University of Saskatchewan

Western College of Veterinary Medicine

Essential Skills and Abilities

The Western College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan is responsible to society to provide a program of study that produces graduates with the knowledge, skills and aptitudes necessary to practise veterinary medicine.

While a disability should not preclude a student from consideration for admission, disabilities must not prevent the student from:

Applicants to the degree program in veterinary medicine should be familiar with the essential skills and abilities required for the study of veterinary medicine.

Essential Skills and Abilities Required for the Study of Veterinary Medicine

Candidates for the DVM degree must demonstrate a number of essential skills and abilities. 

1. Observation: The student must be able to participate in learning situations that require observational skills. In particular, students must be able to observe animals and acquire visual, auditory and tactile information from their examinations.

2. Communication: Students must be able to acquire an adequate history from an owner. Students must be able to hear and observe their animal patients in order to effectively collect information and describe the findings.  

3. Motor Skills: The student must demonstrate sufficient motor function to be able to perform a physical examination on an animal that may include palpation, auscultation, percussion and diagnostic procedures including examination with an ophthalmoscope, otoscope or stethoscope on large and small animals. Students must be reasonably able to execute motor movements to achieve general proficiency with surgical therapy and other related therapies.

4. Intellectual Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities: The student must demonstrate the cognitive skills and memory necessary to measure, calculate, analyze, integrate and synthesize information. In addition, the student must be able to comprehend dimensional and spatial relationships. There are diagnostic, problem-solving activities commonly encountered during the DVM program that will need to be executed in a timely fashion.

5. Non-Technical Attributes: Veterinary students must consistently demonstrate non-technical skills, knowledge and aptitudes that allow them to interact with clients, collect histories, apply sound judgment and complete responsibilities in the diagnosis and treatments of animals. Students must be able to develop effective relationships with owners, staff and colleagues.

This policy exists to ensure students entering the DVM program are aware of the requirements necessary for the study of veterinary medicine, and that they have a reasonable opportunity to complete the program and earn a DVM degree.

The Western College of Veterinary Medicine is committed to facilitating the integration of students with disabilities into this college community. Each student with a disability is entitled to reasonable accommodation that will assist him or her to meet the requirements for graduation from the college.

Reasonable accommodation will be made to facilitate each student's progress. Such accommodation, however, can not compromise animal well-being or the safety of the people involved. Therefore, it may not be possible to accommodate all disabilities and allow for successful completion of the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree program.

For additional information regarding support, you may contact the University of Saskatchewan's Disability Services for Students Office at