnostic and client communication skills sharp. During these shifts, interns always have support from experienced emergency room clinicians and critical care specialists in our Certified Trauma Center.

VSC Surgical Internships by the Numbers

Average number of interns starting program per year during the past 5 years

Average number of interns who completed the program per year the past 5 years 4
Number of residencies applied for from this program in the past 5 years 17
Number of residencies accepted from this program in the past 5 years 12
Number of interns from this program who applied for specialty internships in the past 5 years 4

Number of interns from this program who accepted a specialty internship in the past 5 years


For More Information


Starting Monday, April 8th through the end of September, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) will begin their road resurfacing project along Waukegan Road from Lake Cook Road to Half Day Road (IL 22). Please allow additional travel time to our hospital during the construction. Learn More: Waukegan Road Resurfacing Project