Brookfield Zoo Celebrates National Vet Tech Week 2020

The week of October 11-17, 2020, is National Vet Tech Week, an opportunity to recognize veterinary technicians' contributions to the profession, here at Brookfield Zoo and around the world.

The Chicago Zoological Society Veterinary Services department has a world-renowned veterinary education program, which instructs dozens of veterinary and veterinary technician students from schools around the U.S. every year. Our veterinary technicians spend a great amount of time with these students guiding and mentoring future generations of veterinary professionals.

The VS team is comprised of a diverse staff of dedicated conservation leaders providing unparalleled advanced medical care to the thousands of animals under professional management at the Brookfield Zoo. No component of this team is more versatile or called-upon than the Certified Veterinary Technicians (CVTs).

The veterinary technicians at the Brookfield Zoo fill several crucial roles in the Veterinary Services department, which contributes greatly to our goal of providing top-notch, advanced medical care to our animals.

Veterinary technicians are heavily involved in the operant conditioning of our animals. This conditioning establishes repeatable behaviors from the animal which affords the animal care and veterinary staff the ability to perform stress-free examinations, diagnostic imaging, and even awake sample collection for diagnostic testing.

Our veterinary technicians are expert phlebotomists and are accustomed to collecting samples on all the species we care for. From the smallest bird or reptile patients to giraffes, rhinos, and marine mammals, our veterinary technicians are highly skilled at collecting blood samples in all situations.

The veterinary technicians at CZS participate in many local and global conservation fieldwork projects which directly support our institutional goal of conserving species and habitats in the wild and educating the public. Our technicians have worked closely with the Cook County Forest Preserve District on many local projects such as river otter population monitoring, local fish and reptile monitoring, and health assessments. They also work alongside biologists from the Peregrine Falcon Chicago Re-introduction program every spring. For many years now our vet techs have played a significant role in the international Punta San Juan, Peru Ecosystem Health Assessment program.

The veterinary technicians at the Brookfield Zoo have received advanced training in the operation and maintenance of several pieces of advanced imaging equipment such as our CT machine, ultrasound units, and a C-arm fluoroscopy (live X-ray) unit, just to name a few.

Anesthesia administration and patient monitoring are highly important tasks performed by veterinary technicians. They must be knowledgeable of administering anesthetic medications through a variety of methods (remotely, injectables, inhalants) while also providing diligent, dedicated monitoring of patient vitals while under anesthesia.

The Brookfield Zoo veterinary technicians also serve as pharmacists, accurately calculating and dispensing thousands of prescriptions every year.

Occasionally, baby animals (neonates) are unable to be cared for by the parents and when this occurs, the veterinary technicians use their advanced animal care knowledge and skills to provide optimal care for the neonates, ensuring that all their needs are being met. Our Vet Techs have successfully participated in hand-rearing many species over the years.

In short, Brookfield Zoo’s CVTs are indispensable, integral members of the veterinary team and are key contributors to the success of our department and our institution. We thank them so much for their important and compassionate work!

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Posted: 10/12/2020 12:12:53 PM by Sean Keeley

CZS & Brookfield Zoo

Since the opening of Brookfield Zoo in 1934, the Chicago Zoological Society has had an international reputation for taking a cutting-edge role in animal care and conservation of the natural world. Learn more about the animals, people, and research that make up CZS here at our blog.


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