USGS Patuxent Veterinary Hospital

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Wildlife veterinary medicine in a research setting. USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center is the largest wildlife research institution in the US. We have a staff of 150 doing many differenct types of wildlife research. To support this research, we have animal colonies, primarily birds, numbering about 1200 animals. Currently we have 70 endangered whooping cranes, 120 sandhill cranes, 250 American kestrels, 100 screech owls, 150 seaducks of 5 different species, several hundred quail, 60 endangered Shennandoah salamanders and 100 red-backed salamanders. Veterinary students will work with the veterinary staff on the day to day medical needs of these animals and participate in any ongoing research projects.
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center is the largest wildlife research institution in the Department of Interior. We have colonies of whooping cranes, sandhill cranes, kestrels, screech owls, and various diving duck species. Work is 40 hours weekly, usually weekends off. Work centers around colony animals (medicine, clinical pathology, necropsies, limited surgery) and needs of research staff. Housing is available, but needs to be arranged in advance. No compensation or stipend. April through November preferred as there is little research and no breeding activity in winter.
We have a full service veterinary hospital with a clinical pathology laboratory. We run all hematology, serum chemistry and parasite analysis in house. We have a fully equipped surgery area with isoflurane anesthesia, laproscopes from miniature 7 mm diameter to large gastroscope for removing foreign bodies from whooping crane gizzards, orthopedic and soft tissue surgery capabilities, radiology, nubulization therapy, etc.
Patuxent has a library facility with one of the largest collections of books and other materials on avian subjects, including a veterinary section. The research facility is housed on a 12,840 acre National Wildlife Refuge with one of the largest visitor centers in the US Department of Interior highlighting wildlife research work done at the Center.
The hospital staff currently consists of two veterinarians, both with PhD's who in addition to seeing to the daily health needs of the wildlife research animals, conduct their own research programs.
As mentioned above, the institution houses a large library collection of works on various aspects of avian biology or ornithology, including a section of veterinary books and journals. Other journals are available online or through inter-library loan. The National Agriculture Library is 20 minutes away, and the National Library of Medicine about 40 minutes away at the National Institutes of Health
Dr. Olsen has taught veterinary students at Louisiana State University and continues to teach in a class on wildlife diseases at the nearby University of Maryland in College Park. He offers students one-on-one lectures on avian and wildlife disease subjects of interest to the student. Dr. Gibbs works with the US Fish and Wildlife Service on a national wildlife disease monitoring program and discusses this program with the students.
There is a monthly zoonotic disease continuing education meeting and occasional resident rounds at a nearby zoo.
Students are asked to assist with the medical care of patients as their capabilities and skill levels allow and as they are trained to administer medications and treatments. Students will assist in surgery, though our surgical case load is usually not heavy. Students would be encouraged to perform simple surgical procedures such as wound repair, under supervision. Students will have opportunites to perform many avian physical examinations, obtain diagnositc samples such as blood, and to evaluate clinical pathology samples. Students will have the opportunity to perform necropsies. We ask students to prepare a short (30 minute) talk on some aspect of avian medicine to share with our veterinary and animal caretaking staff at the end of their time with us. Time and resources such as Powerpoint are available for this project.
Students will work closely with the veterinarians 8 hours a day, 40 hours per week, possibly some weekend work.
The veterinarians are always available to students. If the student has interests that align with other researchers on staff, such as toxicology or contaminants or rearing and training whooping crane chicks, arrangements are made for students to spend time with these researchers.
Yes, housing is available either in the veterinary hospital intern quarters or in a nearby building on our campus.
USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
12302 Beech Forest Road
Laurel, MD 20708
301-497-5600, 301-497-5603 (Dr. Olsen's office)
golsen [at] usgs [dot] gov
Glenn H. Olsen, DVM, PhD
Posted: 04/03/13