Focus Area for Laboratory Animal Medicine
Description of the Focus Area
Laboratory Animal Medicine (LAM) is a specialty that combines many elements of veterinary medicine, typically including clinical medicine, surgery, pathology, regulatory compliance, facilities and personnel management, and research. Laboratory animal veterinarians are employed in academia, industry (e.g., pharmaceutical), and government, and have responsibilities for a wide variety of species. There is currently high demand for laboratory animal veterinarians, and short supply. This translates into relatively high salaries and benefits compared with private practice.
LAM specialists typically receive training in a post-DVM residency/postdoctoral program that lasts 2-3 years (or more with additional research exposure and/or graduate degree), and which may occur either immediately after the DVM or following practice or other experience. Residency training positions can be competitive; therefore, good planning and preparation are important during the vet school years.
LAM is a sufficiently broad career path that veterinary students should be careful to avoid too much specialization; it is arguably the ultimate mixed animal practice. Animal handling and clinical skills are important, in a variety of species, as is pathology, and research is at the heart of LAM, even if the lab animal vet is not directly engaged in his/her own research program. Students should consider developing strengths in these and/or other areas of “subspecialization,” such as surgery, or large animal or special species husbandry and medicine.
Recent/Current Number of Laboratory Animal Focused Students
- Class 2013: 5
- Class 2014: 5
- Class 2015: 3
- Class 2016: 1
- Class 2017: none declared to date
- Dr. Richard Fish, Associate Professor Laboratory Animal Medicine D262, 513-6480, firstname.lastname@example.org
Steps to pursue a focus in laboratory animal medicine (LAM)
- Identify an advisor within the focus area
- Plan CVM selectives and other activities (see below) with the help of your advisor
- Join the American Society of Laboratory Animal Practitioners (ASLAP) and Student Chapter American Society of Laboratory Animal Practitioners (SCASLAP)
- Make contacts/arrangements for externships during summers and 4th year; strongly consider a summer research experience
- Plan 4th year CVM rotations
Year 1-3 Requirements
Introduction to Laboratory Animal Medicine (VMC 991-002) is a one-week selective (fall) intended to provide a broad overview of the specialty of laboratory animal medicine, using a combination of lectures, laboratories, and group exercises. It is required for the LAM Focus Area.
Year 1-3 Recommended Courses
VMC 981, the Laboratory Animal Medicine senior clinical block, may be offered as a 2-week selective for Years 1-3 as part of Active Learning in the VHC (VMC 992-002). Students who take this selective are not required to take VMC 981 in the senior year. Selective credit may also be obtained via an externship (VMC 992 006).
There are selectives and electives available related to pathology (including diagnostics), special species, and research, but students also should take the opportunity to gain a firm foundation in basic clinical skills. It may also be possible to get credit for attending a professional meeting (see Conferences, below, and CVM guidelines).
