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Department of Animal Health: Training

The National Zoo's Department of Animal Health has been training specialists in zoological medicine for more than 20 years. The Zoo runs several training programs in zoological medicine at both the pre-doctoral and post-doctoral level. This training is conducted both nationally and internationally.

trainingThe Veterinarian in Residence is a general veterinarian pursuing specialization in zoological medicine. The National Zoo’s zoological medicine residency program is approved by the American College of Zoological Medicine, and the program emphasizes both clinical training and research.

Graduates of the zoo residency program sit for the zoological medicine board exams, and are prominent veterinarians at zoos and aquaria across the United States.

Training is also given to international veterinarians, both in programs overseas and at the National Zoo. Zoo veterinarians conduct formal training programs for veterinarians in Mexico, Central America, South America, Asia, and Africa in their home countries, and invite foreign veterinarians to spend six to eight weeks training on-site at the National Zoo.

Fourth-year veterinary students from different U.S. universities participate in the Zoo’s externship program, spending between six and eight weeks at a time at the Zoo. This training exposes students to clinical techniques on a wide variety of zoo animals, challenging them to apply their knowledge of dog, cat, horse, and food animal medicine to different species.

Formal Training Programs for Veterinary Students

Preceptorship in Veterinary Medicine