Brevard Zoo staff veterinarian Dr Kyle Donnelly pushes the boundaries of treatment and research

Dr. Kyle Donnelly is a GRADUATE OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA Veterinary School

In honor of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science on February 11, Brevard Zoo officials spotlighted Brevard Zoo staff veterinarian Kyle Donnelly during a question and answer session. . Dr. Donnelly provides all veterinary care for zoo animals, rehabilitates sea turtles, conservation projects, as well as patients at Florida Wildlife Hospital. (picture of Brévard zoo)

“My favorite part of my job is impacting local conservation and wildlife.”

BREVARD COUNTY, FL – In honor of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science on Feb. 11, Brevard Zoo officials spotlighted Brevard Zoo staff veterinarian Kyle Donnelly during a a question-and-answer session.

Dr. Donnelly provides all veterinary care for zoo animals, rehabilitates sea turtles, conservation projects, as well as patients at Florida Wildlife Hospital.

■ Where did you study? I got my BSc and then went to veterinary school where I got my Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and my Masters of Public Health. After graduating, I completed two specialized training courses, followed by a residency in zoological medicine. I graduated from the American College of Zoological Medicine in 2019.

■ How did you choose your domain? I am interested in wildlife conservation and thought about the many ways I could make an impact in this field such as pursuing a PhD, but ultimately chose veterinary medicine because of the variety and the scope of the work in which it allows me to participate.

■ Did or do you have any female mentors or role models in your field? If so, how have they shaped your career path? My mentor Kathy Quesenberry at Animal Medical Center in New York shaped the way I practiced veterinary medicine early in my career. She taught me to stand up for myself, to appreciate the intricacies of exotic animal medicine, and to push the boundaries of what is possible in both treatment and research. I still admire the veterinarian and leader she is today.

■ How would you describe your work at the Zoo? I provide all veterinary care to zoo animals, rehabilitate sea turtles, conservation projects (including Florida grasshopper sparrows, Perdido Key beach mice, and Florida scrub jays), as well as patients at the Florida Wildlife Hospital. My work ranges from routine examinations to the treatment of injuries and illnesses, as well as research that contributes to the understanding of wildlife illnesses and their treatment.

Brevard Zoo veterinarian Dr. Kyle Donnelly earned a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and a Masters of Public Health from the University of Florida before completing a residency at the White Oak Conservation Center in 2019 as part of a program together with the university. (picture of Brévard zoo)

■ What do you like about your job? My favorite part of my job is having an impact on local conservation and wildlife. I subscribe to the “Think Globally, Act Locally” worldview where I can participate in the care, research, reintroduction and release of sea turtles, Florida grasshopper sparrows, Perdido Key beach mice and to the rehabilitation of all manner of native Florida wildlife. My work with zoo animals also has a wider meaning in keeping these animals healthy for the public so that our community can enjoy them and want to conserve them.

■ What are the challenges of your work? Zoological medicine is a complex field where there is a lot of unknown information about the patients I work on as well as challenges associated with obtaining this information. For example, small patients like a darter frog or grasshopper sparrow do not have enough blood to be safely drawn for a full diagnostic panel, and large patients like rhinos and giraffes are too large to be X-rayed. or ultrasound, so I often have to be creative with diagnosis and treatment.

■ What advice do you have for girls or women who want to work in your field? Stay curious about the world around you and work hard.

Brevard Zoo is an independent, non-profit organization that receives no recurring government funding for its operating costs. Your generous support enables the zoo to continue to serve its community and pursue its vital animal welfare, education and conservation programs.

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