Detroit Zoological Society

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The Detroit Zoological Society offers externship training for veterinary students in the clinical phase of their education. The purpose of our externship program is to provide veterinary students with a unique opportunity to work in a zoological setting with a wide variety of species. Our program is geared toward students interested in pursuing a career in zoo medicine and provides an opportunity to gain experience that will make them more qualified for advanced training programs.
Students will shadow veterinarians and veterinary technicians as we perform our daily duties. A student's individual experience will vary depending on the medical needs of the collection during his/her externship, but most students will experience work with carnivores, hoofstock species, primates, marine mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. They will take part in the discussion of cases and development of treatment plans. They will assist with medical and surgical care, anesthesia, necropsies and other duties as warranted. Students with areas of special interest will be allowed an opportunity to pursue these if possible.
The Detroit Zoological Society has a state-of-the-art veterinary facility, completed in the summer of 2004. We have three veterinarians and three licensed veterinary technicians, and we manage the health care and nutrition of a large and varied collection of animal species. We use the MedARKS computerized medical record keeping program. We also partner with board certified veterinary specialists in a variety of disciplines on a case-by-case basis.
We have an extensive library of textbooks and journals. All of our veterinarians are active on the International Zoo Vets Forum and will allow students to access this database. The student will attend clinical rounds each weekday morning with the veterinary staff.
  • Externs will assist with all clinical activities under the supervision of the veterinarians and veterinary technicians.
  • Students will assist with treatments, feedings, clinical rounds, performing laboratory work and immobilizations/procedures.
  • Students will enter clinical information into the computer regarding some ongoing cases.
  • The extern is responsible for performing most of the necropsy exams during his/her externship.
  • The extern will be required to write necropsy reports.
  • Students will be given tasks related to current cases, including textbook and literature research and development of treatment and anesthesia plans which will be reviewed and discussed with the veterinarian on the case.
  • We require students to complete a project during their externship. The project will be on a topic that is mutually agreed upon by the student and the veterinarians.
Students will work very closely with veterinarians and will have direct access to veterinarians at all times when they are on zoo grounds. This is generally 9 hours per day, 5 days per week. Students may choose to work extra hours on weekends under direct veterinary supervision if desired.
No housing or stipend is available.
Detroit Zoological Society
8450 W. 10 Mile Road
Royal Oak, MI 48067
(248) 541-5717
(248) 398-0939
vets [at] detroitzoo [dot] org
Information not provided
Sarah J. Woodhouse, DVM
Updated: 02/01/12