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Can anyone list some US vet schools that offer a moderate to strong exotic animal program?

Thank you in advance!
 

Lab Vet

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NC State has an excellent program in zoological/exotics, and particularly in aquatic animal medicine. The vet school has very strong faculty in this sector, and students have the option of declaring a 'focus area' (specialization) within zoological medicine to tailor their curriculum (additional classes and experiences in this area). NCSU has partnerships with the NC Zoo, Sylvan Heights Bird Park, the Center for Marine Science and Technology, the NC Aquarium system, and a host of other facilities. All students take classes relating to exotics as a part of the core curriculum (examination skills for exotic animals, exotic animal medicine), and students have the option of gaining additional experience via EAMS, NCSU's exotic animal medicine service.
 

pinkpuppy9

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Illinois has an elective stream and the Wildlife Medical Clinic (a great opportunity for tons of hands-on experience). UF is my personal favorite for exotics.

Edit for more detail: Illinois has a zoo med elective stream and the Wildlife Medical Clinic (a great opportunity for tons of hands-on experience). They also have a dedicated zoological/exotic pet medicine team and work with zoos around here. UF is my personal favorite for exotics. They have a zoo team and a wildlife clinic as well. Also one of few (if not the only) schools that offers an aquatic animal program that DVM students can get a certificate in. They also partner up with the big names down there-Disney, White Oak, and a few other places. They have a beautiful, state of the art teaching hospital as well.
 
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dyachei

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UTK has an excellent program and associates with many groups including the American Eagle Foundation (bald eagles), Appalachian Bear rescue, Tiger Haven, the Knoville Zoo, and others. There are optional electives in zoo med, optional rotations in zoo med, and they host an exotics convention every other year (Mizzou has the off year). The faculty there are well known (wrote chapters in various books including Mader's reptile medicine) and are available as advisors for those interested.
 

Doktor Timo

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I'll second the UTK recommendation, especially if you're interested in big cats. Being the primary vet med provider for Tiger Haven and the Knoxville Zoo means there are big cats in the clinic on a weekly basis.
 
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dyachei

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I'll second the UTK recommendation, especially if you're interested in big cats. Being the primary vet med provider for Tiger Haven and the Knoxville Zoo means there are big cats in the clinic on a weekly basis.
there was usually a bald eagle, too, at least when I was there. Plus we have a wide range of clinicians. 2 zoo vets (that see other cases), 1 avian focused vet, that also sees small mammals, and 1 small mammal vet that also enjoys seeing birds, etc. Not to mention the residents.
 

jmo1012

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one of my zoo focused internmates went to vmcvm and talks frequently about how there were no exotics/zoo opportunities directly at the school. she got all her experience through carefully planned externships. supposedly the teaching hospital actively declines seeing pocket pets.
 

pinkpuppy9

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one of my zoo focused internmates went to vmcvm and talks frequently about how there were no exotics/zoo opportunities directly at the school. she got all her experience through carefully planned externships. supposedly the teaching hospital actively declines seeing pocket pets.
Really?! Can anyone verify that? I just find it hard to believe that no one feels comfortable seeing the little guys (if that's the case, at least).
 

jmo1012

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Really?! Can anyone verify that? I just find it hard to believe that no one feels comfortable seeing the little guys (if that's the case, at least).
well she confirms it (i say supposedly since i didnt go to school there, but she has no reason to lie or bend the truth). she said their reasoning is that no one is interested in seeing them and they dont have a specialist on staff. they are not interested in acquiring a specialist because the case load wouldnt be enough to support one (definitely believe this, blacksburg is a wonderful place, but it is very much in the middle of rural southwest virginia). there also isnt much of an emergency department at the school, so it's not like that department could even handle that sort of load.
 

pinkpuppy9

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well she confirms it (i say supposedly since i didnt go to school there, but she has no reason to lie or bend the truth). she said their reasoning is that no one is interested in seeing them and they dont have a specialist on staff. they are not interested in acquiring a specialist because the case load wouldnt be enough to support one (definitely believe this, blacksburg is a wonderful place, but it is very much in the middle of rural southwest virginia). there also isnt much of an emergency department at the school, so it's not like that department could even handle that sort of load.
That sucks...usually teaching hospitals have all of the good equipment that can be pretty important to diagnosing pocket pet/exotic pet problems
 

