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Making use of the CUHA

The mission of the Cornell University Hospital for Animals (CUHA) is to provide leadership in patient care, education, clinical investigation and scientific innovation.  
CUHA  provides veterinary services for Ithaca and the Northeast, treating  approximately 21,000 animals in the hospital and more than 40,000 animals at area farms each year.  

Equine, Nemo, and Companion Animal Hospitals

The Equine, Nemo Farm Animal Hospital, and Companion Animal Hospitals provide primary care and clinical specialty medicine for animals that are brought to the CUHA.  Clinical specialty departments include Anesthesiology, Behavior, Cardiology, Dentistry, Dermatology, Emergency/Critical Care, Exotics and Avian Medicine, Imaging (including Diagnostic Ultrasound, CT, MRI, and Nuclear Medicine services), Medicine, Neurology, Ophthalmology, Shelter Medicine, Surgery, Theriogenology, Wildlife, and Zoological Medicine.   Horses admitted for treatment are housed in Wards A – D of the Equine Hospital. Cattle and other farm animals are housed in the stalls of the Nemo Farm Animal Hospital.  Small animal patients are kept in the Intensive Care Unit, Intermediate Nursing Care, or one of the six wards or four runs off the in-house treatment rooms.

Equine Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (ENICU)
The ENICU is partially staffed in the springtime by students who are enrolled in the distribution class VTMED 6539, Disorders of Large Ani-mal Neonates. The class is open to 1st- through 4th-years and one of the requirements is that each student must sign up for ten “on-call” shifts. These are four-hour periods during the night and on weekends. If there is a critically-ill foal in the ENICU during the student’s shift, he or she comes in to monitor it. Duties include checking IV fluids, taking vital signs, performing physical therapy and milking the mare. While the hours may seem inconvenient, the experience is rewarding. 

Ambulatory & Production Medicine Service
Large-animal medicine is practiced at local farms by the Ambulatory & Production Medicine Service.  The service has seven specially equipped field vehicles that carry veterinary equipment for dairy cattle, horses, sheep, goats, and swine at approximately 400 farms and stables in the surrounding area.  Students can receive academic credit for participation in an early ambulatory rotation during summer or holiday breaks by signing up for VTMED 6620 "Introduction to Ambulatory Primary Care Medicine."  For information about other opportunities to participate in the ambulatory service, speak to one of the clinicians: Dr. Daryl Nydam, Dr. Mary Smith or Dr. Jessica McArt.  

Small Animal Community Practice
Our community practice, housed in a stand-alone facility as of June 2018, offers full services for our patients of all life stages including preventive medicine, radiology, dentistry, and surgery. Our primary care practice is designed to provide our clinical year students with experience in appointments, procedures, surgery, client communications, and cloud-based electronic medical records to prepare them as entry level veterinarians upon graduation from the CUCVM. The goals and design of the Small Animal Community Practice is to mimic a non-academic general practice setting where students act as primary case clinicians collecting histories, performing physical exams, assessing their patients, and creating diagnostic and therapeutic plans individualized to a given patient and client. Student clinicians are supervised by rotation faculty and supported by licensed veterinary technicians.

Wildlife Clinic

If you have an interest in native wildlife or would like to learn more about avian medicine, consider becoming a volunteer for the Wildlife Clinic to gain hands-on experience. The clinic, a component of the Wildlife and Zoological Medicine Service, is staffed by veterinary students under the supervision of Dr. Noha Abou-Madi, Dr. Jamie Morrisey, Dr. Ricardo De Matos, service residents, and technicians. The clinic provides care for injured wild reptiles, mammals and birds (ranging from songbirds to raptors). Wildlife rehabilitators and local people who find sick or injured animals bring them to the clinic where they are treated until ready for rehabilitation and release. Usually, two to four students are scheduled per day to handle treatments. Volunteer workers commit to one to two days per month. Supervisors and supervisor trainees work at least three consecutive days per month. Through your volunteer experience in the wildlife clinic, you’ll learn how to give an avian physical exam, make differential diagnoses, fill out the necessary paperwork, and much more. If you have a strong interest, there are opportunities to participate in surgery, anesthesiology, and radiology as well. Look for information on wildlife rounds presented by service faculty and residents. Sign-up sheets for the Wildlife Clinic will be put into your student mail folders early in the school year; or contact Dr. Noha Abou-Madi (, Dr. Ricardo De Matos (, or Dr. Jamie Morrisey ( 

