The Living Desert
Home  >  Job Opportunities  >  Staff Head Veterinarian

Staff Head Veterinarian

The Living Desert is seeking well-qualified candidates for the position of Staff Head Veterinarian as part of the animal leadership team. This is a department manager position responsible for the veterinary medical care of over 400, primarily desert, animals. This position works closely with the animal management team to provide the highest quality of care and well-being for the animals, and is a key leadership position, requiring a motivated and dedicated team player willing to make a significant commitment to the organization.

The ideal candidate is an enthusiastic individual who is highly organized, is a strong decision maker, and demonstrates the ability to work and lead effectively with all levels of staff across the organization. Individuals will be able to successfully manage department programs related to preventative care, research, and wildlife conservation. Excellent communication and interpersonal skills are a must.

Competitive candidates will also show the ability to be a strong role model for fellow team members, inspiring others to work toward an exciting future and shared vision, challenging themselves and others to look for progressive ways to improve the Vet Department and the zoo. This position will work closely with the Director of Animal Programs to create a culture of initiative and creativity related to animal care and wildlife conservation.

Position Summary:
This position directly manages and supervises the veterinary team as a department head, and reports to the Director of Animal Programs. The Veterinary team includes an Associate Veterinarian, a Veterinarian Technician and two hospital keepers. The Veterinarian will establish and maintain a professional veterinarian medical program for managing the health of The Living Desert’s animal collection that meets or exceeds contemporary practice standards of zoo veterinary care as outlined by the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians and, as well as is consistent with accreditation standards of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Active and productive collaboration between the vet team and the animal team is critical to the success of this position, and successful candidates will demonstrate their ability to fulfill this role by showing initiative, imagination, progressive thinking and creative problem solving skills related to animal care and wildlife conservation. This position is also responsible for helping to care for The Living Desert’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Facility animals.
• The Veterinary Team
o endeavors to practice state of the art veterinary medicine and maintain high standards of veterinary professionalism.
o must have great enthusiasm for the profession of zoological medicine
o must have a strong ethic and team-oriented work style.
o must perform all job assignments with a positive attitude that will move The Living Desert forward into the future.

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to the following:
• The veterinarian program emphasizes disease prevention, quarantine, parasite surveillance procedures and control, immunization, infectious diseases screening and dental prophylaxis utilizing a risk/benefits analysis system for decision making as it pertains to the medical care of the animal collection
• Advanced management, technical and scientific skills to develop and maintain a preventative medicine program, medical management of the zoo’s animal collection, clinical pathology, pathology, and neonatal nursery
• Healthcare management includes but is not limited to diet/nutrition plans, preventative health care, rehabilitation, surgery, necropsy, quarantine, pest control and wellness
• Able to assess, diagnose, apply surgery skills and treat illness/injury for broad taxonomic group of animals
• Proven ability to research and develop innovative approaches for animal health and nutrition issues
• Provide diagnostic laboratory services in house using outside resources on an as needed basis. This includes but is not limited to routine bloodwork, urinalysis, necropsies
• Maintain the pharmacy which includes regulated drugs and supervises the administration of medications and treatments
• Oversee management of animal medical records for all animals in the TLD collection
• Oversee the Emergency Immobilization Team, ensures all team members are trained and prepared for emergencies
• Manage, counsel and evaluate veterinary staff under guidance of Director of Animal Programs
• Effectively work with Animal Team staff and be fully acquainted with entire animal collection, staff and facilities
• Communication skills for effective working relationships with all Zoo staff both orally and written. Ability to have meaningful dialogue about animal care, well-being, nutrition, breeding, husbandry and housing for the betterment of the quality of life of the animal collection.
• Ability to make goal oriented decisions regarding the welfare of animals & guests.
• Understands AZA, AAZV and USDA standards and strive to meet or exceed current standards for Zoo animal care.
• Develop and participate in field conservation-oriented, educational and promotional programs.
• Develop and cultivate funding sources and partnerships in collaboration with Development team.
• Prepare and manage budget to ensure needed resources are available and appropriately allocated. Utilize funds responsibly.
• Represent and is an advocate for the needs, concerns and capabilities of the Veterinary department
• Produce scientific papers and presents to zoological medical society. Support TLD conservation efforts and other research efforts by collecting samples, gathering and submitting data as appropriate.
• Attend scientific meetings to expand knowledge of Zoological Medicine and apply that knowledge to the medical management of the zoo animal collection.
• Work with other departments and state agencies on a cooperative basis for mutual goals.
• Assure that all actions with animals are legally compliant, and meet professional and ethical standards.

• DVM or VMD or equivalent from an accredited School of Veterinary Medicine
• Three years’ minimum of exotic animal medicine experience preferable in a zoological facility
• Three to five years’ supervisory experience in a zoological facility
• License to practice veterinary medicine in State of California within 3 months of hire date
• Obtain DEA license to use Class 2 narcotics
• Able to certify health for interstate and international transport of animals per USDA
• Must obtain a valid State of California driver’s license. Must be insurable on The Living Desert automobile insurance.

To apply for this position: Qualified candidates must send resume/cv, and cover letter to RoxAnna Breitigan, Director of Animal Programs at Cover letter should include how you will be key in moving the Veterinary Department forward and how you will move The Living Desert mission forward. Please apply by August 31, 2017.

Zoo News