Every Bird Matters
news and views from international bird rescue

June 25, 2020

Wildlife Veterinary Internship Pilot Underway – Funding Sought for Future Rounds

Veterinarian intern, Dr. Casey Martinez, working in surgery at the San Francisco Bay-Delta Wildlife Center.

In June, Bird Rescue welcomed Dr. Casey Martinez, recent graduate from the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California-Davis, as the first participant in our professional wildlife veterinary internship program. Traditional veterinary programs offer very little guidance and training on working with wildlife and Bird Rescue aims to fill this gap. This innovative program is designed to provide advanced veterinary exposure to aquatic, wild bird care for new veterinary graduates as they embark on their veterinary careers.

Within weeks of graduating with her veterinary degree, Dr. Martinez started work at our Northern California Wildlife Center. She has settled into a productive and engaging routine working with our Director of Research and Veterinary Science, Dr. Rebecca Duerr, our clinic staff, and our pandemic-limited cadre of experienced volunteers. The veterinary internship focuses on medicine and surgery, physical examination to learn what is normal and abnormal for each species and their typical presentations, the distinctive husbandry needs of each species, necropsy with investigation into causes of death while learning species variation in anatomy, and exploring the scientific literature on the species typically cared for at Bird Rescue.

In addition to this spectrum of training, Dr. Martinez will also be managing data collection for a research project evaluating whether the use of sedatives in birds when they are washed is of benefit to their survival through care, a study we are conducting at both California centers in collaboration with Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research, our counterpart on the East Coast.

We are thrilled to have Dr. Casey Martinez on our team for this yearlong program and to be able to share with her the wealth of highly-specialized aquatic bird rehabilitation knowledge that Bird Rescue has gained through its nearly 50-year history. Aquatic wild bird care is a continuously evolving field, so this unique in-depth experience will benefit Dr. Martinez, Bird Rescue, as well as the wider wildlife rehabilitation community where Dr. Martinez hopes to practice for her career.

Our hope is that Bird Rescue’s year-long professional veterinary internship opportunity can be offered to more vet school graduates in coming years. We are actively seeking additional funding to transform this pilot initiative into an ongoing program. Ideally, we would love to host two professional veterinary internships each year, concurrently, at each of our California centers. If you would be interested in sponsoring this program, please contact Director of Philanthropy, Cindy Margulis, at cindy.margulis@birdrescue.org.

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