UC Davis 4th Year Clinics – Clinical Pathology

The clinical pathology rotation is not a rotation that takes place inside the teaching hospital, instead you meet in one of the microscope classrooms in the Multi-Purpose Teaching Building.

# of Students: 1/4 of the class size (30-35 students)
# of Residents: 1-3
# of Faculty: 1-2

Hours: Variable, but typically you arrive 8-9am get a break for lunch in the middle of the day (a rarity during 4th year!) and you are usually heading home by 4pm. This is only a 1-week rotation, so it goes by fast!

Rounds: None.

Caseload: None.

Your Role: Much like classes, you are expected to participate by reading slides and asking questions! You will also be responsible for working up a case based upon lab work and signalment alone through to completion and presenting it to a small group of your classmates and one clinician at the end of the week. This is a low-key presentation, nothing to fret over. It actually ends up being a lot of fun and enlightening to see how much you can predict based upon lab work alone!

This is your opportunity to get familiar with patterns for reading lab work results and building a list of differential diagnoses based upon your findings. The clinicians will go over patterns that you should become familiar with on bloodwork which will be very important for your national board exam as well as for clinics in general (especially internal medicine!), so pay attention and take good notes!

On Call: None. Though I believe you can be considered to be in the pool for on-call shifts in emergency or surgery while on this rotation.

Records: None!

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


  • Low-stress environment to learn (or re-learn) the basics of lab work interpretation.
  • Nice hours, no records, great staff!
  • Great preparation for the rest of clinics – especially internal medicine!


  • If you hated sitting in a classroom for 3 years, you will very quickly be reminded of this!
  • Frustration at times because you want to know more about a case or at least be able to have a physical exam in addition to the lab work.


  • The Friday case presentations were probably the highlight of the week! You use what you have learned from the week to present to a small group of classmates & a clinician what the lab results on your case showed and what you suspect the animal has, how you would treat, etc. I ended up having an equine case, which was intimidating to me, but I gave it my best shot and was pleasantly surprised to find that I nailed the actual diagnosis for the case! (That’s part of the fun – after you present, the clinician tells you what the animal actually had wrong with it and what was done so you can see how on track you were…and everyone in my group was dead on!)