Animal Hospital & Wildlife Rehab
Dickerson Parks Zoo’s Animal Hospital
Dickerson Park Zoo’s Animal Hospital provides outstanding and compassionate medical care for all the zoo’s animals. From the smallest reptile to the largest mammal, the veterinary staff is dedicated to the health and wellness of all of the animals.
The hospital includes a laboratory, two separate quarantine buildings, a state-of-the-art radiology suite, a surgery suite, treatment room, a pharmacy and an autopsy area.
Preventive medicine and proper nutrition are key elements to good health care, and Annual Wellness Exams help the veterinary staff detect and treat problems in early stages. Exams are much like what humans might experience at a routine checkup: review of diet, weight, visual evaluation, vaccinations, blood draw and lab work to check for infection or signs of organ dysfunction.
Fecal exams are performed two to four times a year to screen for parasites and anti-parasitic drugs are given as needed.
Although the veterinary staff spends hours performing preventive care and researching to improve procedures and technologies, animals still get ill.
Zoo keepers are a great asset to the veterinary staff. Zoo keepers spend a great deal of time with the animals and become very perceptive of behavior patterns, appetite and favorite foods. The zoo keepers often notice subtle changes and report any inconsistencies to the veterinary staff.
Even with the tiniest patient, animal care at Dickerson Park Zoo is a big responsibility.
Dickerson Park Zoo’s Raptor Rehabilitation Program
As a wildlife rehabilitation center, Dickerson Park Zoo cares mainly for native raptors requiring treatment in order to survive on their own. Some patients are healthy youngsters separated or orphaned from their parents, and simply need a correct diet and attention until acquiring the skills necessary to survive on their own.
Adult birds brought to Dickerson Park Zoo’s rehabilitation program are usually ill or injured. Treatment may include: medication, wound care and occasionally surgery.
All animals in the wildlife rehabilitation program receive feeding, housing and exercise until fully recovered. When an animal has fully recovered, or is old enough to care for itself, it is released back into its natural habitat. The veterinary staff evaluates each animal to make certain it is physically and behaviorally ready for release. Animals must be able to find their natural foods, know how to behave with others of their kind and be wary of people. An important part of our rehabilitation efforts is to keep the animals wild. While providing medical care, we try to prevent the animals from becoming comfortable with people, because we want them to have the best chance of survival when released.
You too play a vital role in wildlife rehabilitation. An easy place to start is by becoming more aware of the wildlife around you. It is also important to understand how human activities such as hunting with lead shot, fishing with lead weights or not recycling can cause serious problems for animals. Then, as you become more aware of what you can do to help, share what you’ve learned with others.
Everyone has a role and can do their part in wildlife rehabilitation.