Residency Program in Zoological Medicine

Residency in Zoological Medicine with rotations at UC Davis, San Diego Zoo, San Diego Wild Animal Park, Sacramento Zoo and SeaWorld

The Zoological Medicine Service does not conduct formal interviews, but encourages applicants to attend an open house.

Open House dates and locations:
Please RSVP to the person listed for each one you wish to attend:

Nov. 2, 2015 – UC Davis/Sacramento Zoo

Ray Wack, DVM

Nov 16, 2015 – UC Davis/Sacramento Zoo

Ray Wack, DVM

Nov. 3, 2015 – San Diego Zoo/Sea World

Dona Vader,  Todd Schmitt

Nov. 17, 2015 – San Diego Zoo/Sea World

Dona Vader,  Todd Schmitt

Nov. 4, 2015 – San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Angie Hoyt

Nov. 18, 2015 – San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Angie Hoyt

Residency in Zoological Medicine with rotations at UC Davis, San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, Sacramento Zoo and SeaWorld San Diego

The Residency in Zoological Medicine is a 3-year program that enables the resident to become a competent zoological medicine veterinarian and provide the necessary requirements to allow the resident to become certified in the American College of Zoological Medicine. This is a multi-site residency with the first year of the program based at UC Davis/Sacramento Zoo, the second year at the San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld San Diego, and the third year at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. This zoological residency offers a unique opportunity to obtain a wide array of experiences in Zoological Medicine because of the extensive species resources available at all of the institutions involved including: (1) Sacramento Zoo, (2) San Diego Zoo, (3) San Diego Zoo Safari Park, (4) SeaWorld San Diego (5) Companion Avian and Exotic Pet Medicine Service at the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (VMTH) (5) California Regional Primate Research Center, (6) California Raptor Rehabilitation Center, (7) California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s  Wildlife Investigations Lab and (8) an active zoological species pathology program within the UC Davis SVM.

San Diego Zoo Global (SDZG) maintains world-class collections of non-domestic species at the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Together, these facilities provide access to over 1000 species and 7000 specimens and a unique collection of hoofed stock, along with many clinicians including diplomats of ACZM to act as mentors. (See faculty list below) Complementing the Zoological Medicine program at SDZG is the Zoological Pathology program with 3 diplomats of the ACVP. SeaWorld San Diego has a large collection of birds, fish and marine mammals, overseen by 4 veterinarians including one ACVP diplomat. The first year of basic training and didactic teaching at UC Davis and the Sacramento Zoo prepares the resident for the rigors of working at the facilities in San Diego.

Resident must obtain a valid California driver’s license, and will be subject to the Employer Pull Notification program for monitoring driving records. Residents are required to obtain a valid California veterinary license.

Objectives of the program: This three year, ACZM approved and compliant, residency program is offered by the University of California, Davis in collaboration with SDZG, The Sacramento Zoo, and SeaWorld San Diego. The residency program emphasizes clinical medicine with exposure to all facets of zoological medicine. The first year of the residency is spent in Northern California at the Sacramento Zoo including rotations at the UC Davis VMTH and northern California zoological facilities. The second year of the residency is spent at the San Diego Zoo (SDZ) with 6 weeks being spent at SeaWorld San Diego. The third year of the residency is spent at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park (SDZSP) with 6 weeks spent at SeaWorld San Diego. During each year, the resident is usually given an opportunity to participate in a field conservation research project.


The need for specific training: The demand for ACZM diplomats remains solid. All of the residents who have completed this program have received job offers and have been highly competitive for positions. While the number of zoos is not increasing, an increasing number of zoos are adding to their veterinary staffs, and a number of positions have been advertised for ACZM trained veterinarians in government agencies, one health initiatives and non-profit conservation organizations.


