Veterinary Assistant students take a field trip to the San Diego Zoo
The veterinary assistant students went on a field trip to the San Diego Zoo; we talked to the instructor to see what they learned
What did you learn while at the zoo? “They learned about a lot of different species. They looked for ailments that can affect those animals. They also got a chance to see exotic animals in a natural environment.”
What did you emphasize to your students about the animals? “I wanted them to watch and monitor the animals. Since the module we are on is talking about diseases, so I wanted them to observe them and make sure that there was nothing going on with them.”
What did they learn that they couldn’t have if they hadn’t taken the trip and seen the animals? “Honestly, you can’t replace seeing a live animal, even if you are not really close to it. You can see a healthy coat that shines in the light. You also get to see how much some of these animals are that a photograph just couldn’t show. You just can’t substitute that experience.”
What animal at the zoo brought the most teaching moments? “I think the one animal that I was able to teach the most about was the pandas. That was one of their newest animals there and the person who was talking about them was really helpful. They also provided a lot of information on animals that are on the extinction list.”
Is working at a zoo something a VA may be able to do? “It’s definitely a possibility when you are done with the program. The Zoo is always looking for volunteers. Working at a zoo is a real possibility for a student if that was what they really wanted to do.”
What is the benefit of going and seeing exotic animals like the ones at the zoo? “They may never get a chance to see these animals again. They got an experience so if they were ever to run into these animals, they have some experience in observing these animals in real life.”
What is the most important thing the students learned on their trip? “It’s really important to see what a healthy animal looks like. When they can see what a healthy animal looks it is much easier for a veterinary assistant to understand what an unhealthy animal looks like.”
What did the students learn at the zoo that they didn’t learn at the farm? “The quality and quantity of animals are unparalleled. The people who spoke about the animals and the people taking care of the animals are top notch. They also got to see more exotic animals that a farm does not offer.”
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