Florida Externship Curriculum



Busch Gardens Florida Extern Weekly Schedule

Mornings (7:00 AM start)

Field immobilizations and procedures may be scheduled for any given day and will occur first thing in the morning.

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri
AM treatments AM treatments AM treatments AM treatments AM treatments
Rounds Rounds Rounds Rounds Rounds
Hospital procedures Hospital procedures Hospital procedures Hospital procedures Hospital procedures
Gross necropsies Gross necropsies Gross necropsies Gross necropsies

Gross necropsies

Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch
Early afternoons are frequently spent treating wildlife rehab cases.
Read histopath slides with Pathologist *In animal area with keepers Spend time in Nutrition Center *In animal area with keepers Review lab reports
Library time
PM treatments PM treatments PM treatments PM treatments PM treatments

Day ends around 4:00 PM

* Externs will be able to observe keepers in several different areas of the park including hoof stock, birds, reptiles, animal ambassadors, carnivores, and primates.

Students will work alongside three clinical veterinarians and one veterinary pathologist in a 12,000 square foot state-of-the-art Animal Care Center providing medical and surgical treatment to a collection of 2000+ exotic animals. They will participate in morning rounds to discuss the cases for the day. Students will observe veterinarians during both field procedures and hospital procedures.  They will also observe veterinarians and technicians administering treatment to hospitalized cases. They will learn how to formulate diagnostic and treatment plans for animals in the collection. They will be involved in formulating diagnostic and treatment plans for injured wildlife brought to the park. Time will be spent observing the veterinary pathologist performing gross necropsies and learning comparative anatomy, recognition of gross lesions, and sample collection procedures for histopathology and ancillary testing. The pathologist also provides services for SeaWorld Orlando and Discovery Cove thus giving students some possible exposure to marine mammal and fish disease. Students will learn about the importance of a preventative medicine program for a zoological collection and be exposed to various aspects of it. There will be opportunities to observe the veterinary technicians in the clinical lab and learn how to run blood chemistries and hematology. Technicians will also familiarize students with preparing fecals for parasite exams and identifying parasite ova.

During down time in the clinics students will have an opportunity to work alongside animal care specialists who care for animals in the collection. This will expose them to proper husbandry techniques, exhibit maintenance and behavioral conditioning. They will also be able to spend time in the Nutrition Center learning what it takes to feed our collection on a daily basis and learning about nutritional aspects of animal health from our Nutrition Manager.

Students will always be encouraged to participate in discussion of cases and ask questions.  Veterinarians will be challenging students to apply the knowledge and skills that they have worked so hard to develop in the course of their veterinary education.

SeaWorld Florida Extern Weekly Schedule

Week One:

Day 1 Animal Care - back area, Key West Husbandry and treatment of dolphins and manatees
Day 2 Animal Care - pinniped, Wild Arctic Husbandry and treatment of pinnipeds and beluga whales
Day 3 Aquarium - quarantine, turtles, shark, water quality Fish quarantine procedures; shark husbandry; turtle rehabilitation
Day 4 Aviculture - penguin, bird barn Husbandry and treatment of wide variety of birds; wild bird rehabilitation
Day 5 Animal Training - W/D, Shamu, SLO Training techniques for cetaceans and pinnipeds

For the following three weeks, the extern will spend virtually all of his or her time working alongside the veterinary staff. He or she will participate in the discussion of cases, actively assist in most veterinary procedures, and help to manage the diagnostic and treatment plans for injured wildlife brought to the park. When not engaged in any of the above mentioned activities, the individual will be urged to see shows not viewed during week one, go to various habitat areas and observe natural behaviors of the park's animals, or read up on pertinent topics to ongoing cases. The student will be encouraged to become involved in special projects should there be a particular field of interest or an undertaking deemed beneficial to the veterinary services department.

The student should expect to frequently be challenged to answer pertinent questions regarding general anatomy, physiology, basic disease processes, and/or their possible diagnostic and therapeutic regimens. This will, of course, be done with the level of education and experience of the individual in mind. The extern will also be strongly encouraged to study the natural history of those species so that he or she may obtain a more enriching experience from the time spent here at SeaWorld of Florida.