Clinical Residency Description Year 1

During the first year of the residency program, the veterinarian spends approximately half of the year providing clinical services to the Sacramento Zoo under the supervision of Dr. Ray Wack and Dr. Tara Harrison. While at the Sacramento Zoo, the resident has primary case responsibility and is responsible for implementing the preventative medicine program. Specific objectives are listed below. Half of the year is spend gaining knowledge and skills in VMTH rotations and experiences in other Northern California institutions. Required rotations include: The Marine Mammal Center (4 weeks), Companion Avian Pet Exotics Service (UCD VMTH – 4 weeks), the California Regional Primate Center (2 weeks), Ultrasound Service (UCD VMTH – 2 weeks), Ophthalmology (UCD VMTH – 2 weeks), Dentistry (UCD VMTH – 2 weeks), ACZM short course (1 week). The resident has one day a week reserved for study and research activities. In addition, the resident is involved in zoo journal club (weekly), zoo pathology rounds, avian journal club (biweekly) and radiology rounds (monthly). The resident is involved in teaching veterinary students in the DVM curriculum both in classroom and clinical settings. A major emphasis during the first year of the residency is gaining proficiency in basic zoological medicine concepts and techniques, expanding the resident’s knowledge base through study and preparation of scientific manuscripts.

Clinical Residency Description – Years 2 and 3 at San Diego Zoo

  • While remaining a UCD employee, the resident works primarily at the SDZ during the second year and at the SDZSF during the third year. The resident receives focused training in nutrition through a 4 day rotation once during the 2nd or 3rd year, and focused training in pathology through at least 1 week rotation through that service. During both years, the resident also works at SeaWorld San Diego for a total of 3 months. While at either facility, if major events or procedures occur at one of the other campuses, the resident has the opportunity to participate. Two residents are present in the San Diego part of the program at any one time. This, along with the resident in pathology, provides a critical mass for resident interaction for collaboration and study. Online conferences and video conferencing is available to link the residents in San Diego with faculty and residents at the Davis campus.
  • The resident is expected to work five days each week and cover emergency duty on a rotating basis with backup by an experienced clinician. One day each week (or equivalent) is assigned as an independent study day for research and study time. The resident is also given time to perform, analyze, and publish the required resident research project. In addition, the resident attends the annual AAZV meeting during the second and third year, and presents the results of their research project. The resident has paid vacation, holiday, and sick time, in accordance to university policies.

Year 2 of the residency is spent working at the San Diego Zoo.  The SDZ offers residents the opportunity to work with a very diverse collection of animal species that are not typically found in other zoo collections.  The Zoo houses approximately 2,000 birds, 900 mammals and 1000 reptile/ amphibian specimens covering a wide variety of species.  The San Diego Zoo’s collection offers the resident the opportunity to gain extensive experience in the medical case management of the reptile and amphibian collection.  In addition, residents are involved in the medical care of several highly endangered avian species and gain experience in neonatal care at the avian propagation center where species are incubated, hatched and hand raised through fledging.  Each resident is exposed to a large number of mammal species including large and small carnivores, primates, edentates, koalas and other marsupials, rodents, and hoofstock and megavertebrates in a traditional zoo setting.

Year 3 of the residency is spent at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park which affords them the opportunity to work with a different set of diverse species.  The strength of the Safari Park experience for the resident is their exposure to numerous megavertebrates and semi free ranging hoofstock species.  The Safari Park also houses great apes, lions, tigers, small carnivores, birds and a variety of other zoo species.  The San Diego Zoo Safari Park collection encompasses approximately 1,400 mammal, 1,400 bird and 150 reptile/amphibian specimens. 

While at San Diego Zoo Global, the resident spends approximately 80% of their work week with clinical duties working under the direction and guidance of the veterinary staff at the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The remainder of the work week will be spent with the research project, follow-up investigations, preparing for boards, and other non-clinical activities.  Emergency and holiday duties are required.

Under the supervision of the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park veterinary staffs, the resident participates in all aspects of veterinary care of the animal collections. These activities include routine preventive medicine procedures such as pre-shipment, annual, and quarantine examinations as well as case management of sick and injured animals, flock and herd health management.

SeaWorld San Diego Residency Rotation

Between the second and third years of the residency each resident spends 12 weeks at SeaWorld San Diego. The resident is expected to work four days and have one office day each week, and assist with emergencies during the evening or weekends.

