Arizona Exotic Animal Hospital

Number of students reviewing: 
Average student review (out of five): 


Externship in Exotic Animal Veterinary Medicine
Externs are typically 3rd or 4th year veterinary students that have a strong interest in the care of nontraditional pets. Externs are expected to spend a 4-6 week rotation at the hospital but exceptions may be made for shorter or longer stays. Externs are ancillary positions to the hospital’s veterinarians, technicians, and customer service staff. The externs will assist the doctor and technicians with a patient during the taking of a medical history, examination, diagnosis, and treatment phases. The externs will help maintain the veterinary facilities, equipment, veterinary records, and supplies. They also assist in the care of boarding animals. The externs are expected to participate fully in all aspects of patient care under the supervision of the hospital staff. The hospital is open 7 days a week with some evening hours. Externs are expected to work 45+ hrs/week. Externs that stay for under 4 weeks are expected to work 6 days/week. Externs that stay 4 weeks and longer are expected to work 5 days/week. The extern may be terminated at any time, with or without cause, and without notice by the practice owners.

Associate Veterinarians and special expertise available

Dr. Wright is a Diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (Reptile and Amphibian Practice) and has 22 years of experience in exotic pet medicine.
Dr. Jay Johnson has 15 years of experience in exotic pet medicine.
Additional, there are certified technicians on staff.
Extensive collection of books, journals, and pdf reprints.
Internet access
• Currently enrolled in veterinary school as a junior or senior with prior experience in a clinical setting
• AVMA PLIT Insurance for externs

• Preference given to students with demonstrable experience in the fields of exotic animal husbandry, medical care, or natural history.

• Minimum of 18 years old.
• Genuinely enjoys working with animals and is able to deal with them even when they are stressed, ill or in pain.
• Can stay calm and efficient during a medical crisis.
• Methodical and detail-oriented. Good administrative and organizational skills.
• Not offended by coarse language (e.g., curse words, scatological references, ribald humor).
• Is well-spoken and approaches his/her job duties in a mature good-humored manner.
• Is experienced in the teamwork approach and works well with all levels of hospital team members.
• Excellent client communication skills.
• Physical Effort and Medical Standards: Work requires lifting and carrying animals and equipment up to forty (40) pounds (will be assisted by other staff members in lifting items over 40 pounds). Walks or stands for extended periods of time; frequently works in a bent position. No impairment of sight, smell, hearing, touch, balance and agility of movement which might interfere with ability to work. No allergies to plants or animals which might interfere with ability to work. No immunocompetence issues which might interfere with ability to work.
• Working Conditions: May be exposed to: unpleasant odors; loud harsh noises; zoonotic and other contagious diseases; animal feces; animal urine and other bodily fluids; animal dander; potentially dangerous and unpredictable animal species; dust; potentially dangerous chemicals (including but not limited to acid fast stain, Gram stain, cytology stains, polyvinyl alcohol, ammonia, chlorine bleach, quaternary ammonium compounds, Cidex and related gluteraldehyde products, and 10% buffered formalin); potentially dangerous drugs (including, but not limited to, opioids, chloramphenicol, and occasional waste gas such as isoflurane and sevoflurane); radiology equipment (produces x-ray radiation); potentially dangerous machinery; etc. Frequent use of protective clothing (i.e. goggles, masks, gloves, gowns) is required.


Externs will receive credit only if their school has approved the program. The extern is responsible for coordinating any paperwork that must be completed for the school’s requirements. No wages are paid to externs and no housing is provided. The extern is an “at will” position and may be terminated without notice by the practice owners with or without cause.


