Curriculum in DVM/MS in Lab Animal Medicine

The DVM/MS in Lab Animal Medicine (DVM/MS–LAM) program curriculum is closely tied to the DVM curriculum which students take at the same time. The MS program begins with an introductory course in the first year and follows with courses each semester that build upon concepts learned in Applied Learning Experiences in research and in laboratory animal facilities.

The DVM/MS in Lab Animal Medicine (DVM/MS–LAM) program curriculum is closely tied to the DVM curriculum which students take at the same time.

Year 1: (10 credits)

  • LAM 551 – Introduction to Laboratory Animal Medicine-5 credits
  • LAM 558/559 – Applied Learning Experience-5 credits

Year 2: (15.5 credits)

  • LAM 553 – Preventive Medicine in Research Animal Facilities-4 credits
  • VET 592 – Journal Club/Seminar (credit awarded in spring)
  • LAM 557 – Specialized Research Environments-5 credits
  • LAM 592 – Journal Club/Seminar-1.5 credits
  • LAM 558/599 – Applied Learning Experience-5 credits

Year 3: (7.5 credits)

  • LAM 556 – Surgery and Anesthesiology in Research Facilities-4 credits
  • VET 592 – Journal Club/Seminar (credit awarded in spring)
  • LAM 555 – Laboratory Animal Medicine and Pathology-2 credits
  • LAM 592 – Journal Club/Seminar-1.5 credits

Years 3 and 4: (no credits for clinical electives)

  • Clinical Electives – Students must take 9 LAM clinical electives in the DVM program

Course Descriptions:

LAM – 550

Applied Learning Experience: Animal Facility Experience
2 credits; 8 weeks; summer
The summer Animal Facility Experience consists of two 4-week in-depth training experiences at industry or academic laboratory animal facilities during the first or second summer after matriculation into the program.

LAM – 551

Introduction to Laboratory Animal Medicine
5 credits; spring
This course is an introduction to the use of animals in biomedical research and the role of the laboratory animal veterinarian. In the first half of the course, presentations from experts in the field cover regulatory control of research animal use, the role of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), animal models in biomedical research, and ethical use of animals. A laboratory animal anatomy module includes three dissection labs devoted to anatomy of rodents, lagomorphs, hamsters, ferrets, and gerbils. The second half of the course is focused on care of research animals and design of research animal facilities. The class tours a barrier rodent housing facility, and a rodent facility using robotic technology.

Students are expected to attend all classes, labs, and tours. They are required to write one analysis paper on research animal ethical cases and to work in groups to create a design for a multi-species research animal facility. The class holds a mock Animal Care and Use Committee meeting. Two written assignments are required. Same basic PhD course as VET 657.

LAM – 553

Preventive Medicine in Research Animal Facilities
4 credits; fall
This course is designed to complement the second year of the veterinary curriculum which is mainly concerned with the pathophysiology of disease. This course focuses on viral, bacterial and parasitic pathogens of concern in the laboratory animal and research settings. Pathogens of importance to traditional laboratory animal species are covered with special emphasis on rodent diseases. In addition, diseases of concern to nontraditional laboratory animals such as swine, small ruminants, fish, amphibians, reptiles and birds are also discussed. The course also provides instruction in the diagnosis, treatment, control and prevention of disease in the laboratory animal facility. The development and implementation of health surveillance and preventative health programs in a laboratory animal setting is discussed including the use of sentinels for routine health monitoring of colonies. This course consists of didactic lectures and tutorial sessions with assigned readings, case studies and interactive discussions.

LAM – 554

Applied Learning Experience: Research Experience
2 credits; 8 weeks; summer
The summer Research Experience consists of an 8-week research experience involving animals. The following is a list of relevant clinical electives:

LAM – 555

Laboratory Animal Medicine and Pathology
2 credits; spring
This course is designed to complement the third year of the veterinary curriculum which integrates the pathophysiological aspects of disease with a comprehensive discussion of the presenting clinical signs, diagnostic criteria, and the treatment of these entities. The lectures provided in this course are designed to provide students with a sound basis in clinical laboratory animal medicine with emphasis on diagnosis, prognosis, and management. A rodent surgery laboratory is offered at Charles River Labs in which students gain practical experience in rodent surgical methods by performing common procedures such as splenectomy, adrenalectomy, ovariectomy, embryo transfer, ovarian transplant and jugular vein cannulation.

