Exotic Animals: Working as a Vet in Florida

Exotic Animals: Working as a Vet in Florida

Veterinarians everywhere work with a variety of animals on a daily basis. But thanks to differences in climate and geography, some veterinarians specialize in local animals that other states simply don’t have.

Florida, with its tropical climate and unique species, is a prime example.

Veterinary Specializations in Florida

Because of Florida’s unique flora and fauna, veterinarians in the Sunshine State have to deal with a bevy of exotic animals.

These include poisonous bufo toads, alligators (some are even kept as pets), lizards and venomous snakes like the coral snake and the cottonmouth/water moccasin. Many of these animals live near or in lakes, rivers and ditches.

Florida vets help inform the public about the dangers of these animals. But in the inevitable event that a human or animal is exposed or injured, these vets (along with Fish and Wildlife representatives), can be called to respond at the scene. They may capture, care for, or euthanize the animals as necessary. Aquatic (or marine) animals are another area of veterinarian specialization common to Florida.

A relatively new specialty, aquatic animal veterinarians tend and treat aquatic invertebrates, sea turtles, marine mammals like dolphins and manatees, and a variety of fish.

Aquariums employ aquatic veterinarians because animals in captivity require special treatment and medication. In fact, getting trained in aquatic veterinary medicine in Florida can help prepare you to work at aquariums across the country.

A specialization in aquatic animals can include a research concentration in environmental science, wildlife health, aquaculture medicine, and clinical research.

Veterinarians who want to work exclusively with fish can get a certificate in fish pathology available from the American Fisheries Association.

Veterinary Schools in Florida

The University of Florida offers a specialization in marine animal health at its College of Veterinary Medicine and the Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience.

The College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Florida is the only veterinary college in Florida that offers the four-year Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree.

The college's specialization in aquatic health also has a graduate level program that includes both a Master of Science and a PhD degree.

Before specializing in aquatic animal health, you’ll need to complete a four-year DVM degree. The specialization can include a combination of internships, residencies and graduate courses of study.

Veterinary technicians and technologists in Florida can be trained at vet tech schools that include Brevard Community College, Hillsborough Community College, Miami-Dade College and St. Petersburg College.

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