Describe your job: I am a Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT) at the Sacramento Zoo’s Murray E. Fowler Veterinary Hospital. I assist the veterinarians in all aspects of medical care, this includes care for any hospitalized animals and the Zoo’s newest animal additions while they are in quarantine. I help the veterinarians with routine physical examinations, medical exams, as well as any emergency exams. I monitor animals that are under anesthesia, collect blood, perform laboratory diagnostics, radiographs and assist with capture and restraint. I also work with keepers in the primate and ungulate areas with operant conditioning. The Sacramento Zoo is partnered with UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. Fourth Year veterinary students interested in zoo medicine spend a two week rotation with us. I help the veterinary students as they go through animal examinations, monitoring animals under anesthesia and manual restraint. For many of these students it is their first time working with zoo exotics. In addition, I also assist with training our veterinary resident and help create the conservation displays in the hospital viewing windows.
I am the Regional Studbook Keeper for the Nubian ibex. I monitor the current population in North America and help make breeding recommendations and transfers within AZA accredited institutions.
How long have you been in the position? I have been an RVT at the Sacramento Zoo for almost two years. Prior to becoming an RVT, I was a relief keeper at the Zoo working all sections for three years, and I have been in the zoo field for seven years.
What in your background helped you get the job? I had previous experience working as a veterinary technician in a small animal hospital and majored in animal science with an emphasis in veterinary medicine. One summer during college I got the opportunity to do an internship at the Santa Ana Zoo. This was my “foot in the door.” I learned the dedication and hard work that was required to work in an AZA accredited facility. Also, working as a relief keeper has provided me with knowledge of animal husbandry, operant conditioning and animal behavior.
What’s your favorite thing about job? There is never a dull moment. I love being able to work with the diversity of animals in our collection. I am constantly learning new things and being challenged. I also enjoy the opportunities to be active in conservation.
Do you have a favorite animal? Why is it your favorite? I am fascinated with manatees! I was first exposed to them when I was 10 years old on a family vacation to Florida. I learned as much as I could about them on that trip. I have supported manatee conservation ever since. Whenever I get the chance to visit Florida, I have to find a place to watch them. I found that I could sit for hours watching them. Manatees are magnificent creatures and I hope to work with them one day.