Loop Abroad: Virtual Veterinary Internships

Contact: (617) 833-3823

Overview

Choose from one of our fascinating virtual internships for an opportunity learn from and support the important work of our partner projects around the world. You'll get to shadow experts as they work with animals in need, including elephants, sloths, raptors, toucans, koalas and more! 

We have four virtual internship opportunities for you to choose from!

1. Animal Rescue Internship Online

Join us to learn real-world clinical skills directly from a veterinarian and contribute resources to help cats and dogs in need in communities across Chiang Mai province.

You will shadow the Loop Abroad veterinary team as they visit and support several rescue projects in need of veterinary services. Your tuition sponsors the time, medicine, and supplies especially needed now as many families can no longer afford to take care of their animals.

You’ll start by learning the basics – restraint, physical exams, and common diseases – but it’s all in preparation for Surgery Week. During the final week, you’ll be observing spay and neuter surgeries to study surgical techniques and reproductive anatomy as your veterinarian instructor provides free sterilizations for community animals.

Adopt Meow Cat Shelter:
No cat center in the area has been continuing to move more stray cats and kittens from the street into forever homes than Adopt Meow. But volunteers are scarce, especially now during COVID, and it takes a lot of veterinary care to keep accepting stray cats during this time. This center is 100% run on donations.

At this center, you’ll be discussing the following topics as the veterinarian demonstrate clinical skills:

  • Cat and dog shelter design, quarantine protocols, and managing infectious diseases- Common cat and dog infections in tropical environments
  • Cat restraint and human safety
  • Cat physical exam techniques – what to look for
  • Preventative medicine for kittens and adult cats, including how to identify cat’s ages and sexes
  • Blood collection and FIV/FeLV/FIP tests- Feline skin, fecal, and ear samples – collecting and processing

Dog Rescue Clinic:
Provide free physical exams, flea treatments, eye treatments, and spay and neuter surgeries for dogs throughout the community surrounding the Dog Rescue Clinic.

At the clinic you will be observing and learning about:

  • Canine behavior and restraint
  • The stray dog situation in Thailand, including a special focus on dogs that live at Buddhist temples where monks feed them and we visit to provide vaccines and treatments
  • Canine physical exams- SOAP notes
  • Skin and ear samples and cytology and identification of common skin diseases in Thailand
  • Blood draw technique, blood smears, and hematocrit tests
  • Fecal floats
  • Disabled dogs and their treatment
  • Visiting a Thai animal hospital

Spay and neuter week:
Your final week will focus on surgical techniques. Even if you have observed or assisted with a surgery before, you’re bound to learn from our instructor team as they explain the why and how of what they are doing.

During this week, you’ll cover:

  • Anesthesia
  • Reproductive anatomy
  • Suture patterns
  • Sterile gloving techniques and surgery instruments
  • Drug dose calculations, fluid calculations
  • Canine and feline spay and neuter techniques
  • Post-operative exams and follow-up care
  • Role of sterilizations, fostering, and adoption

 

2. Belize Raptor Internship Online

Loop Abroad, in collaboration with CELA-Belize, is proud to offer this ground-breaking online internship with the Belize Raptor Center (BRC), the leader in raptor conservation and rehabilitation in Belize.

Support raptor rescue through medicine, diet, rehabilitation, enrichment and training. Get live exotic animal clinical experience from a veterinarian.

The BRC has made a huge impact helping birds of prey in Belize, but with the recent halt in tourism, they have lost the support they normally receive from international volunteers and visitors. Your tuition and involvement directly supports your personal Raptor Pen Pal, providing the necessary food, shelter, clinical care, rehabilitation, and enrichment for each of the 12 avian residents and transient patients.

The Belize Raptor Center (BRC):
The BRC is led by Sarah Mann, a raptor conservation and rehabilitation expert with a background in wildlife biology and conservation ecology. Sarah’s passion for her work is infectious, and she’s been a favorite among students for many years. Sarah, along with a veterinarian, will be demonstrating husbandry and veterinary skills during the live video sessions while progressing through immersive activities such as:

  • Introduction to the Belize Raptor Center
  • Meet the Birds (Pen Pal Assignments)
  • Basic husbandry and bird care
  • Diet preparation (rat breeding lab)
  • Equipment making
  • Setup, weigh, crate, and tether a bird
  • Live clinical care and studies
  • Mystery cases and detective work
  • Applications of operant conditioning
  • Making a shaping plan for an education bird
  • Bird training
  • Bird rescue, rehabilitation, and release
  • Education programs and community conservation outreach
  • Pre-conditioning, flight training, and creance skills
  • Culminating enrichment design
  • Facilitation and analysis of enrichment plan for your Raptor Pen Pal

 

3. Costa Rica Wildlife Rescue Internship Online

Loop Abroad is proud to offer this remote internship to support the outstanding rescue, rehabilitation, and release work of the Toucan Rescue Ranch in the rainforest of Costa Rica.