Senior Seminars

During their fourth year, all students must present an oral seminar as a requirement for graduation. Senior Seminars are on Wednesday afternoons at 4:30. They are open to all students, faculty, and staff.   Topics range from a presentation of the treatment of an individual patient to a general discussion of a disease.  Attendance at Senior Seminars provides information on disease processes, diagnostic procedures, and treatment protocols as well as exposure to the case load, students, and clinicians working in the CUHA. 


Rounds are open to everyone, but geared toward students. They are presented by 4th-year students on rotations, residents, interns, or faculty members, and are very interactive. The cases are usually animals that are currently in the CUHA and are selected for their teaching value. The presentations include a complete history of the animal, diagnostic images, summaries of how the case has been handled to date, and, in the large animal hospitals, usually the patient itself.

At first, rounds are difficult to follow simply due to terminology. A little perseverance goes a long way and pays off with increased knowledge and comfort level with the material. Rounds may focus on different aspects of veterinary medicine such as coming up with differential diagnoses, discovering and analyzing the history and presentation, choosing diagnostic procedures, or deciding between various treatments. The rounds schedule can be accessed here: The schedule lives within the College of Veterinary Medicine Intranet, Be sure VPN has been downloaded, as this site has many helpful resources. Under the UNITS tab, select "CUHA", and the rounds schedule is posted under HOSPITAL ROTATIONS/EMERGENCY SCHEDULES.

Clinical Pathology Teaching Laboratory

A small laboratory is located just off the Bilinski Learning Laboratory (Wet Lab) in C2 029B for student use. There are basic supplies for performing and analyzing fecals, blood smears, and urine samples. A combination-button lock has been installed on the hall side of the student lab. Students may get the code from CPS, or Dr. Araceli Lucio- Forster. Any other questions about use of this area should be directed to Dr. Lucio-Forster ( 

CUHA Professional Attire Policy

The physical attire and appearance of hospital personnel has a significant impact on the perceptions of the overall quality of care being provided and the professionalism and competence of the individuals providing that care. Proper appearance and uniforms not only present a professional image to clients, they help prevent the spread of disease. Uniforms should be clean and neat and should not be worn outside of the hospital unless traveling to and from work.

Appropriate dress for veterinary medical students serving in a clinical setting or dealing with clients on behalf of the CUHA consists of the following:
Cornell University Hospital for Animals issued identification badges are required for any student who is in the hospital on rotation, for a class or educational purpose, for work duties, or for volunteer duties. The identification badge should be worn so that the name and class year face outward.

In the Companion Animal Hospital, students must wear a white lab jackets with a business style shirt or sweater; business slacks, khaki trousers or knee-length tailored skirt; and business shoes. Long sleeves may not be worn under short- sleeved jackets. Denim attire of any color is not professional attire. Open-toed shoes or sandals may not be worn at any time on duty for safety and infection control purposes. Athletic shoes may be worn for functions in the surgical suites. Blue student scrubs must be worn in surgery.

In the Equine/Nemo Farm Animal Hospitals, students wear coveralls and sturdy, washable boots.  Blue scrubs must be worn in surgery. Before leaving the premises, boots should be disinfected in the foot baths in the hospitals. Boots and coveralls should be removed in the student locker rooms and carried home in plastic bags for cleaning. Open-toed shoes, sandals or casual footwear are not permitted.

On the Ambulatory & Production Medicine Service, students must wear coveralls and washable, sturdy boots. When returning to the college from ambulatory visits, boots should be disinfected at the wash station. Boots and coveralls should be removed in the student locker rooms and carried home in plastic bags for cleaning. Open-toed shoes, sandals or casual footwear are not permitted.

