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Houston Zoo


The Houston Zoo is seeking well-qualified candidates for the position of Staff Veterinarian to provide clinical care for a diverse collection of more than 850 species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and invertebrates.  We are expanding our program and this is a new position. The Staff Veterinarian works closely with other stakeholders to ensure the highest quality of animal care for the Zoo’s specimens. Competitive candidates will possess strong leadership skills, and proven ability to successfully manage department programs related to research, conservation and preventive care.  Preferred candidates will have substantial experience in the veterinary care of a broad taxonomic group of exotic animals as well as excellent communication, interpersonal, and teamwork skills. This position does not directly supervise staff and reports to the Vice President of Animal Operations.


  • 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 periodic 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, breeding, 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.
  • 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.
  • Teach and mentor visiting veterinary students, technicians, and interns, as needed.
  • Perform other duties as requested.


  • Ability to stand for long periods of time
  • Considerable physical exertion, such as extensive walking, bending, stooping and regular climbing of ladders
  • Lifting of heavy objects (up to 50 pounds) on a highly frequent basis and/or assuming awkward positions for long periods of time
  • Ability to make coordinated gross motor movements in response to changing external stimuli within moderately demanding tolerances
  • Ability to make coordinated eye/hand movements on a patterned response space within low tolerance demands with no real speed requirements


  • Routine exposures to significant levels of heat, cold, moisture and air pollution
  • Periodic exposure to chemical substances
  • Physical trauma of a minor nature such as cuts, bruises and minor burns


This position requires significant contact with Zoo guests, members, donors, the media, and internal and external clients. Considerable interpersonal skills and focus on the guest experience are required.


In addition to managing clinical cases, the veterinary program maintains a strong focus on preventive medicine with a busy schedule of quarantine and routine health exams, diagnostic screening, and vaccinations. The veterinary staff also works closely with veterinary and human medical specialists when advanced diagnostics or therapies are needed for animal patients.

The Denton A. Cooley Animal Hospital at the Houston Zoo includes a full suite of diagnostic and treatment facilities, as well as advanced anesthetic monitoring, digital cordless radiography, in-house and portable ultrasound units, rigid and flexible endoscopy, and specialized laboratory equipment. In summer 2017, the staff will move into a brand new medical facility that includes expanded and updated space for the laboratory, large and small animal radiography, surgery, large and small animal treatment, necropsy, and office space.

The Houston Zoo supports staff in professional development such as conferences, workshops, and other learning opportunities. Members of the veterinary team are involved 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. The veterinary team includes four other veterinarians (including 3 ACZM diplomates), five licensed veterinary technicians (including a veterinary technician supervisor), a hospital manager, four animal care staff (including an animal care staff supervisor), two pest control technicians, and two administrative staff.


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. 

Experience Required

•DVM or VMD or equivalent from an accredited School of Veterinary Medicine. •Three years of exotic animal medicine experience is required, preferably in a zoological facility. •License to practice veterinary medicine in the State of Texas. •Obtain DEA license to use Class 2 narcotics. •USDA category II accreditation to certify health for interstate and international transport of animals. •Must obtain a valid Texas driver’s license. •Ability to work week-ends, holidays, and occasional after-hour assignments. •Preference will be given to candidates that are ACZM Board Certified or Board Eligible.

How to Apply

Houston Zoo
Houston, TX 77030
Fax: 713-533-6758

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