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News & Press: Member Spotlights

ECZM/ACZM Residency (ZHM) in Copenhagen

Wednesday 13 July 2016   (0 Comments)
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As I near the end of the residency program in Copenhagen, there has been (a little!) time to reflect on the past three years and to also consider my options for the future. The residency at Copenhagen, supervised by Mads Bertelsen, was the first program to be jointly accredited by the European College of Zoological Medicine (ECZM) for Zoo Health Management (ZHM), and the American College of Zoological Medicine (ACZM). Both colleges have the same goal; to drive forward zoological medicine by providing programs designed to educate veterinarians to an advanced level, who will eventually gain the title of ‘Diplomat’. Programs can vary a lot, but cover the many aspects of clinical and preventative medicine, pathology, research and dissemination of knowledge through presentations and publications.

Copenhagen Zoo in Denmark is a city zoo with approximately 3430 animals across 240 species. Day-to-day work is a mixture of preventative health tasks such as health and quarantine examinations, clinical cases and pathology (gross and histopathological). We have a strong research department and I’ve been lucky enough to be involved in several projects including cardiology and pathology in ibis species and anaesthesia of impala, bearded dragons and finches. My main residency project has centred on haemostasis in the Asian elephant, which will hopefully have applications for managing calves affected by Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesviruses. The projects have been greatly helped by collaborations with the University of Copenhagen as well as zoos and pathology services in Europe and North America.

Since starting the residency almost 3 years ago, it has been encouraging to see the initiation of other programs in Germany (Wuppertal; Sam Frei) and the UK (London; Steph Jayson, Edinburgh; Adam Naylor, Chester; TBD). It’s still a small world and, together with the ACZM residents from Zurich (Monika Bochmann and Stamos Tahas) and John Flanders who just finished the ACZM/ECZM residency at Lincoln Park Zoo (Chicago, USA), we have been meeting on skype every 2-4 weeks. These sessions are guided by an existing diplomat in order to help us prepare for the board exams, and also serve to introduce new residents to their peers. It’s been interesting to ‘compare and contrast’ between the different programs, and only goes to show how varied and vast the field of zoological medicine really is.

I can whole-heartedly recommend the residency pathway to anyone who is fortunate enough to have the opportunity. I believe the ECZM (ZHM) speciality has a bright future in Europe, and is only going to strengthen as the de facto period ends in 2017, and more programs are set up. Copenhagen zoo recently welcomed our second resident, Eva Maria Greunz. I am sure she is going to gain as much from the program as I have. The residency has been an incredibly steep learning curve which has opened the door into the endlessly fascinating, sometimes frustrating but never boring, world of zoo medicine! 


Kathryn Perrin


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