October 21, 2023
This week is National Vet Tech Week so we would like to say a big thank you to our veterinary technicians Robin and Tammy!
The vet techs at the Zoo are vital to the Animal Health Team. They prepare the equipment needed for medical procedures and examinations, and assist the veterinarian with all of the animals at the Zoo from the little rodents, birds, and reptiles to the elephants and giraffes.
Technicians run lab samples for diagnostic testing, monitor the hospital inventory and make sure we have the equipment and medications the animals need, and prepare medications for the animals. They also work with the zoo keepers to train our animals for voluntary procedures that help us monitor their health. The technicians help to collect blood from the elephants to maintain our elephant plasma bank. The stored plasma can be sent out to other zoos to help sick elephants. Anoki the polar bear and many of our big cats allow us to draw blood while they receive treats from a keeper. This way we can collect blood samples to monitor their health on a regular basis without having to sedate them and the animals calmly eat while we perform the blood draw.
Robin, our head vet tech, also keeps all our animal health paperwork in order. Keeping endangered animals and sending them to other zoos or receiving new animals requires health certificates, permits, and other paperwork. Robin helps to make sure that all this paperwork is kept up to date and communicates with state officials to determine what needs to be documented when animals move between zoos.
– Dr. Chris McKinney DVM / Zoo Veterinarian