Wildlife and Aquatic Animal Medicine Club

For Third Years

Captive Wildlife and Exotics

  • Cleveland Metroparks Zoo (Cleveland, OH)
    Available to Junior and Senior veterinary students, usually. Depending on the student's background, they might consider taking a rising 2nd year student.
    Attending Vet: Mike Selig, DVM, Associate Zoo Veterinarian
    Contact:  Linda DeHoff RVT, Hospital Administrator  4200 Wildlife Way, Cleveland OH 44109, p: (216) 661-6500 x  2525, f: (216) 635-3318, e:  led@clevelandmetroparks.com
    Application process: Submit contact information for 3 references, cover letter resume, and dates of availability to Linda DeHoff. Students are accepted up to a year in advance of the desired time slots on a rolling basis.
    Perks : Housing available on a limited basis at no cost. Must have access to a car.
    Duration : Min. 4 wks, 40+ hours per week, including evening and weekend hours.
    Additional Info :  New hospital, CT scanner, hands-on experience commensurate with student's potential and abilities. We usually accept only one veterinary student at a time so that each one is afforded the opportunity to be mentored on an individual basis. Students are encouraged to develop their abilities in capture & handling, necropsy, diagnostics, radiology, anesthesia, recordkeeping, etc, depending on the available caseload.
  • Denver Zoo (Denver, CO)
    Available to Junior and Senior students only.
    Attending Vet: Deena Brenner, DVM, Dipl. ACZM; Diana Boon, DVM
    Contact: Dr. Brenner, Denver Zoo, Department of Animal Health, 2300 Steele Street, Denver, CO 80205 p: (303) 376-4993, f: (303) 376-4991 e: dbrenner@denverzoo.org
    Application process: We accept both 3rd and 4th year veterinary students into our program.  Our current application requirements include a cover letter (letter of intent), CV, and two letters of reference, which can be emailed, faxed or mailed to the number or address above. There is no deadline for application submission; however, we fill externship positions continuously as we received applications from qualified students.  We require documentation of a negative TB test within the last 12 months and a tetanus vaccination within the last 7 years.
    Duration : Min 4 wks; Recommend 6-8 wks. Hours are Mon-Fri, 8am – 5pm with occasional weekend and emergency duty.
    Additional Info: Program description is available at www.aazv.org under the "Student Center" Heading.
    Feedback from Lydia Lam c/o 2011: Animals have really good training and the facility has a great records system. You get a lot of hands on opportunities and a decent amount of responsibility for cases. You do all the necropsies by yourself if you have time.
  • Fort Wayne Children's Zoo (Fort Wayne, IN)
    Preference is given to 4th year students, but any veterinary student is considered if there is sufficient exotic animal experience.
    Attending Vet: Joe Smith, DVM, Staff Veterinarian
    Contact: Dr. Smith, 3411 Sherman Blvd , Fort Wayne, IN 46808, p: (260) 427-6815, f: (260) 427-6815, e: vet@kidszoo.org
    Application process: Go to website above and download form and follow instructions.  If you have questions, contact the Volunteer Coordinator at 260-427-6828 or volunteer@kidszoo.org
    Duration : 4-8 wks. 40 hours per week.
    Additional information: Support the zoo’s veterinary department by assisting with animal care, procedures, and hospital maintenance. The externship is designed to introduce the student to the field of zoo/exotic veterinary medicine. The extern will report directly to the zoo’s veterinarian. Duties: Assist veterinary staff with routine procedures (immobilizations, physical exams, treatments, etc) as well as emergency procedures, with emphasis on duties performed by the veterinarian.
 Assist veterinary technicians with hospital and equipment cleaning and maintenance as needed.
 Assist keeper staff with daily care of animals housed at the veterinary hospital or in quarantine as needed. 
Work on other tasks or special projects as needed.
Responsibilities will be dependent on the applicant’s experience and skills.
    Requirements: Minimally, applicants must be enrolled in a college curriculum. Students enrolled in a veterinary medicine curriculum are preferred. 
Applicants should have a long-term interest in exotic animals, and be experienced and comfortable with dealing with domestic species. Experience with exotic species is preferred, but not required. 
Applicants must be available to work at least 30 hrs/wk (40 hrs/wk preferred) and must be able to work a flexible schedule. 
A negative tuberculin skin test must be performed within one year of the start date. Current rabies, hepatitis B, and tetanus vaccinations are recommended.
    Availability: Externships are available all year. Duration of the externship is flexible to meet the student’s school requirements. A minimum duration of four weeks is recommended.
  • Kansas City Zoo (Kansas City, MO)
    Available to Junior and Senior veterinary students.
    Attending Vet: Dr. William Kirk Suedmeyer, Sr., Veterinarian
    Contact: Dr. Suedmeyer, 6700 Zoo Drive , Kansas City, MO 64132, p: (816) 513-4669, e: kirksuedmeyer@fotzkc.org
    Application process: Submit letter of intent and statement of career goals to Dr. Suedmeyer. Should apply at least 6 months prior to desired externship dates.
    Perks : Possibly housing through zoo staff. Transportation on zoo grounds is provided.
    Duration : 6-8 wks.
    Additional Info : Kansas City Zoo has a huge 14,000 sq foot hospital with digital ultrasound, radiology, thermography, laparoscopy, endoscopy, etc. Gain first-hand experience under the supervision and apprenticeship of veterinary staff in phlebotomy, anesthesia, medicine, surgery & more.  The preceptor will be incorporated into the daily routine of zoo veterinary medicine. Applicants may receive credit through their veterinary school for the preceptorship.  The applicants must be a junior or senior veterinary student currently enrolled in an accredited veterinary school. Students must receive a negative TB test, have a current rabies vaccine, be able to work in extreme weather conditions and be able to repeatedly lift at least 50 lbs.

