cedriccj3

NCSU CVM c/o 2014
May 22, 2009
23
0
Raleigh, NC
Status
Veterinary Student
Hey, I am getting ready to apply this cycle, and I am trying to diversify my vet experiences before the application is due. I was wondering if anyone could ellaborate on exactly what 'wildlife' vet work entails? At the clinic I shadow at, we often care for feral cats/dogs and their records are put in a "wildlife" folder. Does this typically count as wildlife experience or is it just a different type of small animal care?? We sometimes get raccoons/birds/rabbits, they would be examples of wildlife care...right?
 

Willowhand

KSU Class of 2014
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Mar 24, 2009
391
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I would not put feral dogs and cats under wildlife experience, but raccoons, birds, rabbits, etc. are a definite yes.
 

bunnity

Penn 2014
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If you're looking for extra wildlife experience I really recommend volunteering with a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. There has been some debate on here whether that counts as vet or animal experience, but either way it's a great experience; you would learn a lot about the issues surrounding the inevitable contact between wildlife and human society as well as learning about medicine. A lot of rehab centers are very reliant on volunteers and let volunteers or interns do a lot of hands-on animal work. If you want to look up a local rehabber you can search on here: http://www.iwrc-online.org/.
 
May 13, 2009
25
0
Status
Pre-Veterinary
Hi!

I work at a wildlife clinic twice a week and I love it. I highly recommend it as a supplement (not necessarily the core) of a pre-veterinary experience resume.

You should definitely check out if there are any state-sponsored wildlife rehabilitation centers in your area. I volunteer at one in my state. There are two volunteer veterinarians on staff so I get a teaching/mentoring element out of the deal too. I would recommend looking for one like this.

As for the work itself -- it's very diverse. We take in any wildlife (except aquatic mammals), treat their wounds, rehabilitate them, and eventually they are released. I do everything from cleaning out bins and washing dishes to feeding mealworms to baby birds every twenty minutes to treating wounds and splinting (so far with help) to administering IM, IV, and sub-Q injections. Because wildlife have no "owner", there is less liability associated with them.

Of course, it can be a little harder because no one is pulling for them if something goes wrong. There is no money for expensive treatments are surgeries... except in very special cases, animals that need these services are euthanized. On the other hand, encountering these problems has been another good experience for me and has helped me develop some of my own ideas about preservation of life and euthanasia. It's good to be exposed to these ideas before becoming a vet, so I value this element of the work as well.

Hope this helps -- good luck!
LeAnne

dreamdvm.blogspot.com
 

Minnerbelle

Moderator Emeritus
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Apr 2, 2009
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If you're looking for extra wildlife experience I really recommend volunteering with a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.
I totally agree with bunnity, but be very careful about choosing the rehabber to work with. I think your best bet is with a larger wildlife center, where there are good protocols in place. You would get a much more diversified experience and learn more from an established organization in most cases. The pitfall with working with local home rehabbers is that... well... sometimes they're a bit cooky and to a certain extent they're in it for their own satisfaction, and the way they do things aren't always in the animals' best interest.

For example, larger wildlife centers have tons and tons of animals at once, and everything is done to get the animals back to the wild (without habituating to human attention) as fast as possible. On the other hand, many local home rehabbers only have enough animals for one person to manage. I've known many that tote their baby animals around, kiss them, cuddle them, talk/sing to them, get attached to them, etc... and hold on to them far longer than they should be held. Many do it with the thought that they would release these animals in their backyard, where the animal is free to stick around if they wanted to.