SeaWorld San Diego maintains a diverse collection of marine mammals, birds, reptiles and fishes.  The marine mammal collection comprises 5 species of cetaceans, including killer whales, bottlenose dolphins, Commerson’s dolphins, pilot whales, and beluga whales; 4 species of pinnipeds, including walruses, California sea lions, harbor seals, and fur seals;  2 species of otters, including California sea otters and Asian small-clawed otters;  and polar bears.  The bird collection consists of 7 species of penguins including emperor, king, gentoo, macaroni, adelie, Magellanic, and Humboldt penguins, many species of waterfowl including 2 species of flamingos, psittacines, and raptors.  The aquarium collection is comprised of elasmobranchs (sharks and rays), warm and cold water marine tropical fishes, fresh water fishes, eels, and sea turtles.  SeaWorld has a newly remodeled Animal Care and Wellness Center, complete medical laboratory staffed by five medical laboratory technologists, 2.5 veterinary technicians, and 2 pathology technicians.  The center has a pharmacy, sterile surgery, treatment room with digital wireless radiology, video endoscopy, portable ultrasound, separate quarantine area for intake and dry holding area of rescued marine mammals and birds.  Nutritional, behavioral and medical records are maintained in a robust corporate electronic medical record database.

SeaWorld is an active regional member of the West Coast Region of NOAA’s Marine Mammal Stranding Network and holds a LOA to rescue and rehabilitate pinnipeds and cetaceans found stranded along 74 miles of coast line from San Clemente to the Mexican Border.  On average 150 -200 marine mammals are rescued per year.  SeaWorld also rescues and rehabilitates over 100-200 seabirds per year.  SeaWorld also holds a permit from California Department of Fish and Wildlife as the primary rehabilitation center for sea turtles on the West Coast.  On average 1-2 sea turtles are rescued and rehabilitated per year.   

The resident will have opportunity to spend 1-2 weeks at Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute, a leading aquaculture facility for White Sea bass in San Diego and Carlsbad.  Under the supervision of mentor aquatic animal veterinarians (Drs. Pam Yochem and Connie Silbernagel), the resident with gain experience in aquaculture biosecurity, broodstock examination, and veterinary management of fish within a hatchery setting.

Faculty participating in the program: 17 out of 177 ACZM diplomats!

Year 1 Participating Faculty 
Dr. Ray Wack, Dipl ACZM
Dr. Joanne Paul-Murphy, Dipl ACZM and Dipl. ACAW
Dr. Michelle Hawkins, Dipl. ABVP (Avian Practice)
Dr. David Guzman, Dipl ACZM
Dr. Chris Fiorello, Dipl ACZM
Dr. Kirsten Gilardi, Dipl ACZM
Dr. Dave Jessup, Dipl ACZM
Dr. Lisa Tell, Dipl ACZM
Dr. Linda Lowenstine, DACVP
Dr. Kevin Keel, DACVP

San Diego Zoo Veterinarians: 
Patrick Morris, Dipl ACZM 
Meg Sutherland-Smith, Dipl ACZM 
Dr. Ben Nevitt, Dipl. ACZM
Dr. Deena Brenner, Dipl. ACZM
Dr. Karen Kearns, Dipl ACZM
Dr. Cora Singleton
Dr. Beth Bichense, MPVM

SDZ Safari Park Veterinarians
Dr. Donald Janssen, Dipl ACZM 
Dr. Nadine Lamberski, Dipl ACZM 
Dr. Jack Allen, Dipl ACZM 
Dr. Meredith Clancy
Dr. Jim Oosterhuis 
Dr. Jeff Zuba 

SeaWorld San Diego Veterinarians
Dr. Todd Schmitt 
Dr. Hendrik Nollens PhD
Dr. Claire Erlacher-Reid ACZM
Dr. Judy St. Leger, DACVP

Coursework: The resident is expected to attend and participate in the 10 week Zoological Medicine Block during their first year of the residency. As time permits, the resident is encouraged to participate in statistics training and other didactic training opportunities made available through the VMTH.

Case Log:  Residents are required to keep a case log beginning in 2016. 

