Zoological Medicine Residency

Program Description

The Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences offers a three-year Residency in Zoological Medicine plus one year as clinical lecturer. The starting date is July 15 of each year. The program is supervised by a Diplomate of the American College of Zoological Medicine (ACZM). Three of the four faculty members involved in the first two years of the program are Diplomates of the ACZM, and one is a Diplomate of the ACVIM. The individual completing this program will have attained a broad clinical base for future involvement in a variety of nondomestic animal practices including zoos, wildlife centers, primate centers, research institutions, universities, or privately owned hospitals.

The first two years of the three-year certificate program are in the Zoological Medicine Service within the University of Florida Veterinary Hospitals (UFVH) and in field activities at a variety of Florida zoological collections including the Lubee Bat Conservancy, Central Florida Zoological Park & Botanical Gardens, St. Augustine Alligator Farm, Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo, and the Orianne Society. Approximately 1200 cases are seen within the UFVH and another 1000 cases are evaluated/treated in the field at zoological facilities. The first and second year residents rotate between two consecutive weeks in the UFVH followed by one week in the field, and one week for research/professional development.  The third year of the residency will be primarily at White Oak Conservation Center, working under their staff veterinarian, a Diplomate of the ACZM. White Oak Conservation Center is located near the Florida/Georgia border and is a private conservation facility that houses a large collection of endangered hoofstock, cheetahs and some birds. The fourth year as a Clinical Lecturer will be at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Florida. This facility includes a diverse collection of animals. These years will also be under the supervision of a Diplomate of the ACZM. Although the fourth year is a compulsory portion of the residency program, the pay will be at a higher level

During the first two years, residents are involved in teaching and training third and fourth year veterinary students, with three to six students rotating through an elective Clerkship in Zoological medicine every two weeks. While a majority of the students will be from the University of Florida, veterinary students also take the clerkship from other veterinary colleges, both in the U.S. and overseas.

The college requires that all Residents receive, in addition to clinical training, some exposure to investigative approaches during their residency. A Residency Research Project is a requirement of all Residents in the Department of SACS, and the awarding of a Resident Certificate is dependent on completion of this project by January of the second year and organization of findings into a scientific paper for submission to a referred journal prior to the end of the second year. Residents are also expected to submit at least one clinical case report to a refereed journal by the end of the first year.

A major aim of this residency program is to graduate veterinarians who are either Diplomates of the ACZM or eligible to take the exam. To attain this goal, it is necessary to complete the publication requirements for the Certification Examination of the ACZM by March of the 3rd year. Assuming this goal is met, the resident will be eligible to sit the exam in September of the 4th year. Time has been allocated for study during portions of the first 3 months at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. There is also excellent opportunity for study during the 3rd year at White Oak Conservation Center.

Career Opportunities for Residents Finishing the Program

Our residents usually are employed as either zoo veterinarians or academicians. The number of positions for zoo veterinarians has increased dramatically within the last decade. This is due, in part, to the requirement that accredited zoos must have either a full-time veterinarian or a contract with a veterinarian. There is also an increasing need for more veterinarians in veterinary schools to teach zoological medicine (primarily avian, reptile and small mammal medicine).

Resident Selection Procedure

Potential applicants are encouraged to contact and/or visit the Zoological Medicine Program, White Oak Conservation Center and Disney’s Animal Kingdom for further information. Residents are recruited from internship programs or private practices. A Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree or equivalent is a prerequisite. Small Animal Medicine faculty and residents evaluate the application pool and final selection of the resident is done via the Veterinary Intern/Resident Matching Program (VIRMP).

Selection will be based on:

  • VIRMP Application
  • Veterinary School Official Transcript from University Registrar
  • Personal Statement
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • 3 – 4 Standardized Letters of Reference from faculty members acquainted with the applicant’s clinical skills during internship or equivalent clinical training.