What is an ECC residency?
Unlike human medicine, veterinary medicine does not require additional training after the traditional four years of veterinary school. In other words, the majority of veterinarians graduate from veterinary school and go straight into general practice. A smaller percentage of veterinary graduates elect to further their training with a rigorous 1-year internship, if selected; an additional smaller percentage go on to complete a 3-year residency. An emergency critical care residency focuses on working in the emergency room and intensive care unit, and is generally equivalent to a human residency in emergency medicine or a residency as an intensivist. Veterinary residencies in emergency and critical care focus on triage, stabilization, life-saving procedures, and learning the most up-to-date techniques for diagnosing and treating the critically ill or emergent patient. Residencies are accredited through the American College of Veterinary Emergency Critical Care (ACVECC) and undergo rigorous regulation to ensure that residents are supervised and trained by mentors who have been trained through similar programs. Once the veterinarian has completed these three years of specialized training - along with publication in a peer-reviewed, scientific veterinary research journal - he or she must pass a rigorous, two-day board-certification examination administered by ACVECC (similar to a lawyer’s “bar” exam). Upon successful completion of these two large tasks, the veterinary resident becomes a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Emergency Critical Care (ACVECC) and is a board-certified specialist in veterinary emergency and critical care.