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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
5.) Develop an understanding of emerging and zoonotic diseases as
they relate to zoological medicine, employee safety and environmental
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.