  • Lowry Park Zoo (Tampa, FL)
    Contact: Leinani Bernabe at Leinani.Bernabe@LowryParkZoo.com for an application form. You will be contacted upon receipt of your completed application and/or if an available opportunity matches your needs and abilities.
    Additional Information: Animal Department interns work alongside our keepers in the following animal areas: Primates, Herps & Aquatics, Florida Mammals, Asian Gardens, Safari Africa and Aviary. They assist keepers in many aspects of animal husbandry, including cleaning and maintenance of animal exhibits (80% of time), diet and enrichment preparation (20% of time). Volunteers do not have any direct animal contact.

  • Minnesota Zoo (Apple Valley, MN) - Summer Volunteership also available.
    Externships are available to Senior students only. Dr. Rasmussen will consider taking other outstanding veterinary students to participate in summer volunteerships in the hospital.
    Attending Vet: Jim Rasmussen, DVM, Senior Veterinarian.
    Contact: Dr. Rasmussen, 13000 Zoo Blvd , Apple Valley, MN 55124 p: (957) 431-9371, f: (952) 431-9427, e: jim.rasmussen@state.mn.us
    Application process: Submit cover letter, curriculum vitae, and two letters of recommendation (one from a clinical vet) to Dr. Rasmussen by email or snail mail. An interview will then be set up. Should apply at least one year in advance for externship.
    Duration : Min 6 wks. Monday through Saturday starting on the first Monday of the scheduled rotation block. Students may be expected to be on-call on Holidays and Sundays. Summer volunteership lasts all summer.
    Additional Info : Externs will need to have their own transportation. Strongly encourage externs to have had anesthesia and pathology rotations prior to taking this rotation.
    Volunteer's primary duties: Dependent upon the background and experience of the volunteer and also whether we have an extern at the same time. Volunteers are able to observe and perhaps participate in procedures. We have them enter medical information into animal records. Volunteer are also involved with prep and clean up for procedures. It is also possible for them to get involved in research projects.
    Additional requirements: Tb test/ Vaccinations: TB test within 6 months of preceptorship; rabies vaccination series.
  • National Zoo (Washington, DC)
    Externship Website: http://nationalzoo.si.edu/UndergradInternships/VeterinaryMedicine/preceptorship.cfm
    Available to Senior veterinary students only.
    Attending Vet: Dr. Suzan Murray, Chief Veterinarian
    Duration: Minimum 6 weeks, 8 weeks preferred.
    Additional Info: Zoological Medicine preceptorship students will participate in all facets of the medical program at the National Zoo's facility in Washington, D.C., including clinical and preventative medicine, surgery, quarantine, pathology, medical records keeping, and case rounds. A special project will be assigned whenever possible. There is also a preceptorship in Zoological Pathology available at the National Zoo. Students will participate in all facets of the pathology program at the National Zoo's facility in Washington, D.C., including gross necropsy, clinical pathology, microscopic analysis of tissues, and case rounds. A special project will be assigned whenever possible. Attendance at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology Wednesday Slide Conference is also possible.
    Requirements: A negative TB test within six months of the starting date and rabies prophylaxis. Preceptors must provide their own personal insurance.

  • Roger Williams Park Zoo (Providence, RI)

    Available to Junior and Senior veterinary students. 
Attending Vet: Dr. Michael McBride, Director of Veterinary Services.

    Contact: Dr. McBride 1000 Elmwood Ave, Providence, RI 02907, p: 401-785-3510 x 308, e: mmcbride@rwpzoo.org, f: 401-941-3988

Application process: Applications are rolling.  Email Dr. McBride with desired dates and for application information. Applicants should send a cover letter (limited to 1 page) describing why they want the externship and what they hope to get out of it, and a current CV.  A quick, informal phone interview of the candidate will be conducted. There is no deadline, but only one student is taken at a time.

    Duration: 3-5 weeks.
    Additional Information: Externs will be expected to give a presentation to staff during their externship. For this externship, students must be in their clinical year to participate.  Students wishing to participate in a summer project should contact Dr. McBride, but this would not be an externship and would be handled on a case by case basis only. The extern will primarily shadow the clinical veterinarian as they perform their tasks.  The degree to which the student can participate will depend on the skills of the student.  For this reason, it is strongly suggested that students wait until late in their clinical year to take the externship. The extern's duties include providing treatments to animals, participating in medical procedures, following up on questions asked by the veterinary staff (these are subjects the veterinary staff feels the student could benefit from reading or researching more on), and completing a presentation.  Students will also enter medical records, perform necropsies and attend rounds. Students with specific questions are encouraged to get in touch with Dr. McBride.