Process of evaluation: Resident is evaluated using a standardized evaluation instrument that considers progress being made in all aspects of the residency training program. Evaluations occur at 6 month, 12 months, 24 months and 36 months. Successful completion of each year is required for continuation in the program. All UC Davis VMTH Residency Policies are followed concerning disciplinary actions or termination of the training program.

Certification: The resident must successfully complete all 3 years of the training program, complete a research project and present the project at House Officer Day in order to receive a certificate of completion of the residency program.

State Licensure: The resident must obtain a California veterinary license and USDA accreditation by the start of the second year of the residency.

California Driver’s License: The resident is required to drive university owned vehicles and thus is required to obtain a California driver’s license, and participate in the DMV pull notice program.


  • Graduated from a college or school of veterinary medicine accredited by the AVMA; or possess a certificate issued by the Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates (ECFVG); or are legally qualified to practice veterinary medicine in a state, province, territory, or possession of the United States, Canada, or other country.
  • Have demonstrated unquestionable moral character and professional behavior.

Requirements for foreign applicants: 
In addition to the minimum qualifications above, foreign graduates must also meet the following requirement.

  • Must be eligible for a TN (Mexico and Canada) or J-1 visa with no bars or home country requirement.

Service/Board requirements:

  • At least 1 year of clinical experience, many successful applicants have 2 or more years of experience.
  • Certifications:
    TOEFL - Yes
    NAVLE - No
    PAVE - No
    ECFVG - No
    OTHER - No


Internship / Equivalent Experience Required? No
California Driver's License Required? Yes

Miscellaneous Requirements

  • Applicants must demonstrate a sustained interest in becoming ACZM boarded.
  • Preference may be given to applicants who have demonstrated the ability to publish scientific manuscripts in zoological medicine.
  • Presentation of a prospective research project at the VMTH Annual House Officer Seminar Day and a presentation at the national meeting of the AAZV are mandatory during the residency. Selecting a clinical research project and gaining an understanding of statistics and scientific writing will be undertaken in the first year. Research projects may be completed in San Diego.
  • Due to the multiple sites involved in the residency, the resident must have reliable transportation.
  • The resident will be encouraged to become a member of and participate in the activities of professional organizations dealing with zoological medicine.
  • American Association of Zoo Veterinarians
  • Wildlife Disease Association
  • International Association of Aquatic Animal Medicine
  • Association of Avian Veterinarians
  • Association of Reptile and Amphibian Veterinarians

Learning Objectives for all rotations and institutions

Sacramento Zoo (year one)

  • The resident will become proficient in anesthetic techniques including the use of ultrapotent narcotics and training in safe and accurate use of darts as a delivery system.
  • The resident will become familiar with management and husbandry techniques common in small zoos including the use of crates, nets, squeezes, gloves, roles of keepers, curators and boards of directors.
  • The resident will become skilled in the use of pathology and clinical pathology (CBC's, cytology, clinical chemistry) in diagnosing problems in zoological species including the interpretation of CBC and Chemistry panels when normal reference ranges are lacking.
  • The resident will become proficient in ultrasound techniques and practice these techniques using a portable machine at the Sacramento Zoo.
  • The resident will become proficient in the use of ZIMS as a medical record system.
  • The resident will become familiar with university IACUC responsibilities and research grant writing.
  • The resident will develop and implement a study plan for ACZM boards including a reading list of journals and text books.
  • The resident will become knowledgeable about the structure of the ACZM exam, the credentialing process and the resources available through ACZM.
  • The resident will attend the ACZM board preparation “Short Course” with partial funding available from the VMTH and Sacramento Zoo.
  • The resident will become proficient in the use of resources to augment their knowledge including ISIS Zoo Vet Forum, UC Davis library services, major text book references and networking with colleagues.