Recommended Selectives for Laboratory Animal Medicine Focus
Be sure to check the current listing for Selectives and review the FAQ's
|Course Number||Title||Instructor||Classes||Semester||Week||Every Year|
|VMB 991||Introduction to Research at the CVM||Dr. Breen||1,2,3||Fall||1||*|
|VMB 991||Avian Anatomy & Physiology||Dr. Smallwood||1,2,3||Spring||1||*|
|VMB 991||Developmental Toxicology and Teratology||Dr. Nascone-Yoder||2,3||Fall||Both||*|
|VMB 991||Transgenics||Dr. Jeff Yoder||1,2,3||Spring||1||*|
|VMC 991||Advanced Ferret Medicine||Dr. Harms||1,2,3||Fall||2||Odd|
|VMC 991||Animal Behavior and Welfare||Dr. Sherman||2,3||Fall||2||*|
|VMC 991||Advanced Fish Medicine||Dr. Lewbart||1,2,3||Fall||1||*|
|VMC 991||Primate Medicine||Dr. Stoskopf||1,2,3||Spring||2||Even|
|VMC 991||Sample Collection and Interpretation||Dr. Williams||1,2,3||Spring||1||*|
|VMP 991||Necropsy Pathology||Dr. Meuten||2,3||Both||1||*|
|VMP 991||Special Topics in Pathology||Dr. Law||2,3||Both||1 and/or 2||*|
|VMP 992||PCR-based Diag. Of Bacterial Disease||Dr. Orndorff||1,2,3||Fall||Both||*|
Fourth Year Required Rotations
- VMB 976 - Radiology
- VMB 977 - Anesthesia
- VMP 977 - Clinical Laboratory and Necropsy
- VMP 978 - Clinical Pathology, Parasitology, and Immunology
- VMC 939 - General Limited Small Animal Practice
- VMC 971 - Small Animal Medicine (2-block rotation)
- VMC 960 - Small Animal Emergency
- VMC 981 - Laboratory Animal Medicine (exempt if taken as VMC 992 - Active Learning in the VHC - Lab Animal Medicine selective during year 1 through 3)
- VMC 955 - Extramural Studies/Lab Animal
(two blocks are required if VMC 992 - Active Learning in the VHC - Lab Animal Medicine selective was taken instead of VMC 981)
**All Extramural Rotations (in 4th year) - maximum of 6 credits (3 rotations) total
+ One of the following:
- VMC 973G - Small Animal General Surgery
- VMC 973O - Small Animal Orthopedic Surgery
+ One of the following:
- VMC 986 - Advanced Small Animal Medicine
- VMC 983 - Dermatology
- VMC 988 - Exotic Animal Medicine
- VMC 982A - Small Animal Ophthalmology
+ Two of the following (or other VMP course(s), with permission):
- VMP 990 Large Animal Community Classroom
- VMP 970 Ruminant Health Management
- VMP 987 Ruminant Special Topics
- VMP 984 Swine Medicine & Production I
- VMC 940 Theriogenology
Research experience, preferably involving animals, provides excellent background for pursuing a LAM career (including a residency). This experience is best during a summer, rather than a 2-4 week block. The CVM offers a summer research program for veterinary students, involving work in the lab of a CVM faculty member. Summer Internships
Research/LAM Opportunities in RTP
Contact Dr. Fish or the Student Chapter American Society of Laboratory Animal Practitioners (SCASLAP) for more details on local opportunities.
- Duke University
- Wake Forest University
Other Externship Possibilities
- See the CVM guidelines for extramural experiences: http://www.cvm.ncsu.edu/dvm/extramural.html
- Several research facilities offer summer programs, externships, clinical rotations, or other educational experiences for veterinary students interested in laboratory animal medicine – see the ASLAP site: http://www.aslap.org/careers
- ACLAM sponsors summer externs; more information at http://www.aclam.org/career-outreach/career-pathways
- NIH Summer Internship Program in Biomedical Research: http://www.training.nih.gov/student/internship/internship.asp
- Center for Corporate and Government Veterinary Medicine (a resource to help train veterinary students in a variety of non-practice careers): http://www.vetmed.vt.edu/org/md/cpcvm/
- AVMA Student Externship Locator
- Michigan State University has compiled a useful list of opportunities for veterinary students: http://cvm.msu.edu/research/summer-research-program-1/fellowships-and-externships-in-lab-animal-medicine?searchterm=externship
- Stanford School of Medicine Department of Comparative Medicine: http://med.stanford.edu/compmed/education/externship.html
- CVM Summer Research Interns – http://www.cvm.ncsu.edu/research/vsp.html
- Some of the above opportunities may include stipends for veterinary students (e.g., NIH).
- The U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) Commissioned Corps has offered opportunities for students in commissionable health-related categories through the Junior Commissioned Officer Student Training and Extern Program (JRCOSTEP) and Senior Commissioned Officer Student Training and Extern Program (SRCOSTEP).
- The externship program sponsored by the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine includes opportunity for the sponsoring institution to apply for a stipend on your behalf: http://www.aclam.org/career-outreach/career-pathways
Students may benefit from attending a laboratory animal medicine/science conference. Annual meetings to consider include the following. Check websites at end for home pages of these organizations, which have latest information on upcoming meetings.
