Veterinary Internships

National Wildlife Centre

Veterinary Internship Program





The National Wildlife Centre’s veterinary program is national in scope and trains many wildlife veterinary students and veterinary graduates in wildlife medicine. Our primary focus is to provide the highest quality of medicine for Canadian wildlife in partnership with authorized wildlife rehabilitators across the country.

This unique position combines hands-on supervision training along with the use of innovative technology solutions to carry out a robust and diverse caseload of wildlife patients in need of diagnostics, treatments, and surgeries. The position will be based in Nova Scotia, onsite at Hope for Wildlife. The veterinary intern will be trained by the National Wildlife Centre’s medical team and work closely and collaboratively with the staff and leadership at Hope for Wildlife.

Onsite accommodation is provided. Transportation and other living expenses are not included.


The internship program is designed to provide veterinarians with hands-on experience in wildlife medicine, surgery and rehabilitation. S/he will gain experience in Canadian wildlife regarding: assessment, physical examination, stabilization, laboratory analysis options, radiography, chemical immobilization, anesthesia, common surgical procedures, basic orthopedics, current therapy (including analgesics & antibiotics used in wildlife), and necropsy examinations where appropriate. The intern will report directly to head veterinarian at the National Wildlife Centre (NWC).


Qualifications & Experience  

Because of the uniqueness of this position, there will be significant time where the intern will be mentored remotely using technology (webcam, Skype, telephone etc). The intern must be willing to travel from Nova Scotia to Ontario (expenses paid) on average once a month for approximately 2-3 days at a time, and for approximately 5 days at the beginning of the internship program.

Reporting to the head veterinarian, NWC, the wildlife veterinary intern is responsible for the overall health and care of wildlife patients at the wildlife rehabilitation centre. As a result, the incumbent:

  • Must have a DVM/VMD degree from an AAVMC accredited veterinary school and be eligible for licensure in the province of Nova Scotia
  • Must have completed a small animal rotating internship or have equivalent experience in medicine and surgery
  • Must have some prior experience and familiarity with wildlife handling and housing
  • Be able to work cooperatively and enthusiastically within the rehabilitation and healthcare team, including volunteers
  • Be available six days a week for 40-60 hours a week with flexibility in the schedule based on need and caseload. This includes some evening, weekend, and on-call work. Fewer hours are expected in the winter months on average as case loads decline
  • Be familiar with avian, reptile, and comparative mammal anatomy, physiology and clinical pathology
  • Be able to work independently and work up cases
  • Be able to work collaboratively with peers either in person or using a technology solution (e.g. Skype)
  • Be prepared every morning to discuss cases in a systemic way (signalment, presenting complain, ddx, further dx ideal versus required/practical, treatment plan, px)
  • Be professional, punctual, and dress appropriately (scrubs or scrub top and pants that can get dirty during clinics; professional for external meetings/conferences)
  • Have a professional and positive attitude and a good work ethic – be a positive influence on staff & volunteers
  • Contribute in a positive way to teamwork, fostering collegial and professional relationships
  • Keep excellent medical records and follow protocols of NWC
  • Have an open mind to multiple ways to approach wildlife cases based on limited resources by the rehabilitators, yet without ever compromising patient care
  • Always keep the patient’s best interest in mind:  look for new opportunities to tackle old problems

