Zoo Helps Prepare Veterinary Leaders

By Tonja Swank, Public Relations Coordinator


When visiting the Sacramento Zoo this week, observers will notice more than families and young children exploring, they will also see a group of veterinarians preparing to become leaders in zoo medicine. This week, May 1st through May 5th, the Sacramento Zoo is collaborating with the UC Davis Wildlife Health Center to host the American College of Zoological Medicine’s (ACZM) Short Course. The course is being held at the Zoo and includes classes taught by Dr. Murray Fowler, a world renowned zoological veterinarian.

Two veterinarians from Australia, one from Canada and 19 from the United States make up the 22 participants. The five-day course, taught by 10 instructors, has been organized by Dr. Scott Larsen and Dr. Ray Wack; both are veterinarians at the Zoo and UC Davis. It is designed to prepare zoo and wildlife veterinarians to take the ACZM board examination. Once ACZM certified, a veterinarian is called a Diplomate and is considered a specialist in zoological medicine. A certified veterinarian may also serve as a supervisor for training programs, mentor and researcher.

“We are glad that we are able to host the course, and that we have the resources and staff to accommodate it,” said Mary Healy, Sacramento Zoo Director/CEO. “It will also be an honor to have Dr. Fowler on grounds and teaching in the Zoo’s hospital named in his honor.” Dr. Fowler served as veterinarian for the Sacramento Zoo for 24 years; in 1970, he developed the first academic training program for residents in zoological medicine. Through this program, as well as numerous short courses, seminars and wet labs, Dr. Fowler has been involved in training of over 500 zoo veterinarians worldwide.

Since 2000 the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and the Sacramento Zoo have had a formalized partnership. The two organizations share facilities and expertise to accommodate the training of zoological medicine residents, senior veterinary students, further wildlife conservation and provide the best possible care for the animals at the Sacramento Zoo.


Veterinarian exam on resident African porcupine.

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