  • San Diego Zoo (San Diego, CA)
    Available to Senior students only.
    Attending Vet: Dr. Tracy Clippinger
    Contact: Ms. Donna Vader, Administrative Assistant, San Diego Zoo Veterinary Services, 1354 Old Globe Way, San Diego, CA, 92101, p: (619) 557-3932, f: (619) 230-1256, e: DVader@sandiegozoo.org
    Application process: Letter of intent, Curriculum Vitae, 3 References with full contact information (letters preferred), and available dates listed by preference. Applications will be evaluated on a competitive basis. Students will only be accepted for externships that occur during the months of January-July.
    The application info on the AAZV website at http://www.aazv.org, in the "Education Center" on the left side of the page.
    Application Deadline: September 15th of your third year in veterinary school.  Students will be notified of acceptance on or about October 5th of the application year.  Incomplete or post-deadline applications receive lower priority.
    Duration: 4 to 8 weeks. 6 week long externships are preferred.
    Additional Info: Students will have the opportunity to observe clinical zoo practice through rounds in a hospital and exhibit/grounds setting.  Students will accompany clinical veterinarians and will assist registered veterinary technicians. Students will have the opportunity to perform physical examinations on a wide variety of zoo animal species and to participate in procedures on a supervised basis to a variable degree dependent upon the medical situation, as well as, extern knowledge and competency. Students will be gain exposure to the Dan-inject and Telinject remote delivery immobilization systems, as well as safety procedures associated with such. Students will be responsible for a research project that investigates a clinical problem or evaluates past medical cases. A presentation of the topic with its findings to the veterinary and/or husbandry staff is expected. Responsibilities include recording information about observed cases in medical records utilizing the S.O.A.P. format, monitoring restraint episodes and recording pertinent information on anesthetic and physiologic parameters, assisting registered veterinary technicians with routine treatments on hospitalized patients and other assigned tasks, preparing for upcoming procedures by familiarizing oneself with patients and techniques in advance, completing applicable reading assigned by clinicians, completing a project and/or case report and making a presentation of the findings to the hospital and/or husbandry staff, and regular attendance M-F  6:30AM - 5:30PM with possible weekends.
    Requirements: Students must have their own health insurance and must be covered for liability under the umbrella of their veterinary school. Students must have a negative tuberculin skin test or negative chest radiograph within 12 months of starting the externship.
    Feedback from Lydia Lam c/o 2011: Amazing internship. Did get to do a fair bit of hands-on. Good caseload. Technicians and doctors are so great to work with. Highly recommended!
    Feedback from Alison Righton c/o 2011: I externed at the San Diego Zoo Pathology Program for a month. It was a great experience in that you get to complete necropsies from the SD Zoo as well as the Wild Animal Park. There are multiple different species that come through the necropsy floor and it was great for learning comparative anatomy and disease processes that are currently going on at the zoo. They have slide sets for externs as well as weekly histology conferences including pathologists from all over the greater San Diego region.
    Feedback from Jennifer Hausmann c/o 2011: I loved my time at the Wild Animal Park.  It was fantastic.  You see a very high case load, mostly ruminants/hoof stock.  You become familiar with large animal anesthesia and anesthesia protocols. Once they get to know you and trust you and if you are little bit persistent you can do quite a few things.  I intubated multiple species, placed IV catheters, performed dentals, managed wound and bandage care, and assisted with surgery. The Wild Animal Park is a huge faculty with lots of animals so you can see how a very large and efficient zoo runs.  The vets are great.  They are so supportive.  They will also help if you wish to find a topic or case to write up.  You do a project while you are there, which you present to the vets and keepers at the end of your time. 
    Feedback from Kate Gustavsen c/o 2011: Just plain awesome.  I did the clinical rotation at the Zoo, but there are also rotations at the Safari Park and the Wildlife Disease Laboratory (pathology). The facilities, clinicians, techs, and keepers are absolutely top notch. I intubated, did physical and ophthalmic exams, drew blood, took radiographs, performed ultrasounds, placed some sutures, scaled teeth, took a punch biopsy, did a sinus flush on a tortoise, and gave all kinds of treatments (PO, SC, IM, IV).  And wrote a lot of medical records, which are paper but can be typed and printed out.  Of course what you get to do depends on your attitude and demonstrated skill level, and how critical the patient is, but they seemed really committed overall to students having a good learning experience.  I absolutely recommend going there if you can.  IMPORTANT NOTE: Although it counts as a "core medicine elective" for the zoo track, you still have to apply to San Diego Zoo.

  • University of Illinois Zoological Pathology Externship (Chicago, IL)
    Available to Junior and Senior veterinary students.
    Attending Vet: Dr. Karen Terio, Clinical Associate Professor

    Contact: Dr. Terio, LUMC Building 101, Room 0745, 2160 S. First Ave, Maywood, IL 60153, p: (708) 216-1185, f: (708) 216-5934, e: kterio@illinois.edu

    Application process: Submit a CV, a brief statement of career goals, and names of two references to Dr. Terio. Application materials may be submitted via email. Submit the application at least 6-12 months in advance. Rolling admissions.
    Perks : Housing is not provided, but low-cost housing options are available.
    Duration : 3-6 weeks.
    Additional Info : The Zoological Pathology Program (ZPP) is a full-service diagnostic, teaching, and research pathology program, specializing in exotic and wildlife diseases.  Based in Chicago, ZPP is a unique collaboration between the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, the Chicago Zoological Society, the Brookfield Zoo, the Lincoln Park Zoological Gardens, and the John G. Shedd Aquarium, with additional support from the Loyola University of Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.  The externship program is designed to provide students with exposure to all aspects of zoological pathology.  Externs will conduct gross necropsies and microscopic evaluation of diagnostic cases in conjunction with residents and staff pathologists.  Background reading and research for diagnostic cases will be expected of the extern as will participation in weekly gross and histopathology seminars.  Special projects arising from case materials may also be pursued.  Teaching sets of classic non-domestic animal gross and histological lesions are available for study.  The extern is expected to participate in weekly gross and histopathology seminars and may be encouraged to pursue research projects stemming from case materials.
    Feedback from Alison Righton c/o 2011: I externed at the Zoo Pathology Program for 4 weeks through the University of Illinois in Chicago. I was able to participate in all the necropsies they performed (from the Lincoln Park Zoo, Brookfield Zoo and Shedd Aquarium) as well as become more familiar with histology through a large group of student slides and slides from the necropsies performed. They also had me participate in weekly slide conferences where I had to describe slides to the faculty, much like biopsy conference here at UCD on Friday mornings. I completed a side project on Atoxoplasmosis in Superb Starlings and Tanagers at one of the local zoos and the information is going to be used to help with a manuscript in the near future. It was a great experience for any of the zoo track people that are interested in pursuing a pathology residency program. There is no clinical veterinary experience with the externship. I actually am starting the Zoo and Wildlife Anatomic Pathology Residency at the University of Illinois in the fall and this externship was very valuable in getting me that position.
  • Wildlife Safari (Winston, OR)
Available to Junior and Senior veterinary students.
Attending Vet: Benjamin E. Alcantar, DVM, Head Veterinarian
Contact: Dr. Alcantar, 1790 Safari Road, P.O. Box 1600, Winston, OR 97496, p: 541-679-6761 x 222, e: veterinarian@wildlifesafari.net

    Application process: Submit cover letter and resume to Dr. Alcantar. Valid (over the last 6 months) TB testing is required and it is recommended to have valid rabies and tetanus vaccines (titer checks are acceptable)
    Perks : $ 50/month charge for housing On-grounds (in trailer) or at the Intern house (this charge includes application fee and house expenses).
Duration: 4-8 weeks between February and November.

