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News & Press: Member Spotlights

ACZM Zoological Medicine Residency in Zürich, Switzerland

Thursday 20 October 2016   (0 Comments)
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The ACZM Residency at the Clinic for Zoo Animals, Exotic Pets and Wildlife at the University of Zurich is the oldest of its kind in Europe. The residency training programme runs for three years with the aim of successful examination of the ACZM Diplomate Exam. I started the residency just over a year ago and have profited enormously from my time here!

As the name suggests, the caseload during the three years is varied and covers all fields of zoological medicine. The majority of the first year is dedicated to the exotic pet service at the University of Zurich's Small Animal Teaching Hospital. This is a great chance to sharpen one's avian, reptile and small mammal skills. The time spent in the Clinic has made me much more comfortable with procedures I previously had little experience with such as endoscopy and orthopaedics. A pleasant contrast to UK exotic animal practice (where I previously worked), the patients are much more varied than just rabbits and budgies, sometimes including primates, marsupials or even large chelonians!

As time moves on, so does involvement in the veterinary care of the collection of Zurich Zoo. This has so far been the highlight of my residency experience. I much appreciate how my supervisors always put effort into planning ahead so that myself or my fellow resident, Monika Bochmann, are involved in the large animal procedures that we will hopefully carry out in our own right as zoo professionals in the future. Zurich Zoo is constantly rebuilding and expanding and I am looking forward to additions to the collection including the new Aquarium, Australian Section and African Savannah.

Lastly, the residency does include a smaller yet rewarding involvement in wildlife medicine. Urban wildlife, such as birds of prey and songbirds are commonly presented and the Clinic cooperates well with a wealth of wildlife rehabilitators. Furthermore, being the service providers for the Langenberg Wildlife Park, gives residents the opportunity to get involved in herd management and the medicine of large European wildlife.

The Clinic is large and there are always two residents and two zoological medicine specialists on the team. Professor Jean-Michel Hatt is my primary supervisor and Sandra Wenger is the Associate Professor who organises much of our book and journal clubs. We are very lucky to also have professor Marcus Clauss, who is dedicated to research and assists us with our projects and publications. The nursing support and organisation really gives residents the time to focus on clinical cases and is something I am going to miss in the future! Finally, being based at a University Faculty means ample support from specialists across the board, from Pathology to Imaging.

Looking back I realise how lucky I am to have received a chance at specialising in zoological medicine and I am very much looking forward to my remaining time in Zurich!

Stamos Tahas

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