LARA CROFT Aquatic an­i­mal vet

WITH First Ca­reers you will meet a lot of dif­fer­ent peo­ple with lots of dif­fer­ent jobs! Lara is a vet at SeaWorld Parks & En­ter­tain­ment and has to look af­ter an­i­mals of all shapes and sizes, from sharks to geckos and ar­madil­los!

First News - - FIRST CAREERS -

What I do

I’m the se­nior vet­eri­nar­ian for the SeaWorld Parks in Or­lando.

How I got my job

I de­cided at a young age that I wanted to be a SeaWorld vet. I did an in­tern­ship at the New Eng­land Aquar­ium and got my first taste of fish medicine, so to speak, as well as res­cue and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion for cold-stunned sea tur­tles and sick seals. That ex­pe­ri­ence got me hooked and con­firmed my ca­reer choice. I did a lot of school! Four years of un­der­grad­u­ate col­lege, four years of ve­teri­nary school, one year in­tern­ship and three years of res­i­dency spe­cial­is­ing in aquatic an­i­mal medicine.

What I love about my job

My favourite part of the job is that I get to work with amaz­ing an­i­mals and truly ded­i­cated and tal­ented peo­ple. I love the va­ri­ety – I can go from ex­am­in­ing a 10g bird to a 2,500kg killer whale. Also, I love do­ing the wildlife res­cue and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion. It’s ex­tremely re­ward­ing to feel like I can make a dif­fer­ence for in­jured, sick or or­phaned an­i­mals.

What’s dif­fi­cult about my job

The hours can be long and I of­ten work week­ends or hol­i­days. There is a vet at the park ev­ery day of the year and one of us is on call 24/7. Res­cues can hap­pen any­time on pretty short notice, so it can be chal­leng­ing to bal­ance my work and home life.

What skills I need

An aquatic vet­eri­nar­ian needs good crit­i­cal think­ing and prob­lem solv­ing skills, and you have to think fast on your toes in emer­gen­cies. Since our pa­tients can’t talk, fig­ur­ing out what’s wrong is a bit like putting to­gether a puz­zle: tak­ing find­ings from blood re­sults, X-rays or other tests to come to a di­ag­no­sis. Good com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills are crit­i­cal; I work with a lot of dif­fer­ent keep­ers and train­ers, so it’s im­por­tant that we all work to­gether.

Where should young peo­ple start if they want to do the job, too?

Try to work or vol­un­teer at a ve­teri­nary hos­pi­tal, zoo or aquar­ium to en­sure that it’s a good fit for you – it’s not for the squea­mish! Try to learn ev­ery­thing you can about the species you want to work with. You have to un­der­stand what ‘nor­mal’ looks like be­fore you can recog­nise ab­nor­mal. Also, know­ing about proper diet, hous­ing and rou­tine care, like trim­ming nails, for each species will go a long way to pre­vent­ing dis­ease!

How my job could change in the fu­ture

Ve­teri­nary medicine is con­stantly evolv­ing and we are al­ways look­ing to in­cor­po­rate new tech­nol­ogy that may ben­e­fit our pa­tients. Cool, re­cent de­vel­op­ments in­clude cre­at­ing a new formula for or­phaned man­a­tee calves to more closely mimic man­a­tee milk, or tak­ing more than 25 older pen­guins for cataract surgery to re­store vi­sion. Who knows what the fu­ture will hold?!

Our reporter went to SeaWorld to talk to Lara and find out more about the vi­tal work that she does. Just go to first.news/sea­world­vet to see it.

You can learn about lots more ca­reers at: first­ca­reers.co.uk

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