Brookfield Zoo

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Clinical Rotation in Zoological Medicine
This rotation is offered through the Chicago Zoological Society’s Brookfield Zoo, located 13 miles outside downtown Chicago. It is designed to give students exposure to and hands-on experience in the field of zoological medicine. Students spend 6-8 weeks (4 weeks minimum) actively involved with evaluating and treating numerous species not limited to: megavertebrates, large carnivores, non-human primates, cetaceans, herptiles, birds, fish and small mammals. This rotation provides opportunity to integrate many aspects of veterinary medicine including clinical medicine, anesthesia, pathology, surgery, immunology, virology, parasitology, toxicology and public health. Goals of the rotation include: 1) develop the ability to recognize normal biological features and disease conditions for a wide variety of species, 2) appreciate comparative anatomy, physiology, and behavior, and 3) be able to obtain a useful history, perform a physical examination and interpret clinical data related to these procedures.
Two clinicians are boarded diplomates in the American College of Zoological Medicine, one of which is full time faculty at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine (stationed at the zoo), a 3rd clinican with 15 years zoo experience, ACZM approved residency training program, hospital staff of 14+, including 5 veterinary technicians, hospital manager. lab and environmental qualtiy lab, large animal care staff and over 3,500 animals.

Veterinary library in our centralized hospital conference room, additional zoo library on grounds, internet access, computerized medical records, journal club for literature review every other week in conjunction with Shedd Aquarium and the University of Illinois, Graduate course in Advance Topics every other week on alternate weeks of journal club, both courses offered in the Spring and Fall semesters.

Students spend a minimum of four weeks working at the Brookfield Zoo and are expected to work six days a week. There are 1-3 students on each rotation as well as a resident/intern at the zoo. Each student is expected to cover one day of weekend duty per week. In addition, students are expected to be available for emergencies after hours. Work days start between 7-8 am and usually end by 7 pm but may be longer depending on case load.

During the rotation, students are expected to write medical records for all patients they are involved with including animals that receive physical or visual exams. Students are also expected to write updates for cases, including interpretation of diagnostic test results.

Most students will be required to complete a project during their rotation which includes a PowerPoint presentation to zoo and hospital staff about their work. Projects will be developed with the help of the supervising clinical veterinarian. Presentations are scheduled during the few days of a student’s rotation.

Students will also be expected to present and participate in case rounds as well as zoo med classes that take place during their zoo rotation. Students should come prepared to participate in topic discussion and literature review. Check with the clinician on-duty about reading assignments for these classes once you arrive.

Students assist with: clinical case management, preventive medicine programs, anesthesia, surgery, clinical and gross pathology (necropsies), record keeping, radiology, preparation of equipment for procedures and maintenance of cleanliness of the hospital. Students are expected to help clean up after procedures and themselves. Students are also expected to help with the husbandry, nutrition and environmental enrichment of hospitalized cases as directed by hospital staff.

Students receive direction from the veterinarians, technicians, keepers as well as zoo staff. Students are asked to research relevant topics as they relate clinical cases, zoological medicine and zoo management. This may involve reviewing medical records and performing library/computer literature searches.

Students must have a negative intradermal tuberculosis skin test within six months of starting their rotation at the zoo. Please bring documentation of your TB test the first day of the rotation. In the event that students have been vaccinated for TB, a normal chest radiograph within the last 12 months is acceptable. It is also recommended that students have current tetanus, rabies and measles vaccines.

Students, as with other client information, are expected to keep Brookfield Zoo patient case details confidential. Any breach of confidentiality will result in the student being dropped from the rotation without a passing grade.

Rotations start at 8 am on the first Monday of the block and will end on the last Saturday of the block. At the start of the rotation, students receive an orientation and hospital tour.

While working at Brookfield Zoo, students will be expected to dress and behave in a professional manner (please see attached BFZ dress code policy). Students should bring coveralls, surgical scrubs and rubber boots for necropsies. Although, the zoo has a broad selection of veterinary textbooks and journals students may find it helpful to bring text books and class notes (large, small and exotics animal medicine all equally important) as references to look up information regarding medical cases.

Photography behind the scenes at the zoo, the veterinary hospital, and clinical cases is not permitted without prior approval from a veterinarian on-duty and is done on a case by case basis.

Students are not permitted to bring visitors behind the scenes at the Brookfield Zoo without specific approval from a veterinarian on-duty. Guests interested in visiting are welcome to purchase tickets to visit the zoo and will need to pay for parking to enter the park.

Students will be engaged in discussions and participate in meetings with zoo staff regarding numerous issues. It is very important to communicate in a professional and courteous manner at all times. It is also important to be sensitive to the staff’s relationship with the animals they care for.

Rotation Goals for Students

1.) Develop an appreciation of the diversity of basic zoological taxa and the ability to recognize the normal biological features and disease conditions for a wide variety of species. Students should acquire the ability to identify and relate proper husbandry techniques for these zoological species.

2.) Gain an appreciation for the comparative aspects of anatomy and behavior of zoological species with a focus directed at principles of restraint and physical examination. Convey principles of humane treatment of animals as well as public and animal safety during handling procedures.

3.) Be able to obtain a useful history and perform a physical examination with zoological species and develop the ability to understand and interpret the clinical data obtained from these procedures.

4.) Recognize the concepts of population and preventive medicine as they relate to zoological medicine. Be aware of the importance of genetic diversity and recognize the key principles of population management.

5.) Develop an understanding of emerging and zoonotic diseases as they relate to zoological medicine, employee safety and environmental health.
Students work side by side planning, carrying out, and reviewing veterinary cases daily. Procedures are scheduled but workload also includes emergency and acute cases. Veterinary students spend on average 6+ hours in direct contact or with access to 1-4 zoo veterinarians daily.
Assist with trying to find appropriate student housing with zoo staff. Although, student housing is not readily available, we will make an effort to help students find housing on an as-needed basis. Barbara Matuch (Barbara [dot] matuch [at] czs [dot] org) or Joanna Ammer (Joanna [dot] ammer [at] czs [dot] org) to inquire about housing as soon as possible.
Chicago Zoological Society's Brookfield Zoo
3300 Golf Road
Brookfield IL 60513
Barbara [dot] Matuch [at] czs [dot] org
Dr. Jennifer Langan, Dipl ACZM
Updated: 02/28/12