- Annual Meeting of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (5-day meeting in October or November)
- American Society for Laboratory Animal Practitioners annual meeting coincides with AALAS meeting; ASLAP offers travel funds on a competitive basis.
- American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine Annual Forum (4-day meeting in April or May)
- Annual Conference of the American Veterinary Medical Association (5-day meeting in July, usually with 2 full days of laboratory animal medicine-related topics)
- The Charles River Short Course on Laboratory Animal Care and Use is offered annually in June, and offers scholarships.
- The Charles Louis Davis Foundation offers workshops on both comparative pathology and laboratory animal medicine: http://www.cldavis.org/courses/upcoming.html
- Workshop in Laboratory Animal Medicine (WLAM), sponsored by the North Carolina Academy of Laboratory Animal Medicine (NCALAM) and the North Carolina State Carolina University - College of Veterinary (NCSU-CVM), is offered in May. Check with the CVM Office of Continuing Education.
NCSU-CVM rounds/seminars/journal clubs
- LAM: Students are welcome to join in ongoing LAM clinical rounds and seminars - schedule varies (Dr. Fish )
- Histopathology Rounds - Fridays, 7:45 a.m.
- Gross Pathology Rounds - Wednesdays, 12:15 p.m.
- Zoo Rounds - Thursdays, 4:15 p.m.
- Research seminars - several ongoing series, as well as guest/invited speakers (usually posted on CVM listserv)
- Student Chapter ASLAP
- PATHHEADS Student Pathology Club
- Wildlife, Avian, Aquatic, and Zoological Medicine Club (WAAZM)
Other Useful Information
- Journal of the American Association of Laboratory Animal Science
- Comparative Medicine
- Laboratory Animal Practitioner (ASLAP)
- Lab Animal
- Laboratory Animals
Recommended memberships(web sites below)
- American Society of Laboratory Animal Practitioners (ASLAP) (student membership)
- American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS)
Recommended electronic mailing list
- COMPMED is an Internet mailing list for discussing the topics of comparative medicine and the veterinary specialty of laboratory animal medicine (all species). This discussion group is primarily intended to provide a forum for information exchange among professionals working in the field of biomedical research. (Send email to: email@example.com ; command in body of email: SUBSCRIBE COMPMED FIRSTNAME LASTNAME)
Useful Internet Sites
- The American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine (ACLAM) is an organization of board certified veterinary medical specialists who are experts in the humane, proper and safe care and use of laboratory animals. ACLAM establishes standards of education, training, experience and expertise necessary to become qualified as a specialist and recognizes that achievement through board certification: http://www.aclam.org/ (Note especially the links to Career Pathways.)
- The American Society of Laboratory Animal Practitioners (ASLAP) promotes the acquisition and dissemination of knowledge, ideas, and information among veterinarians and veterinary students having an interest in laboratory animal practice. The Society does so for the benefit of laboratory animals, other animals, and society in general: http://www.aslap.org/. (Note especially the link to Career Information, which includes a listing of both externship opportunities and residencies.)
- The American Association for Laboratory Animal Science is the premier forum for the exchange of information and expertise in the care and use of laboratory animals. AALAS is more than 10,000 clinical veterinarians, technicians, technologists, educators, and business people... researchers... administrators... animal producers... national and international experts: http://www.aalas.org/
- Here are several sites for organizations supporting biomedical research using animals: Foundation for Biomedical Research: http://www.fbresearch.org/; National Association for Biomedical Research: http://www.nabr.org/; the North Carolina Association for Biomedical Research: http://www.ncabr.org/ ; Americans for Medical Progress: http://www.amprogress.org/
- Founded in 1952, the Institute for Laboratory Animal Research (ILAR) prepares authoritative reports on subjects of importance to the animal care and use community; serves as a clearinghouse for information about animal resources; and develops and makes available scientific and technical information on laboratory animals and other biological research resources: http://dels.nas.edu/ilar/.