1. Quality compassionate care and service to patients, clients, and coworkers with prompt resolution of problems, concerns, and conflicts.
2. Conduct oneself in a confident and professional manner even when stressed and/or focused on individual tasks.
3. Provide direct assistance to veterinary staff as requested during the performance of all veterinary procedures. Can assist the veterinarian in medical, surgical, and dental procedures; prepares patients for surgery; administers anesthesia; monitors patients during surgery and recovery; administers fluids and other medications ordered by doctor.
4. Assists with initial patient assessment: a) Obtain appropriate histories on incoming patients; b) Obtain and record vitals on incoming patients (e.g., weight, temperature where appropriate, pulse, respiration); c) Triage emergency patients and assess if a doctor is needed immediately or if the patient is stable and able to wait; d) Can perform emergency procedures such as control of bleeding, opening airways, and resuscitation procedures.
5. Maintain SOAPs on all patients as part of externship documentation.
6. Legibly keep accurate medical records in accordance with hospital policy.
7. Obtain appropriate diagnostic samples and perform clinical pathology procedures as directed by doctor including but not limited to hematology and serum/plasma chemistries (e.g., manual WBC counts, leukocyte differentials, PCV & TS, dry chemistry analyzer, I-stat, etc.), microbiology (e.g., plating cultures, DTM, etc.), parasitology (e.g., direct, float, acid-fast, Gram stain, skin scrape, etc.), urinalysis, and cytology. Maintains files of lab test results and ensures that rests results are recorded accurately in patient records.
8. Can effectively restrain pets without inflicting injuries.
9. Administers treatments to out-patients and hospitalized patients as directed including SQ, IM, IV, and PO medications, catheter placement, IV pumps, etc..
10. Perform certain fee-based procedures under doctor’s direction (e.g., nail trims, beak trims, wing trims, subcutaneous fluids, injections, etc.)
11. Monitors anesthetized animals during procedures, operates anesthesia and monitoring equipment.
12. Feeds, cleans and provides supportive care and record keeping for hospitalized animals as necessary. Knows common disease states and can alert veterinarians when signs change or when concerns arise about hospitalized patients.
13. Understands the importance of a clean, sanitary, and orderly facility and does not hesitate to clean or organize as part of a normal work day. Specifically responsible for maintenance of exam rooms, treatment areas, and boarding or patient wards. Identifies maintenance needs of equipment and facilities.
14. Create a comfortable atmosphere for the client to learn about the proper care of their pets. Educate the client by advocating proper husbandry, training, diagnostics, and treatments, and answering their questions. Direct client to veterinarian where appropriate. Can explain necessary follow-up and home care for patients. Where appropriate, encourage client to purchase dry goods (e.g., books, ultraviolet bulbs, diets, etc.).
15. Can discharge patients based on the veterinarian’s orders, ensuring that patients are well groomed and in a medically appropriate state.
16. Understands usage, dosage, and common side-effects for commonly used prescription drugs and can readily explain them to the clients.
17. Can effectively position for and take diagnostic radiographs, develop films, and maintain radiographic files. Can prepare a patient and the machine for an ultrasound procedure.
18. Periodically review website and other educational materials for relevance and accuracy of information presented. Develop new materials based on client wants and needs.
19. Records and relays messages to department personnel.
20. Other duties as assigned.

1. Complete any paperwork required by the school.
2. Create two care sheets ( 500 words or less) on subjects approved by Dr. Wright that are suitable for publishing on the hospital’s website.
3. Maintain a positive and productive working relationship with all hospital staff.
4. Leave knowig more about exotic pets than when you arrived!

Dr. Kevin Wright is direct supervisor. Student will have 40 to 50 hrs a week with direct and free access to both veterinarians with approximately 2/3 of the time spent with Dr. Wright and 1/3 with Dr. Johnson. This ratio may vary based on the doctors' schedules.

The Veterinary Technician Manager and Customer Service Manager also serve as supervisors since this externs.
No student housing is available at this time. We can recommend some homestay opportunities and local extended stay hotels.

Arizona Exotic Animal Hospital
744 N Center Street
Mesa, AZ 85201
Ph: 480-275-701
Fax: 480-284-504
Email: kwright [at] azeah [dot] com


Update: 12/01/10

Signature on file: Kevin Wright DVM, Diplomate ABVP (Reptile and Amphibian Practice)