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Oregon Zoo


This preceptorship is structured according to preceptorship guidelines proposed by the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians. The purpose of our preceptorship program is to expose students to facets of zoological medicine that are most appropriately taught outside the veterinary school, enriching the education of students actively interested in pursuing zoological medicine as a career.

Concepts to be covered during the preceptorship include preventive medicine, capture equipment use and maintenance, employee safety, animal escape plans, necropsy examination techniques, physical exam techniques, micriscopic exam techniques (cytology, microbiology, parasitology), exhibit design, environmental enrichment, behavior training, nutrition, medical records using MedARKS, development of treatment plans, zoo epidemiology, zoonotic diseases, pest control, regulations regarding animal housing and shipping, continuing education and literature search opportunities for zoo veterinarians, conservation issues related to zoos, and other miscellaneous topics.

Our facility includes a full complement of anesthetic, medical and surgical equipment. Most procedures are performed on-site, but nearby veterinary and human medical facilities are used occasionally for advanced diagnostics. A completed Oregon Zoo Preceptorship Application Form is required as well as a current curriculum vitae orresume (usual deadline is late November of the student's junior year). The preceptorship application form is available on the zoo's website or the website of the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians.


Associate Veterinarians and special expertise available

  • Lisa Harrenstien, DVM, associate veterinarian, Diplomate ACZM
  • Mitch Finnegan; DVM, senior veterinarian
  • Both completed internships and residencies in zoo, wildlife and exotic animal medicine.
  • Dr. Harrenstien performed postdoctoral research in reproductive pathology.
  • Both veterinarians are members of the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians and the Association of Avian Veterinarians.
  • Dr. Harrenstien is also a member of the Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians, the Wildlife Disease Association, and the International Association of Aquatic Animal Medicine.

Educational Resources

  • Journals from the abive listed organizations are available along with online electronic journal access.
  • VIN access
  • Many (over 300) medical and taxonomic texts


The preceptor works as an apprentice alongside zoo vet staff and is expected to offer patient management ideas as if they were the primary clinician. The student will see approximately 20 patients (and their followup) per week. The student is required to present a case report or topic summary while here.

Student Supervision

At least 9 hours per day and 5 days per week.



Practice Information

Oregon Zoo
4001 SW Canyon Road
Portland, OR 97221

Ph: 503-226-1561 ext 5230
Fax: 503-220-2797


Updated: 8/7/09
Signature on file: Dr. Lisa Harrenstien

Portland, OR
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