Milwaukee Co. Zoo: Veterinarians expand their animal knowledge through unique residency program

MILWAUKEE -- It's a perfect day to head to the Milwaukee County Zoo, but have you ever thought about who takes care of those animals? A unique program at the zoo teaches veterinary residents how to treat everything from a seahorse to a polar bear.

It's a view of the animals you'd never get to see when visiting the zoo, but it's all part of a days work for veterinary resident Dr. Jennifer Hausmann.

"Everything on zoo grounds that is an animal, I treat," said Dr. Hausmann.

The Milwaukee County Zoo began offering a residency program for veterinarians specializing in zoo medicine about sixteen years ago, providing real-life hands-on experience.

"Where do you get blood from an animal, where do you put a catheter in, how do you pick them up, how do you hold them, how do you work with the keepers so everyone is safe," explained Dr. Roberta Wallace, senior staff veterinarian.

Dr. Hausmann is in her third and final year of the program and every day is different.

"Vaccinations, checking animals blood pressure -- things like that. Then I have emergency cases as well," said Hausmann.

As her passion is working on what she calls the, "strange animals."

"I enjoy the challenge of learning about all these very different species," Hausmann said.

When the program begins the residents are closely monitored but eventually they're on their own.

With only months left in the program, Dr. Hausmann is enjoying her final days with the patients she's grown to love.