University of Pennsylvania-Large Animal Neonatal/Perinatalogy

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Each spring the University of Pennsylvania, School of Veterinary Medicine offers a two week elective in Large Animal Neonatology and Intensive Care Medicine at the New Bolton Center campus.  This clinical elective is open to veterinary students who have completed their preclinical training and who have a special interest in equine neonatology/perinatology and/or intensive care medicine. Our case load includes intensive care neonates (primarily equine) and high risk pregnancy cases (equine, caprine, bovine).  We also attend all dystocia births (equine, bovine, ovine, caprine, alpaca) and any other birth that occurs in the hospital.

Students make elect 2 or 4 weeks of neonatology, if so desired. The elective provides students experience managing these critically ill neonates and complicated pregnancies. Daily rounds emphasize normal physiology and pathophysiology of perinatal diseases, the use of monitoring equipment (eg capnography, ECG, BP monitor), fetal and neonatal ultrasonography and various treatment modalities (eg oxygen therapy, parenteral nutrition, positive pressure ventilation, fluid therapy, inotrope/pressor therapy) required in the management of critical care neonates and late-term pregnancies.

Students will have the opportunity to master some of the following manual and theoretical skills; blood gas analysis, calculation of parenteral and enteral nutrition formulations, establishing and maintaining long term jugular catheters, principles of fluid therapy as applied to patients with septic shock and patients requiring maintenance fluids, interpretation of fetal and neonatal sonograms, familiarity with various types of respiratory support therapy and resuscitation protocols, and a working knowledge of a wide variety of pharmacological agents including antimicrobials, anticonvulsives, analgesics, pressors and inotropes. Consecutive two week rotations begin during the last week of February and continue through the first week of June.


Associate Veterinarians and special expertise available

  • Jonathan E. Palmer; VMD, DACVIM (Large Animal Neonatal/Perinatalogy)

Educational Resources

  • electronic journals
  • electronic text books
  • branch library
  • all are part of the University of Pennsylvania's library system


Students responsibilities include presentation of NICU cases at rounds, performing patient treatments with the assistance of the NICU nursing staff, morning SOAP’s on all assigned cases, and emergency shifts and assistance with monitoring and delivery of high risk pregnancies. Students are scheduled on a rotating basis to assist with treatments every week day evening and on weekends and holidays. Emergency duty is also assigned equitably on a rotating basis among the students. Care of the NICU case population is a team effort shared by 4th year students, NICU clinicians, nursing staff, nursing assistants, nursing students and foal sitters (2nd year students and volunteers).

Student Supervision

Generally 80 hours a week but sometimes more.


Yes, visiting students are provided with dormitory space at our New Bolton Center campus. Students are responsible for meals and all personal expenses. Limited cooking facilities are available. Dedicated footwear and scrubs are required.

Practice Information

University of Pennsylvania
3800 Spruce Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Ph: (215) 573-8652 Office for Student Affairs
(610) 925-6412 Dr. Jon Palmer, Chief Neonatal Intensive Care Service, Director of Perinatal/Neonatal Intensive Care Programs
Fx: (610) 925-8100 Dr. Jon Palmer

Email: externships [at] vet [dot] upenn [dot] edu or Dr. Palmer jepalmer [at] vet [dot] upenn [dot] edu

Students can also access our Externship Packets and Applications at:

Signature on file: Dr. Jon Palmer
Updated: 08/05/11


Students may enroll in 1 or 2 two week rotations corresponding to our rotations 21 through 2 (generally the last week of February through the first week of June).

Students must have liability insurance either through OSU or we can accept AVMA student liability coverage.