Ophthalmology – 2 week rotation

Steve Hollingsworth
David J. Maggs

  • Be able to perform a complete ophthalmology exam.
  • Be comfortable using a magnification slit lamp, Direct ophthalmoscope, indirect ophthalmoscope and panoptic scope
  • Be comfortable using both tono vet and tono pen for determining IOP
  • Be comfortable performing a schirmer tear test
  • Be comfortable performing a subconjunctival injection
  • Know the normal appearance of the lens and retina in a variety of species
  • Know how to diagnose and treat conjunctivitis
  • Know how to diagnose and treat uncomplicated corneal ulcers

Dentistry – 2 week rotation

Frank J.M. Verstraete

  • Become familiar with ultrasonic scaling equipment and procedure
  • Gain experience charting teeth in a variety of species
  • Know how to extract teeth in a variety of species
  • Learn how to take, develop, and interpret dental radiographs
  • Practice nerve blocks appropriate for dental work
  • Understand the pathophysiology of gingivitis and stomatitis
  • Become familiar with oral trauma fixation techniques and post operative medications

Marine Mammal Center – 2 weeks in Fall, 2 weeks in Spring

Shawn Johnson
Cara Field

  • Know the 5 most common diseases of California sea lions, including presenting signs, how to diagnose, treatment options and prognosis


               Domoic Acid intoxication

               Urogenital carcinomas

               Traumatic injuries

               Calicivirus infections

  • Be comfortable in manually restraining and chemically immobilizing of California sea lions.
  • Successfully be able to obtain blood from three venipuncture sites in California sea lions. 
  • Successfully obtain urine from California sea lions (cystocentesis and urinary catheterization). 
  • Know how to conduct a complete marine mammal necropsy.
  • Be familiar with the routine husbandry of California sea lions. 

Ultrasound Service – 2 weeks

Rachel Pollard
Mathieu Spriet

  • The resident will become familiar with ultrasonographic anatomy in domestic species.
  • The resident will understand the common machine settings and how to manipulate settings to obtain diagnostic images.
  • The resident will become proficient in ultrasound guided cystocentesis, aspirations and biopsies.
  • The resident will be able to identify commonly encountered ultrasound artifacts and be able to differentiate these from potential lesions.
  • The resident will be knowledgeable in the variety of probes available and their intended use.
  • The resident will be able to use ultrasound to detect pregnancies and viability of the pregnancy.

As time permits, the resident will gain experience in other imaging techniques such as MRI and CT.

CAPE (Companion and Pet Exotic Medicine) – 4 weeks

Dr. Joanne Paul Murphy
Dr. Michelle Hawkins


  • The primary goal of the rotation is to solidify knowledge of zoological companion animal medicine and surgery.
  • Establish understanding of coordination of services for specialty consultation (ophthalmology, neurology, surgery, etc)
  • Establish understanding of sample submission to multiple laboratory facilities in VMTH, CAHFS, Taqman PCR lab

Learning objectives

The resident will become proficient in evaluating psittacine husbandry.

The resident will become confident in their ability to interpret avian clinical pathology (particularly CBC/biochemistry profile)

The resident will increase their knowledge of avian respiratory diseases, diagnostics and therapeutics.

The resident will become knowledgeable in avian gastrointestinal diseases, diagnostics and therapeutics.

Specific infectious diseases (Clinical signs, dx, tx, pathology) will be discussed

    • Avian mycobacteriosis
    • Aspergillosis
    • PBFD (psittacine circovirus)
    • Avian polyomavirus
    • Psittacid herpesvirus
    • Avian Bornavirus (Proventricular dilatation disease)

Depending on caseload, the resident will gain knowledge and experience in the common husbandry/management and clinical conditions of reptiles, rabbits and rodents        

  • Reptile and small mammal clinical pathology (particularly CBC/biochemistry profile)
  • Gastrointestinal conditions of rabbits and rodents
  • Including dental diseases

  • Treatment of diarrhea

  • Neurological diseases of rabbits
  • Neoplastic diseases of ferrets, rabbits and rodents
  • Respiratory diseases of rabbits and rodents (Mycoplasma, Pasteurellosis, etc)

