A Day in the Life of a Zoo Vet

  • 8:15 am– Morning rounds with staff to talk about the active cases at the Zoo and what the plan is for the day.
  • 8:45 am– Ophthalmic recheck of a red wolf puppy that had developed a bullous keratopathy (an eye disorder that involve swelling of the cornea). The lesion has been healing well and this was one of Dr. Minter’s scheduled checks of the day. (Just zoo veterinarian things!)
Close up picture of the red wolf puppy's eye
  • 9:15am– First check of the day is one of their female elephants, Nekhanda.  She had been stung by a yellow-jacket the day before on her eyelid. Dr. Minter checked on the progress of the swelling this morning.  
Nekhana the elephant squints at camera
Nekhanda, the African elephant
  • 9:30am– Wound treatment for Olivia, a geriatric Southern white rhino.  Fun fact: white rhinos can live up to 50 years!
Olivia, the Southern white rhino is in a medical holding area during her exam
Olivia, the Southern white rhino
  • 10:00am- Wound recheck for a Spine-headed tree frog. Unsure how the frog injured itself, but the lesion has completely healed. This animal will be removed from medical monitoring. 
Spine headed tree frog sits in a small pool of water
Spine-headed tree frog
  • 10:45am- Neonatal exam for a fringe eared oryx calf on the Grassland habitat. Exam was performed and the calf was deemed as healthy. The care staff returned this baby to the herd. 
NC Zoo staff holding a fringe eared oryx calf
  • 11:15am- Recheck of a potential follicular mass on Pearl, one of our female ostriches on the Grassland habitat.
Pearl the ostrich looks at camera
  • 11:45am- Check on a reported lameness in a Blue-crowned laughing thrush at the avian propagation building.
A Blue-crowned trush held by zoo staff during exam
  • 12-1:30pm- Lunch ūüėä and some email checking. Superheroes have to eat too, right?
  • 1:30 pm- Recheck bloodwork on a sick Virgin Island Boa
Dr. Minter smiles with the Virgin Island boa in his hand during the exam
Dr. Minter with the Virgin Island boa
  • 2:00pm- Work up, including a physical exam, radiographs and ultrasound of a Mabee’s salamander
A mabee salamander rests in a ziplog bag used to keep him still during a medical exam
  • 3:00pm- Wildlife center exams- Rechecked a young eastern box turtle that had an aural abscess surgery. The turtle appears to be completely healed and will be released in the next few weeks. Also rechecked a red eyed vireo nestling with a bruised right leg.
  • 4:00-5:30- Working on records and answering emails. 
A young Eastern box turtle hides in his shell during his vet exam

That’s all in a zoo vet’s days work! If you’d like to follow along with Dr. Minter, check him out on Instagram @dr.jbminterdvm.