    Additional Info: This is a drive-through animal park. It is recommended that the extern have his or her own transportation.


  • Cape Wildlife Center (West Barnstable, MA)
    Internships for veterinary students in years 1-3, externships for senior veterinary students.
    Attending Veterinarian: Roberto Aguilar, DVM, Staff Veterinarian
    Contact: Cape Wildlife Center Attn: Dr. Roberto Aguilar 4011 Main Street Barnstable, MA, 02630, p: (508) 362-0111, e: raguilar@humanesociety.org
    Application process: Applications accepted year-round, the earlier the better. For both internship and externship: Fill out the application form and submit by email to Dr. Aguilar (electronic files are preferred) with: Curriculum Vitae or Resume, School Transcripts (copies are acceptable), a Letter of Intent describing your career goals and reasons for wanting to participate in the Wildlife Medicine and Surgery Internship program at CWC, and Three Letters of Reference.
    Duration : 3-8 weeks for internship, 3-4 weeks for externship, both available April-Sept (with exceptions). May work up to 10-12 hours per day.
    Additional Info : Extern will be working exclusively with exotics and wildlife. In late spring or summer, there may be up to six externs at a time; during early spring and fall, there may be only two.
    “We have two types of programs, internships (following the definition used in industry, not the medical definition) which are open to junior and senior year students of biology, ecology, conservation, wildlife, and pre-veterinary medicine (as well as vet students in years 1-3). They are divided into fixed 8 week periods throughout the Spring and Summer – our busy season. The externships and extemporaneous internships (also called preceptorships internally) can run 4 weeks and can be flexible in length, depending on space and availability. They are available to senior vet students, as well as graduate vet students from the US and abroad. Interns and externs are expected to work 5 days a week, and have two days off (days off are not necessarily consecutive, depending on our schedule and animal needs).”
        For internship: “We receive approximately 1,700 wild animals each year, representing different species of native wildlife, including carnivores, raptors, marine birds, and reptiles. The hospital facilities include a clinic, digital radiology, a small laboratory, and a dedicated pathology area. The intern will work closely with the staff veterinarian, veterinary technician and the animal care staff. This program encompasses all aspects of wildlife rehabilitation, from intake to release including handling and restraint, nutrition, gavage feeding, diet preparation, husbandry, critical care, surgery, anesthesia, lab work, diagnostics and release criteria. The intern will receive hands-on experience in physical restraint, hanlding techniques, hand-rearing and care of diverse mammalian, avian and reptilian species. Observation of radiographic techniques, image interpretation, anesthesia , surgery, and treatment of many different species is also possible. Interns will be able to monitor veterinary procedures under the supervision of the staff veterinarian, and are expected to assist with routine animal care.
        For externship: Same except the extern will receive hands-on experience in physical examinations, radiographic technique, image interpretation, anesthesia, surgery, and treatment of many different species. Externs will be able to perform minor veterinary procedures under the supervision of the staff veterinarian and to assist with routine animal care.
  • Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife - CROW (Sanibel, FL)
    Attending Veterinarian: Dr. Amber McNamara, Clinic Director.
    Contact: Dr. Amber McNamara, P.O. Box 150 , Sanibel, FL 33957, p: (239) 395-0048, f: (239) 472-8544, e: students@crowclinic.org
    Dr. Amber McNamara P: (239) 472-3644 x224
    Application Process: Rolling admissions, no deadline. For more information and to download application packet, please visit the website.
    Perks : Student programs provide housing on CROW property for a nominal fee.
    Duration : Minimum 4 weeks.
    Additional Info : The hospital cares for injured and orphaned wildlife, including mammals, birds, and reptiles. CROW also offers a year-long post-graduate internship and fellowship position.
  • Georgia Sea Turtle Center (Jekyll Island, Georgia)
    Externs should be in their Senior year of veterinary school. Alternately, students who have completed at least their first year of veterinary school, and have a funded research project that will be conducted through the Georgia Sea Turtle Center during the summer break.
    Attending Veterinarian: Dr. Terry Norton, DVM, Director and Staff Veterinarian
    Contact: Dr. Terry Norton, 214 Stable Road, Jekyll Island, GA 31527 f: (912) 635-4198, e: tnorton@jekyllisland.com
    Application Process: Interested applicants should send a CV, letter of intent, 3 letters of recommendation, and several time periods that the GSTC can consider to Dr. Norton.
    Duration: 2 to 6 weeks, year round.
    Description:  The Georgia Sea Turtle Center provides care for sea turtles, native turtles, and emergency stabilization care for birds. The extern responsibilities will include, but are not limited to daily treatment and care of assigned patients, assisting with admitting new patients, assisting with diagnostic work ups, anesthesia, surgery, and entering daily medical records, avian and reptile necropsies, and possibly assisting with food preparation, tank cleaning, water quality testing, and other husbandry tasks. Veterinary externs are encouraged to conduct a project during their stay.
    Requirements: Externs must have the ability to work and drive in the United States legally. It is recommended that externs bring a car for getting around.
    Perks: The Georgia Sea Turtle Center may be able to provide housing, but it is dependent on the time of year, and availability.
  • Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito (Sausalito, CA)
    Available to Junior and Senior students only.
    Attending Vet: Dr. Bill Van Bonn, Director of Veterinary Science
    Contact: The Extern Program c/o Sophie Guarasci, The Marine Mammal Center, 2000 Bunker Road, Fort Cronkhite, Sausalito, CA 94965, e: guarascis@tmmc.org. No faxes or telephone calls please.
    Application process: Applications are due by February 1st, one year prior to the planned externship. Applications should include a letter of intent, CV, and two letters of recommendation. Please send all materials to the contact above.
    Duration: Externships are scheduled for three-week periods between March 1st and September 15th of each year.
    Additional Info: Transportation is the extern's responsibility, and unfortunately there is no public transpiration to the Center.
    Perks: Shared housing is available at no cost in the Center's Extern Housing Unit located within the Marin Headlands.
    Feedback from Catherine Gunther Murphy c/o 2012: I did STAR/research every summer at The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, CA. It was FANTASTIC! If someone is interested in working there or externing there I would suggest contacting the veterinarians (Drs. Bill Van Bonn and/or Frances Gulland) early to start writing a STAR proposal. Tracey Goldstein at the Wildlife Health Center is also available as a STAR mentor and she was AWESOME.
  • Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research (Newark, DE)
Available to junior and senior veterinary students.
Attending Vet: Dr. Erica A. Miller, Staff Veterinarian
Contact: Dr. Miller, 110 Possum Hollow Road , Newark, DE 19711, p: (302) 737-9543 x 116, f: (302) 737-9562, e: emiller@tristatebird.org

    Application process: Email Dr. Miller for an application. Application materials should be submitted at least three months prior to the desired date of the externship.
Perks: Limited housing may be available at a volunteer’s home, although the student should have their own transportation.