Clinical Skills to be mastered during the CAPE rotation

  • Psittacine handling
  • Avian sampling techniques
  • Venipuncture
  • Microbiology (cultures, flushes, Gram stains)
  • Clinical pathology (cytology)
  • Imaging techniques (birds, reptiles, small mammals)
  • Radiology
  • Ultrasound techniques and interpretation
  • Advanced imaging – MRI & CT
  • Avian emergency techniques
  • IO catheters
  • Air sac cannulation
  • IV catheterization
  • Birds, reptiles, small mammals
  • Endoscopic techniques
  • Avian coelioscopy
  • Reptile endoscopy
  • Rabbit and rodent dentistry techniques
  • Avian fracture repair (dependent upon cases)

Expectations of Resident While on CAPE Service:

The Zoo Med resident’s primary responsibility during the CAPE rotation is to learn from the CAPE faculty, residents, staff and students.  Normal Zoo Med resident activities should occur only after consultation with the CAPE faculty and in a manner that does not impact their CAPE experience.  No study days will occur while on the CAPE rotation.

  • Attend all AM and PM treatment times Monday-Friday (Plan on 7 am – 7 pm but be flexible)
  • Attend all resident rounds Monday-Friday 8-9 am.  The Zoo Med Resident is expected to be prepared for the rounds and fully participate at the level of CAPE residents.
  • Attend all student rounds Monday-Friday 9-10 am. The Zoo Med Resident is expected to be prepared for the rounds and fully participate at the level of CAPE residents.
  • Attend CAPE journal club weekly Tuesday AM 7:45-9 am
  • Attend zoo pathology rounds bi-weekly Thursdays 8-9 am
  • Provide emergency on-call (with a CAPE resident)
  • This includes attending all treatment times on scheduled emergency weekends
  • If at all possible, the Zoo Med resident should not be scheduled to lead the Zoo journal club during the CAPE rotation.
  • The Zoo resident will attend zoo medicine journal club (Thurs 3:30 – 4:30) unless the clinical case load at CAPE requires their services.
  • In rare circumstances, the Zoo Med resident can be on call simultaneously for Zoo emergencies and CAPE emergencies on Sat/Sun during the CAPE rotation with prior approval of both service chiefs.  If a situation comes up where there is a CAPE emergency at the same time as a Zoo emergency, the Zoo Med resident will call the zoo med clinician to handle the Zoo emergency.
  • The Zoo Med Resident should make sure that they have the resident handbook including the CAPE specific material and review this prior to the start of the rotation.  Particular attention should be paid to the medical record section as the organization and level of detail expected in the record is significantly different from what is expected at the Sac Zoo.
  • Primary case responsibility will be at the discretion of the CAPE faculty.  Initially the Zoo Med Resident will shadow CAPE residents and initial primary case responsibility will likely be wildlife cases.  Primary case responsibility should be discussed with the CAPE faculty who will consider the caseload and Zoo Med Resident’s performance in determining primary case responsibility.
  • When shadowing CAPE residents on cases, the Zoo Med resident is expected to be fully engaged in cases, assisting with case logistics and patient records, including developing differential diagnosis and therapeutic plans.
  • It is critically important that any concerns are discussed with the CAPE faculty immediately.  The CAPE faculty will provide feedback early in the rotation.
  • Evaluation of the rotation will be completed by both the Zoo Med Resident as well as the CAPE faculty.

Primate Center Rotation – 2 weeks

Dr. Kari Christe

Jenny Gunter

Learning objectives:

  • The resident will become proficient in biosecurity and PPE protocols which safeguard employee and animal health.
  • The resident will become experienced in the anesthetic management of rhesus macaques.
  • The resident will gain experience in routine medical care of rhesus macaques including restraint, phlebotomy, radiology, ultrasound and minor surgery.
  • The resident will gain knowledge and experience in treating gastrointestinal diseases in captive macaques.
  • The resident will gain knowledge of laws and regulations affecting primate centers and efforts to ensure animal welfare standards are met.

San Diego Zoo Global (Years 2 & 3)

    • The resident is expected to become proficient in case management in a diverse array of species and be able to communicate animal issues effectively to all levels of animal care management. Because of the nature of zoological parks, it is essential that the resident be service oriented to the needs of the animal collection and its curators and managers.