LAM – 556

Surgery and Anesthesiology in Research Facilities
4 credits; fall
This course is designed to provide the students with additional training in anesthesia and surgery methods relevant to the laboratory animal setting. The first portion of the course focuses on principles of anesthesia in laboratory animals with special emphasis on rodents and non-traditional species that are not typically covered in the veterinary curriculum. Pain assessment; analgesic management; determination of humane endpoints and methods of euthanasia are also covered. A rodent anesthesia laboratory is conducted allowing students to gain experience with the following: injectable and inhalant anesthetic agents, various methods of inhalant drug delivery (chamber, mask, and manifold systems), intubation techniques and monitoring techniques. The second half of the class focuses on the principles of aseptic surgery in research facilities including sterilization methods, surgical pack preparation and issues specific to rodents, USDA covered species, amphibians and reptiles. Minimally invasive surgical techniques, microsurgical techniques, and pre and post-operative care and support are also discussed. There are also practical handling laboratories involving rodents, rabbits and fish. These laboratories provide an opportunity for the students to learn appropriate restraint and handling techniques as well as practice common procedures such as injections, oral administration of compounds, catheter placement and blood collection. There are laboratories designed to provide anesthesia experience for rodents and swine.

LAM – 557

Specialized Research Environments
5 credits; spring
This course provides advanced instruction in topics relating to specialized environments which are of particular concern to the laboratory animal veterinarian. The course is primarily composed of didactic sessions presented by specialists in the field and addresses a variety of broad topics. Biosafety in the laboratory animal facility is discussed with emphasis on zoonotic diseases, occupational health and safety programs, and biocontainment facility design and operation. Other subject matter includes: animal model development with emphasis placed on mouse genetics and nomenclature; behavioral studies including rodent and primate methodologies; statistics and experimental design; and imaging technologies such as ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT). The course consists of didactic lectures, case studies, and facility tours which are designed to integrate the material discussed in lectures.

LAM – 592

Journal Club/Seminar
1.5 credits each 1st and 2nd year
Students, along with faculty members, participate in a monthly journal club for discussion of current literature in the field. The emphasis is on critical analysis, identifying significance of the research, and understanding how the findings extend current knowledge.

Clinical Electives

9 weeks
Clinical electives can be done at laboratory animal facilities at any location the student chooses. There are multiple opportunities in the greater Boston and Worcester areas, and students have arranged elective experiences at several distant locations. The following types of experience are encouraged:

1. Rodent barrier facilities
2. Biocontainment facilities
3. Primate or multi-species research facilities
4. Surgical programs
5. Transgenic facilities
6. Research Pathology Experience
7. Academic, pharmaceutical or industry biomedical research facilities

APPLIED LEARNING EXPERIENCES (ALE)

Students have worked in Charles River Labs, Wyeth Laboratories, TMC, U. of Massachusetts Medical Center, Genzyme, and Massachusetts General Hospital agreed to accept students in their facilities during summers for either Animal Facility or Research Experiences, as well as their clinical electives. Options are also available at other facilities.

ALE: Animal Facility Experience
The summer Animal Facility Experience consists of two 4-week in-depth training experiences at industry or academic laboratory animal facilities during the first or second summer after matriculation into the program. Students can apply to take the laboratory animal experience part of the program at any institution with an AAALAC- accredited laboratory animal program. New sites must be approved by the Laboratory Animal Medicine Graduate Program Committee. A student can arrange the two 4-week programs at one or two separate institutions the first summer.

During the summer, students work closely with veterinary staff and animal care staff for hands on experience with the animal care, enrichment and veterinary programs and are required to write a paper on ethical use of animals in research or environmental enrichment programs based on their didactic training and summer experience. Students are evaluated by the veterinary staff at the training institutions.

ALE: Research Experience
The summer Research Experience consists of an 8-week research experience involving animals. This research experience must take place during the first or second summer of the program and be an 8-week in depth laboratory research experience, preferably an independent project, in an established research laboratory.
Students are required to work with an established biomedical research investigator and write a research report on the summer project. They are evaluated by the principle investigator of the laboratory.