Iowa State University's College of Veterinary Medicine has a cooperative program with the Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines which provides educational experiences for veterinary students, enabling them to work with all types of exotic animals.
Students can take four-week elective rotations where they work with exotic animal and wildlife medicine. In addition, students on other 4th year rotations may also come to the zoo with specialists in those rotations.
The College of Veterinary Medicine and the Blank Park Zoo share a veterinarian position, who oversees the clinical rotation at the zoo. Students are involved in all aspects of captive wild animal treatment, anesthesia and diagnostic testing.
The opportunities for zoo experiences continue to grow with the recently completed apartment at the zoo for Iowa State veterinary students. The new facility, the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine Animal Health Center, reduces the need for students to commute every day from Ames to Des Moines. In addition to living quarters for students, visiting scientists and specialists, the new project also includes a Rounds Room, Operating Room, Clinical Diagnostic Area and Post-Operative Care and Hospital.
"To be able to focus on zoological medicine for four weeks was invaluable to my education," said Lauren Pudenz, a 2016 Iowa State veterinary graduate. "This rotation required me to think on my feet pretty quickly and outside the box most of the time."