    Duration: 2-4 weeks. Externs are usually taken January through April, September, and October
    Additional Info: The Tri-State Bird Rescue is a wildlife rehabilitation center that specializes in oil spill response, but also treats approximately 2900 non-oiled, native wild birds annually. The surgery room is equipped with an electrosurgical unit, and rigid and flexible endoscopes. They prefer to not take externs during the summer; while the caseload is high during these months, they are so busy that we are not able to provide extensive training. Exceptions can be made for students with some prior wild bird experience. 
Areas of instruction and subsequent responsibilities include: assisting with the operation of the clinic; daily medical treatments and husbandry care; admission of new patients; routine diagnostic procedures (clinical-pathology, radiology, parasitology and necropsy); common medical protocols; protocols for oil-contaminated animals; euthanasia protocols; surgery and anesthesia protocols; caseload management; and human health and safety concerns. 
The student is expected to become familiar with the common reference sources in wildlife rehabilitation, and submit a short report on a related topic. 
Upon completion of the externship, the student should provide a written evaluation of the Tri-State Wildlife Clinic and the Externship Program.
  • Wildlife Center of Virginia (Waynesboro, VA)
    Website: http://www.wildlifecenter.org/wp/veterinary-training/veterinary-externship/
    Perks: Student housing available for $75/week and there is a student car to get you between the house and the center, sometimes you can sometimes borrow on your day off to go places.
    Feedback from Jennifer Hausmann c/o 2011: This was a great experience.  The veterinarians are great, you work mostly with the veterinary intern and veterinary fellow. The veterinary fellow while I was there, Dr. Mirands Sadar, is a great teacher and tries to let you do a lot of hands-on work like blood draws, treatments, radiographs, catheters, ophthalmological exams, handling, and more. I got to do a lot of hands-on work with multiple species. In the spring/summer they will get a lot of baby birds, fawns, and in the winter they get black bears. The let you do the physical exams and come up with a treatment plan.  You do a project while you are there.
  • Willowbrook Wildlife Center (Glen Ellyn, IL)
    Contact: Jennifer Nevis, Staff Veterinarian, Office of Education – Willowbrook Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, p: (630) 942-6204, e: jnevis@dupageforest.com
    Website: http://www.willowbrookwildlife.com/content.asp?pageID=VOLUNTEER
    Location: DuPage County, west of Chicago.
    Application: Summer preceptor positions are only for currently enrolled veterinary students who have completed the first year of study or more. If interested, please submit a cover letter with resume, including with references, to: Dr. Jen Nevis, DVM, Willowbrook Wildlife Center, 525 S. Park Blvd., Glen Ellyn, IL. 60137, Or e-mail to jnevis@dupageforest.com, Or call (630) 942-6204. Deadline for Applications: Feb 26, 2011.  The selection process will be completed by April 1st, 2011.
    Info: Willowbrook is the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County’s wildlife rehabilitation and education center. Willowbrook houses over 90 permanently disabled animals for educational opportunities, and treats/rehabilitates over 7,000 native animals annually.  A full time staff veterinarian supervises the preceptorship program. The Center is equipped with a clinic and treatment room, a surgical suite, and a radiology unit, and numerous animal-housing buildings. The veterinary student preceptor is involved with animal triage, examinations, designing treatment protocol, administering treatments, performing necropsies, assisting in surgeries, etc. Tetanus and rabies vaccinations are required.
    “We do take on one paid intern position in the summer but we have no means to provide housing or transport so I tend to only advertise very locally as I feel this area is expensive and it would be an undue burden on students from far away.”
    Perks: The position is 40 hours per week, at a rate of $10.00 an hour.  Dates and duration for the 12 week work period will be determined by mentor and candidate(s). No housing or transportation is provided so please be aware you will need to make your own arrangements regarding these necessities.