Even if you’re stuck at home, you can be learning from this outstanding team of veterinarians and husbandry workers who care for confiscated, sick, and injured animals brought to the Ranch from government agencies. The Toucan Rescue Ranch has special expertise in toucan, owl, and sloth rehabilitation. As a multi-species rescue facility, they care for a wide variety of wildlife such as spider monkeys, wild cats, weasels, and an otter!

During this internship, you’ll be joining the rescue team by video call. You’ll learn about important past cases from Dr. Janet Sandi and Dr. Ana Villada and observe their wildlife clinic live!

Throughout the internship, your veterinarian instructors will be covering these special veterinary topics:

  • Release case histories of sloths, owls, parrots, foxes, and tamanduas
  • Training each species to be ready for life in the wild
  • Evaluating animals for release, with a focus on sloths and the Saving Sloths Together program
  • Treating sloth electrocution cases, an unfortunately common occurrence because of power lines built across the rainforest canopy
  • Orthopedic surgery on wildlife with example cases
  • Hand raising techniques for baby sloths and parrots as taught by the Ranch Founder Leslie Howle
  • Enrichment and husbandry of rainforest wildlife

Toucan Rescue Ranch:
The Toucan Rescue Ranch is internationally recognized for its success in wildlife rehabilitation and release. Founded in 2004, they proved their expertise as the only facility in Costa Rica to have success with parent raised captive bred emerald toucanets and keel-billed toucans. Recognizing their accomplishments, the Costa Rican government began sending more confiscated and injured animals of a whole variety for rehabilitation. Toucan Rescue Ranch now has a 16-acre headquarters and 25-acre Release Site for their wildlife rehabilitation work.

The Toucan Rescue Ranch has cared for hundreds of animals over 170 different species of Costa Rican wildlife and is currently home to the following species:

  • Emerald toucanet
  • Great green macaw
  • Collared aracari
  • Spectacled owl
  • Hoffman’s two-toed sloth
  • Brown-throated three-toed sloth
  • Black-handed spider monkey
  • Neotropical river otter
  • Oncilla
  • Deby’s wooly opossum
  • Mexican hairy dwarf porcupine
  • Ocelot
  • Kinkajou
  • Bat falcon

 

4. Vets Around the World Internship

Why choose animals on one continent when you can participate in an internship spanning four!?

Highlights:

  • Get to know the Elephant Nature Park in Thailand up-close and personal
  • Veterinarian-led live internship experiences with dogs, cats, and elephants in Thailand on weekday evenings
  • Weekend conferences expose you to the wide world of veterinary medicine, including avian, equine, exotic, zoo, wildlife, research, and conservation medicine
  • Learn animal rescue, rehabilitation, conservation, and veterinary medicine from expert veterinarians
  • Live demonstrations with elephants, big cats, koalas, toucans, sloths, crocodiles, raptors, horses, and more
  • Help fund important conservation projects on four different continents

In this virtual internship spanning four continents, you'll have the opportunity to attend veterinarian-led experiences with an array of animals in need.

You'll be able to participate in:

1. Live Internship in Thailand on Weekdays
Join our Thai veterinary team as they visit nearby cat and dog rescues, shelters, and clinics wherever they are needed.

Week 1: Discovering dogs in Thailand
Week 2: Caring for cats in Thailand
Week 3: Exploring elephants in Thailand

2. Veterinary Conferences Around the World on Weekends
Every Saturday and Sunday, you’ll meet a new expert veterinarian from one of our partner projects in Costa Rica, Belize, South Africa, Australia, and the USA who will introduce you to a new area of veterinary medicine while sharing their passion and knowledge with you.

Conferences include:

  • Live facility tours and an introduction to the project
  • Live demonstrations of training and medical techniques
  • Live discussions
  • Recorded on-site content to showcase particular cases (you’ll debrief these live in a Q&A)
  • Supplementary learning materials on the animals and cases you’ll explore
  • Breaks from live video calls so you can stand up, move around, eat, etc

Our partner projects include:

-- Rainforest Wildlife Rescue and Medicine in Costa Rica
Welcome to the Toucan Rescue Ranch where they rescue not only toucans but also sloths, owls, parrots, foxes, tamanduas, and monkeys. There are over 170 species in all on their 40-acre property, including their own Release Site.

You'll get to join the husbandry team as they introduce you to the animals, many of which were confiscated by government agencies or found injured and brought to the Ranch for rehabilitation. Learn the story of these animals and the rehabilitation techniques they use to prepare them for life in the wild!

You’ll also join the veterinary team in the clinic to witness the medical cases of the day. Every day brings surprises, which may include wound management, burns, surgeries, physical therapy, and evaluating animals to see if they’re ready ready for release!

