UC Davis 4th Year Clinics – Anesthesia

Anesthesia is a service run that coordinates with a bunch of different services in the hospital: soft tissue surgery, orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, medicine, ophthalmology, emergency, etc.
# of Students: 3-5
# of Residents: 2-3
# of Faculty: 1-2
You will also be assisted by a plethora of fantastic RVTs that do anesthesia all day, every day! They are fantastic and will help you with everything you need and make sure you are doing everything right.

Hours: Variable depending when your case is scheduled for. Typically 7am-5pm.

Rounds: Tuesday, Thursday, Friday rounds are 7-8am. Wednesday you have Grand Rounds from 8-9am. After rounds are over, anesthesia service starts inducing patients. If you are in rounds and your patient is scheduled to be induced while you are there, don’t worry – the amazing anesthesia techs will make sure to pre-medicate your patients and get them all set up for you when you return.

Caseload: Expect 1 case per day (if it’s really busy, perhaps 2).

Your Role: You will not see clients. Cases get worked up on Monday morning for Monday cases and 3:30pm Monday through Thursday for the following day’s case. Coordinate with other services regarding your case for the following day to make sure you have the necessary bloodwork completed before anesthesia. Perform a physical exam on your patient. Develop an anesthetic protocol, communicate that plan to your faculty and get their suggestions for changes and approval. Set up your anesthetic machine and equipment for the following day before going home. Some days your case will start right away and you’ll get out by 5; other days you won’t even get into the OR until 3pm and then won’t leave the hospital until 8 or 9pm. Overall, the hours are not bad and you’re more likely to get out at 5pm than 8pm. Day of you premedicate your patient, put in IV catheter, induce anesthesia, intubate, maintain on inhalant anesthetic, set up monitoring equipment and monitor parameters while surgery folks prep and perform surgery. Recover patient in Post-Anesthesia Recovery (PAR). Once animal is extubated and you get a TPR on them, you hand everything over to the person in charge of PAR and you’re done!

On Call: You can expect to have one After Hours On-Call shift per week and one evening After-Hours PAR shift for animals that get out of anesthesia after 5:30pm. PAR shifts you are there from 5:30-10pm or whenever the last patient leaves recovery. If patients are there up until 10pm and still need to be cared for they get transferred to ICU so you can go home. The After-Hours On-Call shift is in case an emergency comes in during the off-hours and they need help with it. There are very few staff members on anesthesia after hours, so they very well may need your assistance if a bunch of cases come in and all need surgery.

Records: NONE! 🙂

Weekends: Unless you have an on-call shift, your weekends are yours to enjoy!


  • Amazing faculty and support staff that know their stuff and are extremely helpful and supportive!
  • Good positive attitudes, lots of laughs, and very laid back personalities (frankly you have to be calm and relaxed to be an anesthesiologist otherwise you will get yourself too stressed out!)
  • Staff encourages your experimentation with different drugs and protocols so you can get comfortable with different ways of doing things and see what you prefer (they’ll make sure what you’re doing is safe!)
  • Getting comfortable with the ups and downs of anesthesia – knowing what to do and being comfortable treating issues that arise during anesthesia.
  • The hours are awesome!
  • You are responsible for anesthesia during surgery, but you might also get a glimpse of some interesting procedures.


  • Your first case will probably have you more nervous than you need to be, but that will go away quickly!
  • Very few opportunities to work with cats (this may be considered a pro for some…)
  • Rounds were of variable use depending on the person running them. Definitely learned some important info from them that will help me on boards!


  • I got called in for a GDV (bloat) case that came in to emergency. While I was able to run anesthesia for the dog throughout the procedure, I was also able to watch the entire procedure as it was the first GDV I’d ever seen!
  • I got to give a few epidurals on this service!
  • There’s no way to express how much more comfortable I am with anesthetic protocols and complications. A year ago a drop in heart rate would have me consulting with an anesthesiologist about what to do. I don’t sweat that anymore.
  • Upon heading out to premedicate my case for anesthesia, being asked by the doctor if someone told me about the “meth” situation. My face was plastered with confusion, the doctor chuckled and I laughed and said, “Nope, but I’d love to hear about it before I inject these drugs into my dog!” Turns out the owner wasn’t sure whether the dog got into his girlfriend’s meth stash overnight. Fun! Need I add that this dog was undergoing surgery to remove a bullet that shattered it’s leg? After thoroughly examining the dog and hooking it up to an ECG, it was decided that the dog had not gotten into any illicit substances and we went ahead with surgery.
  • Being commended on my ability to remain calm in stressful situations and told that I am really going to be an amazing doctor by one of the faculty doctors that I truly respect and look up to was absolutely unforgettable! I was also told that I have an excellent work ethic and good rapport with the whole service and they appreciated my willingness to pick up cases and my efficiency. They also said my knowledge and technical skills were above average!

1 thought on “UC Davis 4th Year Clinics – Anesthesia”

  1. Sharon, I just found your blog and have enjoyed reading. It’s clear you’ve put a Ton of work into it, on top of all the requirements of vet school. Congrats on being close to the end now! I enjoyed anesthesia rotation but it was my first one after being away from clinics for a year while doing a research project in India. That said, I was definitely a little rusty! I just started up my own website trying to help vets and vet students pursue their veterinary dreams and I would love your feedback. Cheers!

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