Aquarium Medicine

  • Aquarium of the Pacific (Long Beach, CA)
    Available to all veterinary students.
    Contact: Shannon Penna, Internship Coordinator, p: 562-951-3126, e: spenna@lbaop.org
    Website: http://www.aquariumofpacific.org/volunteer/information/C160/
    Application process: Submit a veterinary position application, cover letter, resume, transcripts (official or unofficial), letter of recommendation from vet school advisor(Volunteer services wanted to emphasize that the reference must be academic, from someone familiar with your preparatory course work). The Internship Coordinator will forward your information on to the Aquarium’s veterinarian.
    Duration : 4-8 weeks, Mon-Fri 7:30am to 5:30pm
    Additional Info : Requires a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Snail mail for veterinary applications is preferred. Any other position should be submitted through our on-line application. The summer program (for college students) is not really set up for 1st or 2nd year veterinary students, it would be better for them to apply for the externship for veterinary students.  However, priority will be given to 3rd and 4th year students so I will only take them if I have an unfilled position.  They need to come for a minimum of 3 weeks.
  • Georgia Aquarium (Atlanta, GA)
    Internship Website: http://www.georgiaaquarium.org/support-us/volunteer/internships.aspx#Husbandry
    Preference will be given to third and fourth year veterinary students, but all years may apply.
    Attending Vet: Dr. Tonya Clauss, Staff Veterinarian.
    Contact: Dr. Tonya Clauss and Dr. Aimee Berliner, Attn: Vet Extern Program, Veterinary Services, Georgia Aquarium, 225 Baker Street, Atlanta, Georgia, 30313 e: tclauss@georgiaaquarium.org, aberliner@georgiaaquarium.org
    Application Process: Applications will be evaluated twice annually. Applications for an externship between January 11 and July 1 are due by March 1 of the preceding year. Applications for an externship between August 1 and Nov 20 are due by November 1 of the preceding year. To apply, please submit a letter of intent, a curriculum vitae or resume, veterinary school transcripts, 3 letters of recommendation and 3 sets of available time in order of preference to Dr. Clauss and Dr. Berliner.
    Duration: Externships are to be a minimum of 4 weeks and a maximum of 8 weeks. They are not available November 20th - January 10th or July 1st through July 31st.
    Description: Students will spend time working in the commissary, the water quality and diagnostic laboratory, necropsy, quarantine and with clinical cases. Individuals are expected to produce a written case report or special topic report with an associated PowerPoint presentation during the last week of the preceptorship. There is an assigned reading list intended to broaden the student’s knowledge base in aquatic animal husbandry and clinical care. There are 5 veterinarians on staff, 3 of which are full time clinical positions. The Georgia Aquarium has a state of the art veterinary hospital with equipment comparable to that found at a teaching hospital or specialty practice. They provide optimal veterinary and preventive health care for a collection consisting of aquatic mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds, elasmobranchs and teleost fish and invertebrates.
    Requirements: A current tetanus vaccination and health insurance are required. Students should expect to work some weekend days.
    Perks: Low cost housing may be available, but should not be counted on.
  • Marine Biological Laboratory (Woods Hole, MA)
    Contact: Dr. Amy Hancock, p: (508) 289-7522, e: ahancock@mbl.edu
    The program is for U.S. veterinary students in their fourth year who are interested in aquatic and laboratory animal medicine.
    “This is a joint program between the MBL and the Woods Hole Science Aquarium. The MBL is a research institution which holds a large number of local and exotic marine fish and invertebrate, some freshwater species, and some traditional laboratory animal species (primarily small mammals and amphibians). The Woods Hole Science Aquarium is a small government facility which displays local marine species. There is some money available to help with housing, however it does not include meals and the student has to do the legwork to find housing in Woods Hole. We do have somewhat of a network of local residents who are willing to take students in for a cheap rent rate, however. Unfortunately dorm housing is usually not available. Applications are received until spaces are full. I prefer students spend 6 weeks, but 4 weeks will be considered. Students are required to complete a project while they're here. Interested students should feel free to contact me (Dr. Hancock).”
  • Marvet (Various Locations)
    Available to all veterinary students. See the website for application dates and information.
    Feedback from Brittany Stevens c/o 2013: This past summer I spent three weeks in the Cayman Islands learning about aquatic medicine.  The first portion of my trip was spent participating in the “MARVET Grand Cayman Workshop.”  This is a two-week course in marine veterinary medicine open to 20 students and veterinarians from around the world.  The course focuses on marine mammals, sea turtles, fish, elasmobranches, invertebrates, and ecosystem health assessment.  The course was taught by veterinarians and experts from a wide variety of respected aquatic institutions including SeaWorld, the Shedd Aquarium, the Georgia Aquarium, Mystic Aquarium, the University of Florida Tropical Aquaculture Lab and the local Cayman Sea Turtle Farm and Dolphin Discovery Center. Each day of the course we had four hours of lecture.  The lectures covered a variety of topics about marine animals including anatomy and physiology, physical exams, diagnostics, common diseases and conservation measures.  Some of my favorite lectures included: “Seahorse Health and Disease,” “Whale Shark and Manta Ray Transport and Medicine,” and “Coral Restoration and Coral Health.”  Following the lecture portion of each day, we then had hands-on laboratory sessions where we were able to put into practice the information that was presented in the lecture portion. The labs included a kayak tour of the Cayman mangrove ecosystem, a sea turtle physical exam and blood collection at the Cayman Sea Turtle Farm, a sea turtle, porpoise, and shark necropsy lab, a aquatic bird clinical procedures and necropsy lab, a fish anesthesia, diagnostic techniques and necropsy lab, a coral reef health assessment dive/snorkel at two different field sites, a visit to the critically endangered Blue Iguana Recovery Program and Reserve, and a dolphin physical exam and blood, fecal, gastric and blowhole sample collection at the Dolphin Discovery Center. During my last week on the island, I spent time shadowing Dr. Eva Alvarez at the Dolphin Discovery Center as an extern. During my time with Dr. Alvarez, I was able to help perform the daily physical exams of the collection’s 7 dolphins and 4 southern rays, perform analysis of all diagnostic samples that were collected, learn training techniques and learn how to analyze water quality for salinity and coliform levels. Overall, I absolutely loved my time in Grand Cayman.  I was able to learn an astounding amount about marine medicine and gained many skills with species where it is often difficult to gain hands-on experience.  Furthermore this trip was an incredible networking experience, as I got to meet many experts within the field of aquatic medicine and build friendships with my similarly minded coursemates from around the world.
  • Mystic Aquarium (Mystic, CT)
    Sea Research Foundation’s Mystic Aquarium
    Attending Vet:  Allison D. Tuttle, DVM, Diplomate ACZM- Staff Veterinarian & Director of Animal Care
    Contact: Dr. Tuttle, p: (860) 572-5955 X 101 (email communications preferred), e: atuttle@mysticaquarium.org
    The application process is detailed on the website:
    Duration 2 to 16 weeks, minimum of 3 weeks preferred.
    Additional info: Mystic Aquarium also offers a 1-2 year post-graduate Internship in Aquatic Animal Medicine and Research. More information on this program can be found at:
    ***Confirmed- Applicants do not and should not have to complete the application designed for undergraduate interns on the mystic aquarium website. Applicants should follow the instructions for veterinary applicants listed on the website.  
    Primary Duties/Experience Offered:  "Externs generally work 5 days per week (Tuesday-Saturday), but this may go up in certain situations. Externs will shadow Staff Veterinarian and/or Veterinary Intern as they work on all clinical cases - both preventative in nature, and to treat a specific ailment in our animal collection, or for necropsy, and rehabilitation cases in our marine mammal and sea turtle stranding program (stranding cases tend to be seasonal).  Hands-on experience by the extern will be encouraged, but venipuncture of certain collection animals may not be possible. Externs will actively participate in veterinary case and teaching rounds.  Externs have the opportunity for husbandry program shadows on their days off which offer externs a first-hand look at what goes into maintaining the animals we have - areas for a husbandry shadow include: Beluga whales, Steller Sea Lions, Penguins, California Sea Lion show, Fish, Herps, & Invertebrates- Medical/Quarantine, Fish, Herps & Invertebrates- Exhibits, Stranding Program, Water Quality Lab, Immunology Research Lab (availability varies), Clinical Lab, Nutrition Lab (availability varies), and Food/Fish Preparation.  Externs staying for 4+ weeks will be given a research project to do while they are here.  Externs staying for less than 4 weeks will be given a literature review.  The results of both types of projects will be presented to staff prior to completion of the externship.  For exceptional projects, first author publication in a peer-reviewed journal is possible, and has been achieved.  This is an excellent opportunity for any students who may have an interest in our Internship program upon graduation to get to know us prior to the application process. We recommend IAAAM membership for all externs with an interest in future careers in aquatic animal medicine".  