-- Australian Wildlife Medicine in Australia
Spend the day with Dr. Chloe (AKA The Jungle Doctor) and her colleagues at the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park in Australia, learning all about the medicine and conservation of native Australian wildlife, including echidnas, dingoes, kangaroos, possums, and wallabies.

The Park and its small, on-site hospital were instrumental in the recovery and rehabilitation of over 200 koalas during the fires. Many animals that were deemed unfit for release are still undergoing care. Follow the veterinary and husbandry team as they tend to the animals and teach you about care and management of animals affected by fire.

You’ll also have the opportunity to ask Dr. Chloe questions about her career and pathway to becoming a wildlife vet and what steps you can take in your own academic journey for those interested in pursuing a similar path in wildlife medicine.

-- Big Cat Care and Enrichment in South Africa
Join the team at the Lory Park Zoo in Johannesburg, South Africa to learn all about how research and enrichment improves the lives of animals whether in a zoo or a rescue!

Enrichment can involve food, toys, puzzles, new smells, or infinite creative ways to change an animal’s environment. Every species and every animal requires special attention. The enrichment team will introduce you to the animals and demonstrate their creative enrichment projects. This has been a student favorite among the Zoo Research Fellows!

The key species you’ll learn about are black-footed cats, which are the smallest African cat and are endemic to Southern Africa. Little is known about how to care for these cats in captive environments, but Loop Abroad students have made significant contributions to understanding these cats.

You might think you understand animal behavior by instinct, but it actually takes expert training, which is exactly what Kara, the Park Manager, will share with you as she explains her research. Learn to sharpen your eyes and notice each animal’s subtle body language and behaviors. Research like this is the key to measuring, and improving animal welfare and setting new best practices that are backed by evidence.

-- Crocodiles and Manatee Research in Belize
Internationally-recognized crocodile conservation expert, Dr. Marisa Tellez, will lead this conference from the Placencia Lagoon where the Crocodile Research Center (CRC) conducts scientific research on the conservation and management of crocodiles, their habitat, and adjacent species – including manatees!

The CRC rehabilitates injured and ill crocodiles, and they are a permanent home to several crocodile ambassadors that cannot be reintroduced in the wild. The ambassadors support the CRC’s mission of educating the public on the value of getting better government protection for their home – the Placencia Lagoon ecosystem.

Learn about crocodile research, husbandry, rehabilitation, and conservation. Start with the biology, physiology, and immunology of crocodiles. Crocodilians have unique features that are not observed in any other animal due to their evolutionary lineage! Dr. Tellez will also discuss common diseases in captive and wild crocs.

Training is a key part of taking good care of captive crocs. Dr. Tellez will explain target training and desensitization and provide a live demonstration of these low-stress training methods so you can see how they build a trusting relationship between animals and keepers. To conclude the day, Dr. Tellez will explain how researchers utilize drone technology to learn more about crocodile and manatee ecology, and discuss the protocol for conducting crocodile and manatee necropsies.

-- Avian Medicine in Belize
The Belize Raptor Center (BRC) is a jungle sanctuary for non-releasable and transient rehabilitated raptors to thrive in their natural habitat. The sanctuary is 100% off-grid and is quite a challenge to reach! We’ve implemented state-of-the-art renewable technology powered by rain and solar to give you exclusive access to this remarkable facility.

Sarah Mann (BRC founder and Belize’s only Raptor Rehabilitator) and a veterinarian will facilitate this day covering all aspects of raptor veterinary care and rehabilitation.

Start with field lectures on initial avian intake, physical exams and assessments, and fluid therapy. Then the veterinarian will dive into lectures on avian fractures, wound care, and common medical conditions. All lectures will be supplemented with real-time demonstration of blood draws, fecals, and x-rays.

After lunch, the veterinarian will perform a live necropsy, walking students through the anatomy and physiology of the avian respiratory and gastrointestinal systems and assessing disease progression. Finally, Rehabilitator Sarah Mann will show live demonstrations of raptor physical therapy, pre-conditioning, and release of the transient patients at the clinic.

-- Equine Medicine in the USA
The Equine Medicine Conference will be led by veterinary anesthesiologist, Lori Bidwell. Dr. Bidwell is the co-founder of East-West Equine Sports Medicine, a diplomat of the American College of Veterinary Anesthesiologists, and a certified veterinary acupuncturist and massage therapist. For this conference, you’ll have access to pre-recorded lectures on:

  • Equine Anatomy and Physiology
  • Horse Handling, Physical Exams, and Equestrian Basics
  • Equine Nutrition, Husbandry, and Preventative Medicine
  • Equine Sports Medicine and Alternative Therapies

You will also join Dr. Bidwell in live demonstrations of the concepts discussed in lecture and shadow her and her team as they work up cases and provide treatments to sport horses who come through their clinic.

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