The Small Animal Teaching Hospital plays a central role in the clinical tuition of our students. It is here that they get hands-on experience, and develop the necessary skills to become competent surgeons and clinicians. Whilst the hospital operates at a referral level, many of the initial consultation and clinical examination techniques are very similar to those found in general practice and our pet owners’ concerns are very much the same. Skills learned in the University Veterinary Practice are reinforced here and fine-tuned.

Our role in veterinary teaching

The students are able to follow the patients on their diagnostic and therapeutic journeys, watching and sometimes helping with procedures under supervision. They will rotate through all the services at the hospital including cardiology, dermatology, oncology and neurology, as well as participate in soft tissue and orthopaedic surgical cases. Ophthalmology and Behaviour training is also undertaken with visiting lecturers.

Students take part in morning and evening ward rounds within their allocated service. They are expected to present clinical observations and information on cases they have been involved in to the rest of the ward group.

Students are taught to integrate their learning from earlier in the course focussing on the correct approach to clinical cases and clinical decision-making as well as practical skills including:

  • Patient observation and assessment
  • Patient handling and interaction
  • Sampling techniques for diagnostic purposes e.g. blood sampling
  • Patient support techniques such as applying dressings, giving intravenous fluids and undertaking specialised feeding techniques
  • Diagnostic techniques including diagnostic imaging, laboratory analysis and endoscopy
  • Routine and advanced surgical techniques

During their time at the hospital, the students take part in a variety of tutorials, online case examples and short learning tasks to help them build confidence in their clinical approach. The skills amassed help them to learn quickly when they first enter practice and support them in their ongoing development.

They also have full access to all the Leahurst facilities during their time here. There are computing facilities within the hospital as well as dedicated computer rooms within the main campus building. The excellent library facilities give background support on many of the complex cases they see. There are shared meeting and relaxation areas and a well-stocked refectory.

At the Small Animal Teaching Hospital we’re proud of the professional training we offer our students. Through our focus on excellence, we help equip them for not only for their first day in practice, but for continued success and development throughout their career.