Training the Next Generation of Zoo Veterinarians

Kathryn Gamble, D.V.M., director of Veterinary Services at Lincoln Park Zoo, has been mentoring veterinary students since 1994—just two years after graduating as valedictorian from Texas A&M! Between her prior appointments and her work at Lincoln Park Zoo, she will teach her 50th student in 2013, with almost 50 percent of previous students now in full-time zoo practice.

Through adjunct professor appointments with the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine and Northwestern Medical School and by guest lecturing with the London Zoological Society Master of Science in Wildlife Health program, Gamble works with veterinary students all around the world.

Beyond Gamble’s mentoring efforts, Lincoln Park Zoo has a post-graduate veterinary resident program that is approved by the American College of Zoological Medicine.

Where are they now?
Veterinary students taught by Gamble are now working in institutions including zoos, veterinary schools and animal clinics. Look below to find out more about what a specific student is doing.

Laura C. Meals spent two months as a veterinary preceptor at Lincoln Park Zoo.

Laura C. Meals, D.V.M.

Laura C. Meals came to Lincoln Park Zoo in February 2012 during her fourth year of veterinary school at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. As a veterinary preceptor, she spent two exciting months in the Veterinary Services Department.

At the zoo she was fortunate to work with a variety of species as well as partake in several interesting clinical cases. Her favorite experiences included assisting in an abscess repair on a polar bear and helping surgically place an EKG transponder in a chimpanzee. She also participated in a research project involving parasitism in smooth green snakes, which she later developed into a poster presentation.

Following her time at Lincoln Park Zoo, Laura completed several other rotations at zoological institutions. After graduating, she moved to Southern California to take a job at a large regional veterinary hospital focusing primarily on emergency, critical care and exotic medicine. Currently, she works at the same practice but hopes to work exclusively in the field of wildlife and zoological medicine in the near future. She recently presented a preliminary study on Hepatitis B in non-wild chimpanzees at the annual American Association of Zoo Veterinarians (AAZV) conference and is working toward gathering further data to develop a manuscript for publication.

Laura’s experience at Lincoln Park Zoo inspired her to further pursue a career in the exciting and challenging field of veterinary medicine. She is very thankful to the veterinary staff, zookeepers, and, of course, the animals at Lincoln Park Zoo for the invaluable educational opportunity.