skip to content




One year in the first instance, renewable for periods of one year up to a total of three years.


Aims of the Senior Clinical Training Scholarship (SCTS)

The aim of this Scholarship is to provide advanced postgraduate surgical training to veterinary surgeons with a special interest in this discipline. Successful completion of the training programme will render the scholar eligible to become a European Specialist in Small Animal Surgery. Training scholars rotate equally between soft tissue and orthopaedics and are additionally expected to complete outrotations in anaesthesia, internal medicine, imaging and pathology. We also encourage scholars to rotate through neurology and undertake externships and continuing education courses to assist their development. Valuable experience and instruction will be given in teaching, presentation skills and clinical research.

The Scholar will be under the direct supervision of:

Laura Owen, BVSc(Hons) AFHEA CertSAS DiplECVS MRCVS

Senior Lecturer & European/RCVS Specialist in Small Animal Surgery


Affliated lecturer & European/RCVS Specialist in Small Animal Surgery



Time Allocation

SCTSs will spend an equal amount of time on orthopaedic and soft tissue rotations during the first two years of the SCTS programme. In the final year it is possible to allocate more time on either orthopaedics or soft tissue, depending on the preferences of all SCTSs in the team, and dependent on satisfactory progress with the ECVS case log.

At least 66% of time during the SCTS will be spent on clinical case management. Up to 34% but not less than 9 weeks of time will be allocated each year for study, research and holidays.

Over the three year SCTS, study time will be spent as follows:

· 2 weeks (80 hours) anaesthesia rotation – QVSH

· 2 weeks (80 hours) radiology rotation – QVSH

· 2 weeks (80 hours) clinical pathology rotation – QVSH

· 2 weeks (80 hours) small animal medicine rotation - QVSH

· Remaining time to be spent on research projects/writing papers and continuing education.

· RSPCA clinic support is shared on a rota basis with the other SCTS and Senior physicians.


The SCTSs will be provided with an annual plan detailing time to be spent on the clinical rotations of orthopaedic and soft tissue rotations. Time not officially allocated to either service will then be spent as ‘study time’ doing one of the components as listed above. The individual scholar will have the responsibility for organising and arranging the necessary rotations on other services.

In addition to the appraisals that are held during the probationary part of the SCTS and annually thereafter, regular six monthly assessments will be held with the SCTS and supervisors to assess progress with the ECVS training programme.

Clinical Caseload – 400 surgical cases minimum over 3 years

160 of these cases minimum must be supervised by an ECVS diplomate

Year one small animal surgical SCTS

In year one, training scholars will be involved in most surgical procedures as the assistant surgeon, observing and learning from senior staff and third year residents. Basic surgical skills will be cemented under supervision and a solid foundation in surgical anatomy + theoretical knowledge will be formed.

SCTSs should aim to complete most if not all of their weeks on anaesthesia, radiology, clinical pathology and small animal medicine during the first year of the SCTS. The rotation on anaesthesia should be prioritised and completed first so SCTSs can supervise induction or recovery of their patients as necessary.

SCTSs should have made significant progress on their projects and scientific papers during the first year of the SCTS.


Year two small animal surgical SCTS

During the second year of training, scholars will begin to take more primary responsibility for cases and continue to improve their surgical skills. 25-50% of cases are expected to be performed as primary surgeon by the end of this year of training (dependent on the complexity of the case and competence of the SCTS).

SCTSs should complete any remaining weeks on anaesthesia, radiology and clinical pathology and small animal medicine rotations during the second year of the SCTS.

SCTSs should have submitted at least ONE and preferably TWO scientific papers by the end of the second year of the SCTS.


Year three small animal surgical SCTS

During the third year of training, primary caseload is increased further and direct supervision is reduced, encouraging the scholar to develop decision making and surgical planning. By the end of this year of training the scholar should be confident in performing routine procedures without supervision, whilst more complex procedures will still be performed with a senior surgeon or as the assistant surgeon.

If not submitted already the second scientific paper should be submitted by the middle of the third year. At least one externship is encouraged in the third year, including an externship abroad if possible e.g. USA.


This SCTS programme will be based at the Queen’s Veterinary School Hospital, University of Cambridge.

The Hospital facilities include:

· Diagnostic imaging capabilities including x-ray, fluoroscopy, digital subtraction imaging, MRI, CT and ultrasound

· Fully staffed nursing wards and intensive care facilities

· On site clinical pathology and histopathological staff and laboratories

· A well-stocked veterinary library and access to the local human teaching hospital (Addenbrooke’s) library

· Easily accessible computer and internet facilities

· A radiotherapy centre with linear accelerator


The Orthopaedic Service and Specialised Equipment

Referral Service – approximately ten new cases are seen each week in the orthopaedic small animal department. Cases include dogs and cats with a wide variety of orthopaedic problems including arthritis, fractures, obscure lameness and bone neoplasia to name a few. Facilities are available to perform most small animal orthopaedic operations and investigative procedures including cemented total hip replacements, tibial plateau levelling osteotomies, locking plate and interlocking nail repair, Ilizarov ring fixation and arthroscopy.