LetItSnow

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Really?! Can anyone verify that? I just find it hard to believe that no one feels comfortable seeing the little guys (if that's the case, at least).
UMN VMC does not see exotics, either. Cats and dogs only. Exceptions: pot belly pigs show up through LA hospital sometimes. LA hospital sees all the usuals plus camels and other weird things. And zoo critters occasionally show up in the hospital (one of my anesthesia rotation mates got to go help anesthetize a tiger).

But as far as companion animals through the SA hospital .... nothing but cats and dogs.
 

pinkpuppy9

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UMN VMC does not see exotics, either. Cats and dogs only. Exceptions: pot belly pigs show up through LA hospital sometimes. LA hospital sees all the usuals plus camels and other weird things. And zoo critters occasionally show up in the hospital (one of my anesthesia rotation mates got to go help anesthetize a tiger).

But as far as companion animals through the SA hospital .... nothing but cats and dogs.
Is it for the same reasons as VMRCVM in that just...no one wants to see them? I almost feel like that's counter intuitive for a teaching hospital, but I guess you need a willing DVM to oversee those cases
 

orca2011

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one of my zoo focused internmates went to vmcvm and talks frequently about how there were no exotics/zoo opportunities directly at the school. she got all her experience through carefully planned externships. supposedly the teaching hospital actively declines seeing pocket pets.
Our one exotics clinician graduated from there and she said the same thing. I forget exactly how long ago that was for her though. She's Avian boarded now and is working on her Mammals Boards.

As for Penn, I think ours is decent. Our exotics department is currently is usually booked pretty far in advance and you get a good mixture of birds, reptiles and mammals. Occasionally you'll get the random other animal, like fish or some zoo thing. A lot of people end up doing externships at the Philly Zoo, Tri State (bird rehab and research) and various other places. We also alternate hosting a Special Species symposium (what we call exotics) with Cornell. We'll be having it this year. Oh and we (well one veterinarian ) help run Aquavet.
 

jesskb

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Kstate has Dr. James Carpenter - he's pretty famous in the exotics world. I wasn't too interested in exotics so maybe another KStater can tell you about the program specifics but it's worth looking into...
 
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pinkpuppy9

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Is it hard to get a spot in zoo/exotics rotations? It seems like everyone I run into wants to do zoo. I intend to apply to externships as well, which will make a difference, but I'm not sure how many I am allowed to do or if I'd even get them.
 

orca2011

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Is it hard to get a spot in zoo/exotics rotations? It seems like everyone I run into wants to do zoo. I intend to apply to externships as well, which will make a difference, but I'm not sure how many I am allowed to do or if I'd even get them.
I tried to get a zoo one and I probably could have but I didn't know who to ask for my 3 LORs at the time, so I missed out on openings. Plenty of my classmates have had no issues getting externships at zoos, whether it was Philly or elsewhere ( I was looking at going back to The Maryland Zoo where I interned in college). The other zoo I tried told me there were redoing their hospital and that they basically only take Florida students anyway. Womp. Getting into exotics here isn't too difficult. It's an elective so it's only whoever wants to take it. I'm taking it twice.
 

epivetlove

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Texas A&M has a decent exotics program, I think. We have a very active Zoo, Wildlife, and Exotics Club and there's several big AZA-accredited zoos within hours of College Station that have worked with the Zoo Med Service. Being Texas, where there is little restriction on what can be owned, Zoo Med sees just about everything. The only things we don't see are foxes, raccoons, skunks, bats, Old World primates, or venomous snakes. We have two clinicians, one boarded in Avian and the other is triple boarded (ABVP Avian, Reptile & Ampbian, DACZM), plus 1 resident and 1 intern. There are also a good deal of electives for exotics in 3rd year, as well as alternative track in 4th year for exotics/wildlife/marine/zoo. Lastly, on campus there are two exotics/wildlife facilities-- The Schubot Exotic Bird Health Center and the Wildlife Center.
 