For infection control and safety purposes, the following apply:
Wearing scrubs and observation gowns is prohibited in non-patient care areas of the veterinary college, including the library, cafeteria and laboratories. Wearing blue student scrubs outside of the hospital, or to enter or exit the facility, is prohibited. Wearing false fingernails is prohibited, due to bacterial growth carried under the artificial nail. Wearing hoop earrings, facial hoop rings, or other dangling jewelry is strongly discouraged for safety reasons.

CUHA Rules

CUHA’s Annoying Rules for Good Reasons
The hospital staff thought it would help you navigate your way around the CUHA if you knew some of the “unspokens,” or what we have entitled, “Annoying Rules for Good Reasons.”  If you have any questions, please stop by the Office of Hospital Operations, C2 209, anytime. 

Annoying Rule:  Please do not use the hospitals as a walk-through from the parking lot to the lecture halls and other areas of the college. Use the VMC entrance.
Good Reason:  Infection control for our health-compromised patients. The added traffic makes it nearly impossible to keep the hallways clean at our busiest times of day and spreads potentially fatal diseases.

Annoying Rule:  Wear your name tag whenever you are in the CUHA, especially on the weekends.
Good Reason:  Safety —yours and the animals’. Unfortunately, intruders are more common these days and staff are asked to challenge any-one who is unknown to them. Your name tag, a self-introduction, and a rabies vaccine are your passes into the CUHA.

Annoying Rule:  When coming into the CUHA, please introduce yourself to the staff and students on duty in the area you are visiting.
Good Reason:  It’s polite, it lets us know you are “one of us,” and we may be able to help you out. We can also alert you to any sensitive matters, such as a client-witnessed euthanasia that may be occurring, etc.

Annoying Rule:  Use the foot baths in Equine/Nemo Farm Animal Hospital (EFAH). Every time.
Good Reason:  Infection control—for you and the animals.

Annoying Rule: Wash your hands between patients! Every time. If possible, let the client see you do so before you start examining their animal.
Good Reason:  Infection control—for you and the animal; and for good client relations. Perception of quality is based on things the client can readily judge, such as hygiene, cleanliness of the environment, compassion of the clinician, etc.

Annoying Rule: Please do not enter the ICUs unless you have a clinical reason to be there. “Clinical reason to be there” includes an assigned case, a pharmacology class assignment, follow-up on a case that's on the "interesting cases" board.  If it is very busy, such as at treatment times, please come back later when things have quieted down.
Good Reason:  Infection control and a quiet atmosphere are essential to the ICUs. Since the ICUs are the places in which our most seriously ill are housed. The patients need peace and quiet, and those attending the animals need to be able to concentrate fully on their patients. 

Annoying Rule:  Don’t parade the animals around the CUHA, no matter how cute they are.
Good Reason: Infection control.

Annoying Rule: Don’t wear black-soled shoes in the Companion Animal Hospital.
Good Reason: The scuff marks require hand-scrubbing to clean. 

Annoying Rule:  Children—yours or others’—should not be brought to the CUHA while you are on duty.  Visitors of any age should not touch patients or enter patient care areas.
Good Reason: For infection control, safety, legal liability issues, and the client’s perception of professionalism.

Annoying Rule: “Post no bills” on the walls or doors in the CUHA; use the bulletin boards only.
Good Reason: Because we are open to the public, we have to limit what’s posted in the public areas of college. On the practical side, it peels the paint off, looks unprofessional, and there are infection control issues in some areas.

Annoying Rule:  If you jam open a door in the Equine/ Nemo Farm Animal Hospital with a broom handle, do not walk away and leave the handle in the door, even if you’ re just going up to isolation. Always remove it from the door when you re-enter the building.
Good Reason: Safety, safety, safety, safety, safety - yours and the animals’.

Annoying Rule: Check the “Interesting cases” bulletin board in the Equine/Nemo Farm Animal Hospital and near dentistry in the Companion Animal Hospital.
Good Reason: The faculty and house staff list their most interesting cases currently in the hospital. Check the animal’s history, follow along in the medical record, ask questions of the students and others involved in the case, examine the animal (with permission) and learn more. 

Please ask questions and use a good mind. It’s why you and the hospital staff are here!