Veterinary externship

The purpose of our externship program is to expose fourth year veterinary students to real-life clinical zoological medicine cases. For students interested in domestic animal practice, clinical training in zoological medicine helps reinforce a problem oriented approach to addressing medical issues in all veterinary patients. For students interested in pursuing careers in zoo or wildlife medicine, hands-on experience with captive zoo animals is critical experience.

The extern will work closely with veterinarians on both clinical and non-clinical aspects of their jobs. Clinical duties will include participating in the care of spontaneously occurring medical cases, participating in the anesthesia and examination of animals for routine pre-shipment and preventative health examinations, performing routine clinical laboratory examination of deceased animals, blood, serum, fecal , and cytological samples, and researching differential diagnoses, treatments and anesthesia protocols for active cases.

The extern will be required to complete a short library research project during their externship and present their findings to interested zoo staff. The subject of the presentation is dependent on the extern's interests and may pertain to current cases at the zoo, broader subject matter pertaining to medical management of zoo animals, medical issues pertaining to specific taxa (whether at our zoo or not) or medical or surgical topics relevant to both zoo, domestic animal or human medicine.


  • Duration: 4-6 weeks 
  • Application Deadline: Nov. 1, 2016 for externships from July 2017 – June 2018 
  • Positions available: 5 
  • Housing: Not provided 
  • Transportation: Not provided. Portland has an extensive public transportation system with a light-rail stop at the zoo. Please see for more information and cost estimate. Paid parking in the public parking area is available. 
  • Compensation: Not provided 
  • Insurance: Personal medical insurance is required and is the responsibility of the student. 
  • Expenses: Student responsibility 
  • Medical: Documented negative tuberculosis status within 6 months of the last day of the rotation. Rabies vaccination with documented protective titer. Tetanus vaccination within the past 5 years.

The Veterinary Externship is open to veterinary students in their 4th year of study (or equivalent). To apply please submit a cover letter, curriculum vitae (CV), letter of reference, documentation of vaccine and TB status, and the Oregon Zoo Veterinary Externship Application form.

Please submit all materials to Mitch Finnegan, DVM via email at, fax at (503) 220-5762 or via US mail to:

Mitch Finnegan Oregon Zoo 4001 SW Canyon Road Portland, Oregon 97221