Class Year: 2016, Senior
Hometown: Columbus, OH
Internship: Veterinary Hospital Intern, Dallas Zoo
Location: Dallas, TX
Hello there! My name is Rachel Dalton, I am heading into my senior year as a Zoo and Conservation Science major at Otterbein, and this summer I am interning with the veterinary department at the Dallas Zoo.
I am here with fellow zoo major Lauren Silla, who is also interning at the Dallas Zoo. We have been in Dallas since late May, and explore the DFW area together on our days off. As you may have heard, it was a little rainy around here during the month of May… Thankfully things have been drier as of late, and the toasty Texan summer is in full swing.
A typical day for me begins at 7:30am with morning meeting at the zoo hospital, where all of the veterinarians, vet techs, and hospital keepers go over what is scheduled for that day in terms of treatments, procedures, meetings, etc. After the meeting, we begin the scheduled morning procedures. This may involve loading up the hospital van and heading out into the zoo to go to the animal, or making sure everything is ready for animals to be brought to us at the hospital. It has been interesting to learn about the many nuances involved in making sure procedures in both contexts go smoothly. There are a lot of different species-specific considerations to account for in addition to the typical procedure-specific considerations, which is one of the unique and fascinating challenges of zoo vet med. The Dallas Zoo veterinarians, Dr. Bonar, Dr. Raines, Dr. Connolly, Dr. Gentry, and Dr. Oh, have been very gracious about allowing me to come along for procedures, treatments, and necropsies, which I appreciate tremendously. I have also had the opportunity to spend time with Dr. Lynn Kramer, who is the Vice President of Animal Operations at the Dallas Zoo and an Otterbein alum (go Cardinals!).
The Dallas Zoo has had a busy spring full of zoo babies, including not only the internet-famous giraffe calf Kipenzi, but also a plethora of unique avian species! I am an unabashed bird nerd, and have loved getting familiar with the many avian species at the Dallas Zoo. It has been neat to see several of the feathered new arrivals up close during physical exams. Here are a few pictures of some of my favorite avian zooborns:
Images courtesy of the Dallas Zoo ZooHoo blog.
When there are not procedures or treatments happening, I can be found in the conference room/impressive library of the hospital reading through necropsy reports of bushmaster pit vipers.
|A bushmaster. Image courtesy of WildAnimalsOnline.com.|
The Dallas Zoo has a very successful bushmaster breeding program, and as such a lot of archived bushmaster records. The vets asked me to analyze these records to look for trends in different diseases this species is particularly susceptible to. This has been a great opportunity for me to not only learn about necropsy and histopathology reports, but also about reptile veterinary medicine and snakes in general.
I will now close with this picture of one of my favorite little ladies at the zoo, Kipenzi, with mom Katie. J Giraffes are incredible animals.