Zoological Medicine

Red panda examined by veterinary student

Zoological Medicine

Zoological Medicine Service

The Zoological Medicine Service of the University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine proudly supports the school’s overarching mission to advance the health of animals, people, and the environment by engaging in high quality veterinary medicine, educational training activities, and research related to the field of zoological medicine.  The Zoological Medicine Service is led by Drs. Ray Wack and Jenessa Gjeltema.


The service provides high quality veterinary care to zoological species.  It accepts referral cases from zoological institutions and provides phone consultation services to veterinarians.


DVM Curriculum
Coursework and clinical training related to the field of zoological medicine for veterinary students is coordinated by the Zoological Medicine Service.  The service provides a combination of didactic lectures, laboratory experiences, supervised clinical rotations, supplemental learning opportunities, and career advising for veterinary students interested in pursuing careers related to zoological medicine.  It also supports and advises related student-run organizations such as WAAM.

Zoological Medicine Residency
Established in 1974 by Dr. Murray E. Fowler, the Zoological Medicine Residency offered by the University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine Zoological Medicine Service was the first residency of its kind offered in the world.  This highly competitive 3-year program that includes broad species and institutional exposure is designed to train the resident to become a competent zoological veterinarian and prepare the resident to become a specialist through board certification by the American College of Zoological Medicine.

Continuing Education and Collaboration
The service supports and engages in continuing educational opportunities and collaborations related to zoological species for veterinarians and veterinary technicians.


The Zoological Medicine Service works to advance the health of animals, people, ecosystems, and the environment by actively engaging in research projects, collaborations, and publications that enhance our collective understanding and knowledge related to the field of zoological medicine and conservation. 

Sacramento Zoo Partnership

The Zoological Medicine Service of the University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine is actively engaged in a partnership with the Sacramento Zoo through the Karen C. Drayer Wildlife Health Center.  This long-term partnership facilitates provision of high quality veterinary care for the Sacramento Zoo’s animals by board-certified veterinary specialists in the field of Zoological Medicine.  The partnership is instrumental to achieving the mission goals of the Zoological Medicine Service that include veterinary care, education, and research.

The partnership plays an important role in the training of future zoo veterinarians.   Veterinary students and residents with interests in developing skills related to the diagnosis and treatment of zoological species receive unique hands-on training at the Sacramento Zoo during supervised clinical rotations offered through this partnership.  It also provides a unique educational environment for advanced training programs, such as the school’s Zoological Medicine Residency Program.  The school has been engaged in this mutually beneficial long-term partnership since the 1970s, which has facilitated training of dozens of zoological medicine residents and hundreds of veterinary students.

Additionally, this partnership also provides opportunities for both the zoo and university to collaborate and engage in advancing the fields of zoological medicine and conservation through research programs and support. 

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