The Soft Tissue Service and Specialised Equipment

Approximately ten new cases are seen each week by the soft tissue service. These include a wide range of surgical conditions, including ear, nose and throat, gastrointestinal, urogenital and oncological conditions, The centre has a particularly high caseload in oncological, BOAS and urinary conditions. Facilities are available to perform all routine surgeries. Many cases are presented for diagnostic evaluation and the SCTS will be given full guidance in the investigation and management of these disorders.

Emergency service

The SCTS will participate fully in the out-of-hours rota gaining valuable and essential experience in emergency work and patient management including intensive care cases. Participation in the out of hours weekday and weekend rota is shared between the other surgery SCTSs. Full back-up cover is provided by senior surgeons, physicians, radiologists and anaesthetists.

Primary Care

In addition to the referral caseload, some cases presented to the surgical team will arise from the RSPCA clinic. These cases are an excellent opportunity for SCTS’s to get involved with primary surgery early on in the residency and give them exposure to some first opinion conditions that may otherwise not be presented e.g. mammary masses, caesarian sections, simple fractures etc. There may be a requirement for scholars to assist with supervising neutering during holiday periods, but these patients are normally under the care of our first opinion clinicians.

Departmental Structure and SCTS Training

The Department has a well-established and highly successful surgical SCTS programme with an outstanding achievement for specialist qualifications of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and the European College of Veterinary Surgeons. Currently we have an unsurpassed 100% pass rate for all the specialist surgical qualifications.

Teaching and Continuing Professional Development

The SCTS will be expected to attend the day release courses organised by the University of Cambridge on teaching and learning in higher education. These courses deal with education methods (lectures, seminars and small group teaching etc.) for lecturers involved in tertiary education. There are also computer and audiovisual courses available.

Scholars have to prepare and attend presentations given by and to members of the department for critical appraisal by colleagues in the Hospital. In addition to this, continuing education presentations to junior veterinary surgeons and nurses will be a requirement of the SCTS programme.

Excellent support will be provided to the SCTS from other clinicians in the small animal department including staff in medicine, imaging, anaesthesia, ophthalmology, neurology and clinical pathology. Weekly case rounds are held between the oncology and surgery departments and between the medicine and surgery departments to encourage case discussion and to enable scholars to become more familiar with the roles these disciplines play in the holistic management of our cases.

Weekly Journal Club and Tobias/Johnston Book Club meetings are held in the small animal surgery

department. The SCTS will participate fully on a rota basis in preparing material for these regular meeting

Research Programme

Clinically orientated research to advance the understanding and management of surgical conditions in small animals is an important and vital aspect of the SCTS training. The SCTS will be allocated time during the training period of the SCTS to complete a clinical research project. A small allowance is available for each SCTS to use towards their project, however the SCTS will also be encouraged to apply for research grants in order to gain experience in grant applications and management.

Undergraduate Teaching Participation

The SCTS will be encouraged to participate in

· 1st year small group teaching (supervision for Colleges)

· Didactic lectures (during 2nd or 3rd year) to the fifth year veterinary students

· Small group 4th and 5th year practicals e.g. suturing

· 6th year clinical teaching on the small animal orthopaedic and soft tissue rotations. During the clinical rotations he or she will be expected to contribute to seminars, practicals and case rounds. This will provide the opportunity for the development of seminar presentation techniques, supervision of students performing surgical procedures, clinical case management and continuous assessment of students.

Collaborative Arrangements

Scholars are encouraged to spend a short period of study at an alternative institution. We have strong links to internationally acclaimed referral hospitals both in the United Kingdom and abroad, and externships are encouraged. The SCTS will be expected to organise the externship.


The SCTS will be expected to prepare and publish at least two scientific papers in refereed journals during the programme. The SCTS will also be encouraged to attend surgery congresses. He/She/They will be expected to present papers on these topics at scientific meetings such as the Annual Congress of the British Small Animal Association, the British Veterinary Orthopaedic Association, European College of Veterinary Surgeons Annual Congress and the European Society of Veterinary Orthopaedics and Traumatology.


The qualifications that the applicant will study for are:

· The Diploma of the European College of Veterinary Surgeons

After year three the SCTS should be eligible to sit the ECVS surgery examination















Social media links

Instagram Twitter Facebook