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Wildlife Center of Virginia


The Wildlife Center of Virginia is a non-profit hospital for native wildlife located in Waynesboro in the Shenandoah Valley . Over 2500 injured and orphaned wild mammals, birds and reptiles are treated yearly at the Center. The 5700 square foot state of the art hospital is fully equipped with gas anesthesia, endoscopy, radiographic equipment, laboratory facilities, inside and outside holding areas, and flight cages.

At any one time there are between 60 and 200 animals on the premises. The case load varies by season. The largest caseload is seen in the spring and summer. In spring, there are many baby animals (orphaned birds and mammals), in the summer, more box turtles and infectious disease cases. Late fall/winter is raptor season with more surgical/medical (orthopedic and ophthalmic)cases.

The length of the externship varies from two to six weeks. Since 1986 over 400 externs from all U.S. vet schools and 30 different countries have studied at the Wildlife Center. The workday runs from 8am to 5pm (or later during the busy season), seven days a week. After hour emergency duty is shared between the intern, fellow and extern students. The extern is expected to work weekends, and will be given one weekday off per week worked. If the extern is scheduled for a period of six weeks or longer, two days off a week will be given.

NOTE: When applying the extern should include a copy of his or her curriculum vitae, a letter explaining career goals, and the time period desired.


Associate Veterinarians and special expertise available

The animal care staff includes the hospital director and wildlife veterinarian, Dr. Dave McRuer, a veterinary fellow, a veterinary intern, a licensed veterinary technician, and four licensed wildlife rehabilitators. In addition, there is a volunteer staff of over two hundred people.

Educational Resources

  • The veterinarians and externs have monthly journal and topic rounds.
  • In addition, externs receive weekly core lectures and labs given by one of the veterinarians.
  • The Wildlife Center recently switched to a paperless customized computer Patient Management System.
  • Current textbooks and journals are available for students to checkout overnight.


Students are involved in all aspects of wildlife patient care and diagnostics. Therefore, externs get a lot of hands-on experience. We see about 2500 native species a year- from birds (song birds, owls, eagles, hawks and some waterfowl), to reptiles, rabbits, bears, squirrels, opossums, etc. The staff rehabbers work with the students on capture and restraint, nutrition, husbandry and enrichment. Students are expected to complete a short project. The length of the project will vary with the length of the externship. Three-week externs may present a summary paper about a specific disease, for example, while externs here for a longer time could work on a more in-depth research project.

Student Supervision

The students will always be either directly under veterinary supervision in the clinic or at least available to consult with the veterinarian on duty.


There is a new student house about 3 miles from the center where students can stay for $75 a week.

Practice Information

Wildlife Center of Virginia
PO Box 1557
Waynesboro, VA 22980

Ph: 540-942-9453
Fax: 540-943-9453


Updated: 8/7/09
Signature on file: Dave McRuer, Diplomate ACVPM

Waynesboro, VA
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