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Houston Zoo

Staff Veterinarian

Position Summary

The Houston Zoo is seeking candidates for the position of Staff Veterinarian.  This position will be primarily responsible for providing medical and surgical care to the Zoo’s diverse collection of resident and conservation species as part of a collaborative multi-doctor team. The Staff Veterinarian is responsible for providing clinical care for a diverse collection of more than 850 species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and invertebrates. This position works closely with other stakeholders to ensure the highest quality of animal health, care, and well-being for the Zoo’s specimens. This position reports directly to the Director of Animal Health.

Our Mission: Houston Zoo connects communities with animals, inspiring action to save wildlife.

Our Vision: Houston Zoo will be a leader in the global movement to save wildlife.


Job Duties and Responsibilities

  • Work with animal care staff and veterinary team to implement a preventive medicine program that includes quarantine, routine exams, disease monitoring, parasite control, vaccinations, tuberculin testing, dental prophylaxis, and nutrition reviews.

  • Diagnose illness and injury in collection animals and provide appropriate treatment and therapies.

  • Collaborate with colleagues and local veterinary and medical specialists on clinical cases as needed.

  • Participate in dialogue with area curators and supervisors about animal care and welfare, nutrition, reproduction, husbandry, and housing.

  • Perform gross necropsies and collect samples for histopathology, prepare necropsy reports and analyze findings, formulate recommendations for preventive measures. 

  • Prepare and maintain required records, ensuring accuracy, and professionalism.

  • Support AZA conservation programs and other research efforts by collecting samples and by gathering and submitting data as appropriate.

  • Participate in local and international in situ conservation programs, including the USFWS Recovery and Reintroduction Programs for the critically endangered Attwater’s prairie chicken and Houston toad, sea turtle rehabilitation, and an ongoing elephant herpes virus research program with Baylor College of Medicine.

  • May conduct or participate in research projects into the husbandry, breeding, welfare, behavior, or conservation of both captive and wild populations of animals.

  • Participate in maintaining standards and regulations of AZA, AAZV, USDA, OSHA, and other regulatory agencies and associations as they apply to zoological institutions and veterinary programs/facilities.

  • Ensure compliance with local, state, and federal laws and regulations relating to animal care, transport, treatment, and the handling of controlled substances.

  • Participate in AAZV and other professional organizations and forums; remain current on CEU requirements.

  • Prepare reports and presentations for publication or delivery at both professional and public forums.

  • Participate in training and mentoring programs for senior students, summer veterinary interns, colleagues, and other visiting professionals.

  • May directly supervise staff including recruitment, selection, development, evaluation, and performance management of direct reports.

  • Contributes to saving animals in the wild through:  reduction of waste, water and energy use and inspiring guests and staff to take wildlife protecting actions.

  • Ensure guest and donor engagement through tours, media participation, and other events as needed.

  • Participate in routine animal welfare assessments with the Animal Care staff and support the zoo’s Animal Welfare Program.

  • Performs other duties as assigned.

Education and Experience

  • DVM or VMD or equivalent from an accredited School of Veterinary Medicine.

  • Minimum of two years of exotic animal medicine experience is required, preferably in a zoological facility.

  • License to practice or ability to obtain a license to practice veterinary medicine in the State of Texas

  • Obtain DEA license to use Class 2 narcotics.

  • USDA accreditation (category II) to certify health for interstate and international transport of animals.

  • Must obtain a valid Texas driver’s license.

  • Ability to work weekends, holidays, and occasional after-hour assignments.

  • Preference will be given to candidates that are ACZM Board Certified or Board eligible.

  • A candidate with aquatic animal medicine experience, formal training, or willingness to learn is preferred.

Language/Math/Reasoning Ability

  • Ability to read and interpret documents such as safety rules, operating and maintenance instructions, procedure manuals, professional journals and SOPs. Ability to write routine reports and correspondence. Ability to speak effectively and present information and respond to groups of managers, guests and the general public.

  • Ability to add and subtract two-digit numbers and to multiply and divide with 10's and 100's. Ability to perform these operations using units of money and weight measurement, volume, and distance.

  • Ability to solve practical problems and deal with a variety of concrete variables in situations where only limited standardization exists. Ability to interpret a variety of instructions furnished in written, oral, diagram, or schedule form

Computer Skills

  • Proficient computer skills including electronic mail, record keeping, routine database activity, word processing, spreadsheets, graphics, etc.