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I'm not personally interested in exotics/zoo animals but I hear that we have a decent program for it. We were actually exclusively zoo for our "zoo" rotation up until recently when we added an exotics and wildlife component. We have some faculty that are very well-known in the zoo world which is pretty handy. A zoo medicine rotation is required during third year -- which is where I'm at right now! :) Got to help with an eland, helped with a cheetah a couple times, an elk, a goat, met a cavy, met a skunk, and a goat just to give you an idea. That's just over the last two days.
 

lailanni

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WSU has a lot of raptors. There aren't really any zoo opportunities, but occasionally "rare" animals and wildlife will come in - wallaby, beaver, wolf, alligator, etc. Dr. Finch is great, I really enjoyed her teaching style. If you're interested she'll teach you a lot and give you good opportunities to participate and be hands on. However, just by nature of WSU being in the podunk middle of nowhere, those opportunities may be limited compared to other areas. (Again, unless you like raptors. Lots of those.)

My friend did a month long externship at the San Diego zoo which she enjoyed. She sought it out on her own though and it was on her vacation time.

There is a poultry rotation and a fish/aquaculture rotation.

I was personally disappointed because when I went through there were ~3 electives for learning exotics. One on reptiles and one on mammals. I believe there was a bird one too. Obviously not enough to really get your teeth into exotics medicine.

Also (in my time) they capped the number of exotics rotations you could do. So it was ~3 weeks max during fourth year. I would have like to spend a LOT more time there but the system forced me into rotations I could care less about. Not happy about that.

Also you're required to take a 1 month preceptorship from a list of pre-selected clinics. NONE of the clinics (in my time) did exotics. Zero. So I was stuck at a SA clinic looking at ear infections and diarrhea for a month instead of learning about what I was interested in... [exotic companion mammals]

There was an option for students to work in the exotics ward, but I didn't have the time (had a different PT job) or the background in birds or reptiles to be useful there.

Two of my classmates have gone onto zoo-ish things, but they had extensive background in zoo/wildlife before vet school and furthered those connections while they were in school (on their summers, during vacation, etc) They both also took several LA classes which applies to many zoo species, so that was a help for them. The LA classes weren't anything I was interested in.

So long story short: while I enjoyed the exotics staff, I always felt like exotics was never given a proper place in the curriculum and the system basically shafted people who had an exotics interest or curiosity. One would want to seek off campus opportunities and it would be helpful if you had some connections in place before you got to school.
 
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pinkpuppy9

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WSU has a lot of raptors. There aren't really any zoo opportunities, but occasionally "rare" animals and wildlife will come in - wallaby, beaver, wolf, alligator, etc. Dr. Finch is great, I really enjoyed her teaching style. If you're interested she'll teach you a lot and give you good opportunities to participate and be hands on. However, just by nature of WSU being in the podunk middle of nowhere, those opportunities may be limited compared to other areas. (Again, unless you like raptors. Lots of those.)

My friend did a month long externship at the San Diego zoo which she enjoyed. She sought it out on her own though and it was on her vacation time.

There is a poultry rotation and a fish/aquaculture rotation.

I was personally disappointed because when I went through there were ~3 electives for learning exotics. One on reptiles and one on mammals. I believe there was a bird one too. Obviously not enough to really get your teeth into exotics medicine.

Also (in my time) they capped the number of exotics rotations you could do. So it was ~3 weeks max during fourth year. I would have like to spend a LOT more time there but the system forced me into rotations I could care less about. Not happy about that.

Also you're required to take a 1 month preceptorship from a list of pre-selected clinics. NONE of the clinics (in my time) did exotics. Zero. So I was stuck at a SA clinic looking at ear infections and diarrhea for a month instead of learning about what I was interested in... [exotic companion mammals]

There was an option for students to work in the exotics ward, but I didn't have the time (had a different PT job) or the background in birds or reptiles to be useful there.