    • The resident consults and works with board certified specialists from both human and veterinary specialty hospitals (eg. internists, cardiologists, radiologists, surgeons, etc.).

    • The resident works with staff nutritionist to learn about diet formulations, forage analyses and forage management.

    • Comparative anatomical pathology and lesion recognition is gained through rotation in pathology (at least 1 week rotation)

    • The resident becomes competent in the management of emergency and after-hours ICU care.

  • The resident performs epidemiological investigations of disease occurrences as needed by working closely with and using resources from the pathology and animal care departments.
    • The resident participates in daily and weekly case discussions and aids in the preparation of monthly morbidity and mortality meetings with animal care staffs.

    • The resident actively participates in the Zoological Medicine Journal Club via telecommunications between San Diego and UC Davis.

    • The resident is responsible for selecting a research project with input from the veterinary staffs. This project will be completed in time for inclusion in the AAZV annual meeting during the resident’s third year.

Anticipated Techniques and Competencies gained during years 2 & 3:

  • Anesthesia and monitoring of a variety zoo animal species

  • Intubation of a variety of zoo animal species

  • Venipuncture techniques in a variety of zoo animal species

  • Radiographic interpretation in variety of zoo animal species

  • Therapeutic strategies in challenging and/or non-compliant species

  • Anatomical variations in a variety of zoo animal species

  • Diagnostic sampling

  • General husbandry techniques in a variety of zoo animal species including housing strategies, hoof trims, etc.

  • Remote delivery of therapeutic and/or anesthetic agents (short-distance SDZ, long-distance SP)

  • Fluid therapy strategy and techniques including catheterization

  • External and internal parasite control

  • Organization and execution of complicated medical procedures involving multiple staff

  • Leadership skills including soliciting information from support staff, listening, written and verbal communication abilities, and personnel management

  • General surgery

  • Endoscopy/Laparoscopy

  • Advanced imaging

  • Ultrasound

  • Application of principles of intensive/emergency care in domestic species to a variety of zoo animal species


    SeaWorld San Diego – 12 Weeks (between second and third years)

Learning Objectives:

  • The resident will gain experience in diagnostic methods, surgery, clinical pathology, and necropsy of aquatic species.

  •  The resident will be exposed to methods of environmental testing and anesthesia of fish, elasmobranchs, marine birds, and marine mammals.

  • The resident will be learn about quarantine and preventative medicine programs for aquatic animals.

Responsibilities and Activities of the resident while at SeaWorld:

  • Under the supervision of the veterinary staff, the resident will participate in all aspects of veterinary care of collection and rescued animals.  These activities include weekly rounds discussion with mammal, avian, and fish curators, preventative medicine procedures (preshipment exams and vaccination protocols), quarantine examinations, fish necropsy, management of collection and rescued animal cases, and herd/flock health management.  

  • Under the supervision of veterinary staff and animal care staff, the resident will have responsibility for attending to emergency or after-hours medical care or management of medical/surgical cases and rescued animals.

  • The resident will have opportunity to participate with necropsy examination and epidemiological investigation of disease under direction of veterinary and pathology staff.

  • The resident will have opportunity to spend 1-2 weeks at Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute, a leading aquaculture facility in San Diego and Carlsbad.  Under the supervision of mentor aquatic animal veterinarians (Drs. Pam Yochem and Connie Silbernagel), the resident with gain experience in aquaculture biosecurity, broodstock examination, and veterinary management of fish within a hatchery setting.

  • The resident will present a short seminar to staff on research project or clinical case presentation.  Residents will also aid instruction with intern veterinarians and veterinary student externs.

  • The resident will participate in weekly corporate veterinary conference call discussion for SeaWorld Parks (Orlando, San Antonio, San Diego) and Busch Gardens (Tampa) to discuss pertinent cases, clinical investigations, and best practices.

  • The resident will participate in the weekly UCD Journal Club via media connection.

  • The resident will have the opportunity to rotate thru SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Reproductive Center located adjacent to SeaWorld and learn techniques of gamete cryopreservation, artificial insemination of avian and cetacean patients, sperm sorting, and hormone monitoring