I'd say find a place now while it's still baby season! Wildlife orgs are dying to have help right about now.
 

bunnity

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The pitfall with working with local home rehabbers is that... well... sometimes they're a bit cooky ...
I've known many that tote their baby animals around, kiss them, cuddle them, talk/sing to them...
A very good point Minnerbelle. I worked at a fairly large rehab center, so things were very professional there... but did know another rehabber who carried baby possums around in her bra, I suppose because in the wild they would be carried around by their mom. Other than the whole no-unnecessary-contact-with-humans thing, wouldn't that be really unpleasant? Possum poop is in its own category of grossness.
 

futurehealervet

Tufts C/O 2019 :)
5+ Year Member
Mar 15, 2012
129
24
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Pre-Veterinary
Just wanted to bring this thread back to life clarify a few things. I know wildlife medicine is something vets can go into, but I can only ever find wildlife rehabbers when I search online.....how does it work exactly. Lots of people on the forum have said they have wildlife veterinary experience. Does working with a rehabber count or have people actually found these elusive wildlife veterinarians....
 

Jamr0ckin

UTK c/o 2016
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Mar 21, 2010
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Just wanted to bring this thread back to life clarify a few things. I know wildlife medicine is something vets can go into, but I can only ever find wildlife rehabbers when I search online.....how does it work exactly. Lots of people on the forum have said they have wildlife veterinary experience. Does working with a rehabber count or have people actually found these elusive wildlife veterinarians....
My vet office works with a few wildlife rehabilitators, so that is how I was exposed to wildlife medicine. Most of it involved birds of prey (hawks, owls) but also raccoons, opossums, groundhogs, and the occasional deer.
 
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503372

I volunteer at one of the veterinary schools that has a wildlife clinic. ;)
 

Lupin21

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Jun 21, 2012
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Just wanted to bring this thread back to life clarify a few things. I know wildlife medicine is something vets can go into, but I can only ever find wildlife rehabbers when I search online.....how does it work exactly. Lots of people on the forum have said they have wildlife veterinary experience. Does working with a rehabber count or have people actually found these elusive wildlife veterinarians....
I was spoiled because we have an awesome vet in southern california that is strictly wildlife. I think it was irrelephant that also worked there for a time to gain experience. The California Wildlife Center in Calabasas, CA takes on interns and does externships if your really looking into wildlife medicine. If your just trying to get some varied experience, try any local parks and recreation stations to see if they know where to direct you.
 
Oct 23, 2012
36
5
Status
Veterinary Student
The elusive wildlife veterinarians are out there, but few and far between. As far as I know, there are only a couple of facilities with a full-time veterinarian on staff in my entire state. One is affiliated with my in-state vet school; the other is a county-operated facility. I managed to get my foot in the door with the county-funded facility via an internship with the animal care department (more the rehab and rebilitation side of things) and parlay that into shadowing and eventually a regular clinic volunteer gig working directly with the staff veterinarian. It's been a fantastic experience, well worth an hourlong commute. I'd suggest a thorough search of government-operated facilities (county, state, whatever) because they sometimes do have the funding for a full-time, or at least a part-time, veterinarian. Also, if you have a few weeks to spare, the HSVMA operates a couple of wildlife centers with veterinarians on staff and I'm fairly certain they take volunteers/student interns.
 

tvo21

Wisconsin c/o 2017
Mar 20, 2012
128
1
Status
Veterinary Student
I volunteer at a Rehab Center in Atlanta. I just did some research online to look for wildlife rehab locations. It's not government funded so they are always in need of volunteers. I have gotten a lot of hands on experience but I put this experience as animal experience, since my volunteer shift is on the day the vet isn't there. The vet stops by tuesdays and thursdays and does her round of examinations/perform sx if needed. She works at a small animal/exotic clinic near the rehab center. The wildcare supervisors are highly educated though and are able to perform somethings without the presence of a doctor, so there are always opportunities to learn more
 

wildcatj

Mizzou c/o 2017!
Oct 7, 2011
3,010
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Other than working in wildlife rehab, some wildlife vets work internationally or at home on conservation projects.
I ended up with veterinary experience at my local wildlife clinic that was attached to a vet hospital. So we had access to the vets next door and then also had a vet that was on call to look at any of the animals. During the summer she was there most days.