  • Experience in Microsoft Office applications and animal record keeping programs

Physical Demands

  • Standing or moving about on foot to accomplish task, particularly for long distances or sustained periods of time

  • Using upper extremities to press against something with steady force

  • Using upper extremities to exert force. Raising objects from a lower to a higher position or moving objects horizontally

  • Perceiving size, shape, temperature, or texture by touching with skin, particularly the fingertips

  • Activities in which you must convey by spoken word or instruction to other workers accurately, loudly or quickly

  • Perceiving the nature of sounds with or without correction

  • Substantial movements (motion) of the wrist, hands, and/or fingers

  • Visual acuity including color, close/distance vision, depth perception, and peripheral vision

  • Ability to adjust focus

  • Moderate physical activity performing somewhat strenuous daily activities

  • Exerting up to 80 pounds of force occasionally to lift, carry, pull, or otherwise move objects

  • Produce negative test results for annual tuberculosis testing and vaccination for rabies or other zoonotic diseases

Work Environment

  • Outdoors and indoor environment with adequate ventilation

  • Moderate to loud noise

  • Exposure to significant levels of heat, cold, moisture and/or air pollution

  • Exposure to potentially dangerous animals and zoonotic diseases, chemical substances and physical trauma of a minor nature such as cuts, bruises and minor burns

Public Contact

  • Requires heavy public contact requiring considerable interpersonal skill, extensive interaction with the public, donors, and members requiring a high degree of guest services skills

Work Hours

  • Hours include normal zoo operating hours, weekends, evenings, holidays, special events and extended hours

  • Minimal overnight travel (up to 10%) by land and/or air


About Houston Zoo’s Animal Health Department

The Veterinary Clinic is part of the Animal Health Department, which also includes Pest Control, Animal Nutrition, and off-site Sea Turtle Rehabilitation.  The veterinary team includes five veterinarians (including the Director of Animal Health, 3 ACZM diplomates, and the successful staff veterinarian candidate), five licensed veterinary technicians (including a veterinary technician supervisor), four animal care staff (including an animal care staff supervisor), and two administrative staff. 

The veterinary campus at the Houston Zoo includes 4 buildings: the Veterinary Services Building, the Veterinary Hospital and Administration Building, the Quarantine Building, and the Veterinary Barn, which doubles as both hospital and quarantine space. The Veterinary Services Building hosts a suite of clinical rooms including a clinical pathology laboratory, a surgical theater, large and small animal radiography, large and small animal treatment, necropsy, and office space.  There is a robust inventory of clinical equipment including large and small animal ventilators, multiparameter anesthetic monitors, patient-side bloodwork monitoring, rigid and flexible endoscopy, dentistry equipment (radiograph system, small animal drill set, large animal power float, and associated hand-tools), two ultrasound units, slit lamp, and a variety of dart projectors.

The Houston Zoo supports staff in professional development such as conferences, workshops, and other learning opportunities. Members of the veterinary team are leaders in a number of local and international in situ conservation programs, including the USFWS Recovery and Reintroduction Programs for the critically endangered Attwater’s prairie chicken and Houston toad, sea turtle rehabilitation, and an ongoing elephant herpes virus research program with Baylor College of Medicine. The veterinary department regularly hosts senior students, summer veterinary interns, colleagues, and other visiting professionals.

About Houston

Houston is the fourth largest city in the US and ranks first among the nation’s most populous cities in total acreage of parkland, with many greenspaces, parks and bayous that allow for year-round hiking, biking and kayaking. Houston is home to a diverse culture as well as the world’s largest medical complex, a vibrant museum and theatre district, the Johnson Space Center, and a continually growing technology industry. Houston is considered to have one of the best culinary scenes in the country, including vegan friendly restaurants, farm to table restaurants, and breweries. Forbes magazine ranks Houston first among US cities where paychecks stretch the furthest. Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico are just 50 miles away, offering beach access and unparalleled opportunities for birding and other outdoor activities.

Join the Houston Zoo and become a part of an organization that is focused on the preservation of wildlife and their habitats by combining conservation with education and promotion of sustainable livelihoods in the local communities.  Houston Zoo is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

How to Apply

If interested, please apply directly here: https://us62e2.dayforcehcm.com/CandidatePortal/en-US/houstonzoo/Posting/View/1338

Or visit the Houston Zoo's Career's Page at: https://www.houstonzoo.org/about/careers/

Houston Zoo
6200 Hermann Park Dr
Houston, TX 77030

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