Veterinary Toxicology Residency Program
The University of Illinois Veterinary Toxicology Residency Program provides interested veterinarians with a solid, broad base in toxicology through course work, research, and rotations in the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. The goal of the program overall is to produce well-trained, board certified toxicologists who function effectively in a range of capacities that ensure human, animal, and environmental safety. The following paragraphs briefly describe the Program:
Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory:
The University of Illinois, College of Veterinary Medicine, Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL) is one of 38 veterinary diagnostic laboratories accredited by the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians and has a caseload of over 15,000 toxicology examinations per year. Residents rotating through the VDL become involved in toxicological analytical testing and interpretation. Residents participate in diagnostic rounds with fourth year veterinary students and are involved in field investigations when they arise. Residents become adept at identifying appropriate analyses to run, at sampling techniques and submissions, in analytical methodology, and at interpretation of test results in a differential diagnosis context.
ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center:
The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) is a unique emergency hotline providing 24-hour a day, 7-day a week telephone assistance to veterinarians and animal owners. Currently there are 25 full-time licensed veterinarians on staff. Seven are diplomats of the American Board of Veterinary Toxicology and/or the American Board of Toxicology. With an extensive collection of scientific journals and books as well as a sophisticated database, Center personnel have access to cross-referenced information on innumerable natural toxins and manmade chemicals. Veterinarians training at the highly specialized APCC toxicology resource rapidly learn how to employ scientific and medical information to identify relationships between exposures and illness. Life-saving treatment is prescribed for animals. APCC veterinarians consult on over 100,000 cases per year. Residents acquire extensive training in clinical toxicology by managing cases over the phone and participating in APCC case rounds. Clinical veterinary toxicology experience gained at the APCC cannot be obtained elsewhere.
Toxicology Board Certification:
The American Board of Veterinary Toxicology (ABVT) and the American Board of Toxicology (ABT) are internationally recognized certification organizations for toxicology. Members of both boards have demonstrated competence in toxicology and are employed by industry, academia, and governmental agencies. The Veterinary Toxicology Residency Program is an intensive training program that helps prepare residents to successfully sit for the ABVT and ABT exams. Of the 100 ABVT diplomates, over 30 did some part of their training at the University of Illinois. The University of Illinois Veterinary Toxicology Residency Program produces well-trained, board certified toxicologists that are able to function effectively in a variety of career settings.
Poisonous Plant Garden:
The College of Veterinary Medicine maintains an outdoor garden specifically for toxic plants. This gives residents, veterinary students, and practitioners opportunities to identify plants poisonous to livestock, companion animals, and human beings at all stages of growth and maturation over the growing season. Some of the plants cultivated in the garden include Castor beans (Ricinus communis), red maple (Acer rubrum), St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum), elderberry (Sambucus), Japanese yew (Taxus spp), lily of the valley (Convalaria majalis), and azaleas (Rhododendron spp). As with other aspects of the residency program, the poisonous plant garden is used to assist residents in the development of skills essential to identification of the actual causes of illness whether they are due to natural compounds, manmade compounds, infectious agents or other problems.
During the residency program, students will be enrolled in a number of toxicology courses. The following is a list of some required and elective courses available to residents:
For more information on the University of Illinois, Veterinary Toxicology Residency Program, I can be reached at the following addresses, or visit our website at www.cvm.uiuc.edu/vb/toxres .
Michael L. Biehl, DVM, PhD, MBA, DABT
Director, Veterinary Toxicology Residency Program
Clinical Professor of Toxicology
Department of Comparative Biosciences
3422 Veterinary Medicine Basic Sciences Building
2001 South Lincoln Ave.
Urbana, IL 61802