    Feedback from Jennifer Hausmann c/o 2011 who did this as a senior: I loved my time at the mystic aquarium.  Dr. Tuttle is fantastic.  She is very supportive and does at least weekly rounds, some time 3 times a week.  She knows a lot.  You will work mostly with the intern. You work with all the species at the aquarium; belugas, sea lions, fish, sharks, and pengiuns.  You manage medical cases as well as do a lot of medical behavioral training to increase what the animal will allow the vets to do without restraint (gastroscopy on belugas, blood draws, ultrasounds, etc).  The staff is excellent. I did a lot of necropsies and worked with their stranding program which sees mostly seals and sea lions. They try to make it as hands-on as possible with PEs, blood draws, training, necropsies, etc. A few times we went over to the Roger Williams Zoo to assist with large procedures too.  You do a presentation while you are there.
  • National Aquarium (Baltimore, MD)
    Available to Junior and Senior students, but they will accept some post-graduate candidates.
    Attending Vet: Dr. Leigh Clayton, Director of Animal Health
    Contact: Dr. Ben Rossi, Animal Registrar and Medical Assistant, National Aquarium in Baltimore, 501 East Pratt Street, Baltimore MD, 21202 p: (410) 576-3853, f: (410) 576-1080, e: brossi@aqua.org
    Application process: Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, and are considered as they are recieved. Students are selected on the basis of their goals, resume, application, and two letters of recommendation. Applicants must fill out the application form, and submit it with a resume and two letters of recommendation to the contact listed above. 
    Duration: Six to eight weeks.
    Additional Info: This opportunity is specifically designed for students with an interest in Aquatic and Exotic Animal Medicine, Laboratory Medicine, and Environmental Medicine. Students spend five to eight weeks working in the Animal Health Department and are exposed to the multi-faceted nature of veterinary practice in a major marine aquarium. Preceptors participate in clinical rounds, perform clinical laboratory tests, learn about fish pathology, and are introduced to the area of water chemistry. The National Aquarium has a large collection of fish and invertebrates, birds, reptiles and amphibians, a large group of bottlenose dolphins, and some terrestrial mammals. Our veterinary preceptors work with both veterinary and husbandry departments. Emphasis is placed on clinical diagnosis and treatment, pathology and clinical pathology, microbiology, parasitology, nutrition, water quality, and husbandry. Each student is also responsible for leading journal rounds, and completes a short-answer quiz and a final project. The project may be a retrospective study or literature review on a topic relevant to aquatic animal medicine.
    Requirements: Students applying for the Veterinary Preceptorship Program must be a student in good standing enrolled in an AVMA-accredited school of veterinary medicine and must have completed the first two years of basic courses.
  • New England Aquarium (Boston, MA)
    Internship Website: http://www.neaq.org/get_involved/volunteering_and_internships/internships/complete_list_of_internships/position_details.php?id=42
    Available to Junior and Senior students only.
    Contact: Attn: Veterinary Externship, Volunteer Programs & Internships, New England Aquarium, Central Wharf, Boston, MA 02110-3399, f: (617) 973-6552, e: vols@neaq.org
    Application process: Externships are available from September 1 through June 30. Priority deadline is November 1st. Because of limited availability, veterinary students should apply up to a year in advance. To apply, send two copies of a letter of intent, two copies of a curriculum vitae, two copies of veterinary school transcript, two copies of 2 letters of recommendation, and three proposed dates of the externship in one package to the contact above. Please contact the Office of Volunteer Programs and Internships for more information on available externship dates.
    Duration: 6 to 8 weeks.
    Additional Info: The Animal Health Department at the New England aquarium consists of a staff of 10 employees and serves to provide an optimal veterinary and preventive health program for collection and stranded/injured aquatic animals. The department includes 3 veterinarians, 4 biologists, 2 water quality specialists, and a lab office supervisor. We are devoted to education, research, and conservation to investigate and promote global aquatic animal health issues. Clinical work at the off-site Animal Care Center in Quincy, MA may be required based on case load. Rotations are a comprehensive introduction into aquatic animal husbandry and veterinary medicine. Students are rotated through all areas of the aquarium, which includes working with fish, invertebrates, birds, reptiles, amphibians, marine mammals, environmental quality and marine animal rescue/rehabilitation.
  • Sea World (Multiple Locations)
    Internship Website: http://www.seaworld.org/career-resources/externship/index.htm
    Available to Senior students only.
    Contact: VetExternship@seaworld.com, also see the above website for the online application.
    Application process: Interested students must submit a completed SeaWorld Externship Application form. Also required are two letters of reference and a Curriculum Vitae. All information should be submitted electronically by email. Applications are accepted between September 1, 2010 and November 15, 2010.  Notification of acceptance will be available by January 15, 2011.  Selections made in January will be effective for the 2011–2012 school year.
    Duration: 3 to 4 weeks.
    Additional Info: Students will be given a full range of opportunities in aquatic animal husbandry and medicine which includes whales, dolphins, seals, sea lions, walrus, marine and freshwater fishes, penguins, and many other species of birds and reptiles. In addition, polar bears and manatees are resident at SeaWorld of Florida and SeaWorld of California (see curriculum for the SeaWorld Parks in California, Florida, and Texas). The SeaWorld Externship is three weeks with the option of a fourth week. At the discretion of the SeaWorld veterinarians, the extern may choose either to spend that final week in the area or areas of their choice, or to complete an approved short research project. Students participate in animal husbandry practices, clinical rounds, and veterinary diagnostic and surgical procedures. Clinical case exposure will depend on the present case load. Students are encouraged to select the months of January through June for SeaWorld of California, in order to experience the avian breeding and the beached animal seasons, and November through April for SeaWorld of Texas. Any month is acceptable for SeaWorld of Florida.
    Feedback from Alison Righton c/o 2011: Between second and third year, I externed for 10 weeks with Dr. Judy St. Leger in the pathology department of Sea World San Diego. I was able to help participate in necropsies from their rescued and collection animals, however the majority of my time was spent writing two manuscripts for publication (they were just published this March in the Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine). The manuscripts helped me obtain my residency and Dr. St. Leger is key in getting your foot in the door in the Zoo and Wildlife Pathology world. You do get some clinical veterinary experience when things are slow in the pathology department, however it should not be counted on.
    Feedback from Ryan Sadler c/o 2012: I shadowed a couple times during the summer between my 1st and 2nd year. They have really good facilities. They usually only take seniors.
  • Shedd Aquarium (Chicago, IL)
    Internship Website: http://www.sheddaquarium.org/veterinary_perceptorship_program.html
    Available to fourth year veterinary students.
    Contact: Todd Maskel, John G. Shedd Aquarium, Veterinary Preceptorship Program, Volunteer Services, 1200 South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60605
    Application Process: Send a letter of intent, resume or CV, three letters of reference, and the specific available dates during the following academic year to John G. Shedd Aquarium, Veterinary Preceptorship Program, Attn: Todd Maskel, Volunteer Services, 1200 South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago IL, 60605. Applications are due by December first, for the following academic year.
    Duration: 4 to 6 week time commitment. Five days per week, eight hours per day.
    Description: The preceptorship program at the Shedd Aquarium offers exposure to the veterinary management of a large and diverse collection of fishes, marine mammals, amphibians, reptiles, birds, nonmarine mammals and invertebrates. Students work closely with the veterinary staff (includes three veterinarians, a veterinary resident, four veterinary technicians, staff microbiologist and water-quality personnel). Responsibilities are assigned based on each student’s level of interest and aptitude. Students must complete a project, which will be determined in the first week of the preceptorship.
    Requirements: Negative TB test within 60 days prior to arrival, and current tetanus vaccination. Student must provide vaccination history and TB test results on the first day. Health insurance is also required.
    Perks: A full service aquatic sciences library is available to students on-site. Public transportation allows for fairly inexpensive and easy commuting to the aquarium. Parking is available with daily discounted passes or monthly passes. Some students have been able to arrange boarding accommodations with Shedd employees, but this is uncommon. 

