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Shedd Aquarium


The preceptorship program at the Shedd Aquarium offers exposure to the veterinary management of a large and diverse collection of fishes, marine mammals, amphibians, reptiles, birds, non-marine mammals and invertebrates. Students work closely with the veterinary staff (includes 3 veterinarians, a veterinary resident, 4 veterinary technicians, staff microbiologist and water quality personnel). Responsibilities are assigned based on each student's level of interest and aptitude. Students must complete a project, which will be determined in the first week of the preceptorship.


Associate Veterinarians and special expertise available

Veterinary staff:  the veterinarians have a collective 30+ years of experience in aquatic animal medicine, including postgraduate training in medicine, surgery and aquatic animal medicine.

Educational Resources

  • Full service aquatic sciences library
  • Bimonthly zoological journal club is held with Brookfield and Lincoln Park Zoos
  • Daily rounds
  • Weekly collection manager meetings
  • Access to medical library and database, both in the lab and online


  • Complete and present a topical and primary source researched PowerPoint presentation to an audience of peers
  • There will be numerous small projects that will be completed at the discretion of the veterinarian in charge
  • Become competent at general diagnostic techniques used in fish medicine, including anesthesia
  •  Become acquainted with marine mammal medicine basics
  • Learn general fish and marine mammal anatomy
  • Learn phlebotomy sites of animals in the collection and basic clinical pathology
  • To be able to set up for animal procedures, tomonitor patients under anesthesia
  • To perform treatments as dictated by the on-duty veterinarian
  • Understanding basic water quality
  • To be able to perform a fish necropsy
  • Attend bimonthly department meetings and journal club

Student Supervision

Students will have full access to the veterinarians during all times during the preceptorship (8am - 5pm, 5 days per week). In addition to shadowing and assisting the veterinarians, they will shadow the experienced veterinary technologists and spend some time learning aquatic animal husbandry from the animal care staff.


Student housing and stipends are not available. Some students have been able to arrange boarding accommodations with Shedd employees, but this is uncommon.

Practice Information

Ms. Tanya Salvey, Adm. Assistant
John G. Shedd Aquarium
Department of Animal Health
1200 South Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60605

ph: 312-692-3232


Signature on file: Caryn P. Poll, DVM
Updated: 10-2-08

Chicago IL
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