Two of my classmates have gone onto zoo-ish things, but they had extensive background in zoo/wildlife before vet school and furthered those connections while they were in school (on their summers, during vacation, etc) They both also took several LA classes which applies to many zoo species, so that was a help for them. The LA classes weren't anything I was interested in.

So long story short: while I enjoyed the exotics staff, I always felt like exotics was never given a proper place in the curriculum and the system basically shafted people who had an exotics interest or curiosity. One would want to seek off campus opportunities and it would be helpful if you had some connections in place before you got to school.
It seems to be that way for most schools :( Curiosity: do any schools actually incorporate exotics into their core curriculum?
 

Jamr0ckin

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It seems to be that way for most schools :( Curiosity: do any schools actually incorporate exotics into their core curriculum?
UTK has a multi species medicine class 3rd year that is required.
 

Frozenshades

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It seems to be that way for most schools :( Curiosity: do any schools actually incorporate exotics into their core curriculum?
K-state has one exotics class that everyone takes. Then there's an elective class and and the exotics rotation is an elective as well
 

LetItSnow

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I would guess most/all schools have at least an exotics class. We had a class third year plus some zoo electives. But the material is on NAVLE (companion exotics), so schools have to "teach" it.

As to why UMN VMC - one of the busiest teaching hospitals - doesn't see SA exotics? No clue. Maybe they just don't feel it's worth investing in in terms of staff. Though they could just make a point of making sure one of their GP docs is comfortable seeing them or something. I really dunno. There is a good hospital not too far away from them that sees exotics, including 24-hr ER care ... Maybe they just feel like there's no reason to compete with that.
 

that redhead

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Is it hard to get a spot in zoo/exotics rotations? It seems like everyone I run into wants to do zoo. I intend to apply to externships as well, which will make a difference, but I'm not sure how many I am allowed to do or if I'd even get them.
Yes, it's tough. Start asking now about spots for fourth year. My local large/busy/well known aquarium had ONE spot I could have taken in fourth year (ended up not fitting my schedule), and I emailed them 2 years ahead of time. Same for the zoo places I contacted. Exotics was similarly tough but I got lucky in finding a start-up doc who was fantastic. Seriously, start doing the legwork now, contact them by the end of this year.
 
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pinkpuppy9

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Yes, it's tough. Start asking now about spots for fourth year. My local large/busy/well known aquarium had ONE spot I could have taken in fourth year (ended up not fitting my schedule), and I emailed them 2 years ahead of time. Same for the zoo places I contacted. Exotics was similarly tough but I got lucky in finding a start-up doc who was fantastic. Seriously, start doing the legwork now, contact them by the end of this year.
Yeah I'll to start with that now, then. I picked 3, and two of them are rather competitive so I guess we'll see. I certainly don't have much of a CV at this point! This is all stressing me out lol
 

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It seems to be that way for most schools :( Curiosity: do any schools actually incorporate exotics into their core curriculum?
Yes, my school does. I was required to learn about iguanas, ferrets, cheetahs... uh, some other small things?
 

pinkpuppy9

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Yes, my school does. I was required to learn about iguanas, ferrets, cheetahs... uh, some other small things?
I mean Illinois has a pretty expansive elective stream for zoo/exotics/wildlife, but the core curriculum is mainly domestic animals as far as I know. Definitely not required, other than the fact that we do need a certain amount of electives under our belts.
 

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Okimo

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I mean Illinois has a pretty expansive elective stream for zoo/exotics/wildlife, but the core curriculum is mainly domestic animals as far as I know. Definitely not required, other than the fact that we do need a certain amount of electives under our belts.
Exotics/zoo are included in our core courses over here. We have some required exotics clinical skills labs that are kind of fun too.
 

pinkpuppy9

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Exotics/zoo are included in our core courses over here. We have some required exotics clinical skills labs that are kind of fun too.
That does sound like fun! I can understand why it's part of a core curriculum...to me, you need to be creative with a lot of aspects of exotic pet/zoo medicine. It's cool to come up with unique ways to do things that are less difficult in cats and dogs.
 

elefante7

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Don't forget Wisconsin!!! They see exotics, have 2 boarded zoo vets, have a zoo residency program, and an an awesome club- WEZAM!