  • Vancouver Aquarium (Vancouver, Canada)
    Available to third and fourth year veterinary students.
    Attending Vet: Dr. Martin Haulena DVM, MSc, Dipl. ACZM, Staff Veterinarian
    Contact: Dr. Martin Haulena Dr. Martin Haulena DVM, MSc, Dipl. ACZM, Staff Veterinarian, Vancouver Aquarium, P.O. Box 3232, Vancouver British Columbia, Canada, V6B 3X8, e: Martin.Haulena@vanaqua.org
    Application Process: Resumes/applications for externships are due by March 30, one year prior to the planned externship. Please send resume, letter of interest, and two reference letters to Martin.Haulena@vanaqua.org. Your letter of interest should include what experience you have, what you hope to gain from the placement, how you heard about the placement and your career goals. Students are encouraged to develop and pursue a learning objective that can be carried out at the aquarium over their stay and include those ideas in the letter of intent.
    Duration: 2 to 4 weeks.
    Additional Info: Veterinary externships are offered from April 1st to September 15th of each year. Priority for choosing time slots is according to rank during the selection process. Veterinary externs will work closely with the Vancouver Aquarium’s veterinary staff, which includes a board-certified veterinarian and two veterinary technicians, in the medical management of a large captive display collection that includes marine mammals, terrestrial mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and a large variety of native and tropical fish. The veterinary extern will also assist the veterinary medical staff in providing medical management for approximately 120 live-stranded marine mammals (mostly harbour seals) which are cared for by the Vancouver Aquarium. Externs will assist veterinarians and veterinary staff with monitoring cases, participating in daily rounds, developing treatment options, and diagnostic and surgical procedures as required. They will also be responsible for maintaining complete patient records. Students should be aware that the number of clinical cases requiring hands-on care is low at a public display facility and the majority of time is spent developing health management programs for the collection animals. Students should be prepared to take advantage of unsupervised “down time” to read relevant literature and to pursue learning objectives. Students will be responsible for doing a literature review on a veterinary topic of their choice relevant to the Vancouver Aquarium externship experience. They will present their findings to the husbandry staff during their last week in the form of a noon hour PowerPoint presentation. Each student is required to assist husbandry personnel with their duties. Each student is required to participate in necropsies including record keeping, data entry, sample taking and storage, and cleaning. The student is also invited to assist with ongoing research projects. Laboratory duties include processing blood samples, water quality analysis, and performing routine laboratory analyses. Students will assist the Marine Mammal Rescue program with the rescue, transport and care of stranded marine mammals as required. The student will spend at least one day every week at the rehabilitation facility.