If you get the Smithsonian Channel on your TV, then tune in at 8 pm this Sunday (January 10th) to watch the program Zoo Vets: Claws, Paws, and Fins. Not only does this look like a pretty neat program (from my admittedly very biased perspective), but it features–among others–my girlfriend, Meredith Clancy, and her long-time mentor, Kathryn Gamble, the head veterinarian at the Lincoln Park Zoo. The program, which follows vets at Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo, Brookfield Zoo, and Shedd Aquarium, was filmed in fall 2008, when Meredith was completing an external rotation at Lincoln Park as part of her fourth year vet school training.
Here’s a sneak peak:
(If this video doesn’t work for you, you can also view it on YouTube.
The program will probably give you a new appreciation for what these zoo vets do. Zoos play an important role in the conservation process, both directly and indirectly by exposing a human population that is increasingly alienated from nature to the wonders of the animal kingdom. Zoo vets are responsible for keeping these animals healthy and for conducting the scientific work that goes on at some of these institutions. It’s a tough job, having to be ready at a moment’s notice to treat a shark, an elephant, or anything in between.
One of the high points of the program is when the vets at Lincoln Park conduct a full medical exam on their 420-pound male gorilla:
Here you can see Dr. Gamble (center) and (now Dr.) Clancy (right) during the exam. Later in this sequence comes my favorite line of the program: “Even under the bright lights of the operating room, Meredith holds on to her sense of wonder.” Priceless!
Meredith is currently continuing her postdoctoral training as a small animal intern at a veterinary hospital in LA, and is looking to hopefully begin a zoo residency or internship next year, on her way to becoming a board-certified zoo vet (although, based on this program, maybe she shouldn’t totally rule out TV!). As you can see in the program, she already has quite a bit of experience in the field, and she had her first paper published last month, in the Journal of the World Aquaculture Society (Sedation by Orally Administered Ketamine in Goldfish, Carassius auratus; Hybrid Striped Bass, Morone hybrid saxatilis×M. chrysops; and Ocellated River Stingray, Potamotrygon motoro).
So, if you do have access to the Smithsonian Channel, check out Meredith and her zoo vet colleagues on Sunday.