Position Description: 85% Clinical, 15% Administrative

Clinical and Mentoring Requirements – 85%

  • Perform physical examinations safely and humanely of wildlife patients while minimizing stress
  • Diagnose and treat disease, illnesses and injuries
  • Ensure patient comfort and welfare is maintained, including providing and prescribing analgesics for our patients for discomfort
  • Perform surgeries as required and as directed under the supervision of the head veterinarian
  • Euthanize patients that are non-releasable (in consultation with the wildlife rehabilitator and the supervising wildlife veterinarian)
  • Maintain in a timely manner, medical records, drug and surgery/anesthesia logs (including reconciling controlled drugs & logs)
  • Ensure e-medical records are kept up to date on a daily basis
  • Ensure biosecurity to the highest level is practiced, and where necessary propose and implement appropriate protocols
  • Educate students, public, and rehabilitators on biosecurity recommendations
  • Oversee/coach student veterinarians or veterinary tech students who may come on rotation. (Note – these must be pre-approved by the Executive Director (ED) of NWC and HFW)
  • Ensure the most up-to-date, evidence-based medicine is practiced
  • Identify unique opportunities for clinical research and outreach communications (including taking photos of animals for social media where and when appropriate)
  • Oversee the welfare of the wildlife patients: ensure voices are kept quiet, heads of patients are covered. Teach others how to minimize stress in patients by becoming a role model. Under no circumstance is the public permitted to view animals during medical treatment and care unless through a web-cam, one-way viewing glass, or unless the animal is anesthetized, etc. This is critical for the well-being of the patients.
  • Ensure surgery and pre-surgery is always prepped; equipment is sterile, medical supplies are stocked and advise ED (NWC and HFW) when inventories are getting depleted
  • Provide at least three education seminars geared towards professionals: wildlife rehabilitators and their volunteers, veterinary clinics, veterinary technician students, etc. Topics and content to be discussed / approved by the ED of NWC and HFW
  • Provide lectures at conferences / wildlife rehabilitation meetings as appropriate and as pre-approved
  • Develop and propose to ED standard protocols and procedures for various new practices. These include but are not limited to: triage, fracture stabilization, basic lab tests (eg. fecal, basic blood work and cytology), wound management, analgesics for the hospital patients, feeding, etc.
  • Ensure adequate nutrition is available (inventory) and provided to all patients
  • Oversee all ICU patients in care
  • Oversee student veterinarians, visiting veterinarians, and volunteer animal care helpers to ensure they are handling wildlife properly
  • Be on call as necessary and be available for telephone assistance when requested by staff
  • Provide daily assessments of all animals under medical care
  • Administer treatments on a patient-by-patient basis depending on status (eg. medications, fluids, thermoregulation, wound management, etc).
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate! Discuss every case on a daily basis (if possible) with supervising wildlife veterinarian and senior staff at HFW
  • Ensure we exceed minimum standards (as described by NWRA/IWRC) for our patients
  • Conduct post-mortems on patients as necessary to learn from what may have happened; and/or send to CWCH (for non-rehabbed patients) if appropriate.
  • Investigate and document new and best practices in wildlife medicine (evidence-based only).
  • Participate in research projects
  • Develop medical training resources and deliver to volunteers involved in the medical cases. Re-train, coach, mentor and evaluate volunteer performance on a regular basis and as needed
  • Meet daily with those volunteers who may be working in the hospital at the beginning of each day to discuss cases, assign duties & tasks, and to educate on various topics as seen in the wildlife hospital (supervising veterinarian to attend as many of those as possible – either by phone or in person)
  • Oversee health and safety of volunteers and patients (eg. rabies vaccinations requirements for anyone handling RVS; Only allowing trained people to handle animals under medical care)
  • Assist in developing and delivering wildlife medicine and rehabilitation courses as needed and as discussed with ED
  • Participating in medical case rounds daily with NWC national medical healthcare team

Administration – 15%

  • Ensure appropriate social media is used in some capacity to positively promote NWC and HFW. Communication messages should be discussed with EDs at the beginning – to be sure messaging is consistent with image that we are trying to portray. Eg. no graphic pictures/video; no videos/pics where people are not wearing gloves; no pics where the public is seen with animals; any pictures or film where the intern is present with an animal that is awake must have its eyes covered and voices must be in a whisper or no talking at all. Stress must be minimized. This needs to be a modeled behaviour by the intern and strictly enforced by the intern.
  • Assist with grant writing or other forms of fundraising when requested. Research into what wildlife medicine grants may be coming up, discuss with EDs. Be a spokesperson for NWC and HFW to positively promote the work we do, helping wildlife, helping people.  Always be professional, courteous, non-judgmental of other rehabilitators or centres.
  • Implement e-medical record changes, updates, upgrades. Ensure e-records are used daily for main method of communication. Maintain up-to-date drug logs and e-records on a daily basis. Reconcile logs at least weekly. Print logs, treatment schedules etc.  Investigate analytical tools to obtain data that will help in decision making
  • Help mentor and coach volunteers engaged in medical cases. Assess volunteer performance: animal handling, record keeping etc.
  • Oversee day-to-day questions / operational requirements and liaise with ED / facilities manager as needed
  • Prepare and prioritize ‘wish’ lists for equipment, supplies, housing, etc. and communicate with ED
  • Assist with recruitment, position description development for veterinary intern starting July 1, 2018 through matching program (September, 2017) if needed
  • Ensure equipment is maintained (anesthesia, microscope, autoclave, etc) and well-taken care of as well as updating equipment use guidelines
  • Ensure drugs are locked up and building (when available) is locked


Start date:           May 15,  2017

End date:            June 30, 2018

Salary and Benefits

  • $16,000 per annum
  • Onsite accommodation in a studio apartment for the 13-month internship period is provided.
  • $500 allowance for continuing education plus up to 3 days CE paid time off
  • Nova Scotia Veterinary License paid for in 2017 and 2018 (estimated $2000)
  • 10 days vacation

Application Process

 Please include the following with your application:

  • Completed Application Form
  • Current Résumé
  • Cover letter explaining your interest and/or experience in wildlife medicine as well as your career goals
  • Three references, including contact information
  • Current proof of protective rabies titre