Veterinary training and education

RZSS has one of the UK’s most highly qualified in-house veterinary services and is committed to providing training and further education to the next generation of zoo veterinarians. Our team frequently lecture at UK vet schools and speak at both national and international conferences.

In 2013 RZSS became the first certified UK training centre for the European College of Zoo Medicine (ECZM) diploma in Zoo Health Management. The three-year ECZM veterinary residency position provides a qualified veterinary surgeon the opportunity to become a specialist in the field of zoological medicine with the aim of achieving ECZM diplomat status.

In addition, the vet team annually host a select group of students from both the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies and the University of Glasgow, School of Veterinary Medicine as part of their final year clinical rotations. This is a rare opportunity for undergraduate veterinary students to achieve training in the highly specialised field of zoological medicine.

Steph Mota vet doing health check on otter pup

IMAGE: Laura Moore 2022
Meerkat sitting on a rock. IMAGE: Amy Middleton 2023

Extra mural study at Edinburgh Zoo

The team take final year vet students from Glasgow and Edinburgh University veterinary schools for their zoo selective rotations. This has significantly expanded over the last few years and now fills the calendar year. As a consequence, RZSS is not able to offer additional EMS for other students at this time.

Goeldi's monkey magic forest sitting on branch in outdoor area looking up surrounded by leaves Image: AMY MIDDLETON 2023

I want to be a zoo vet

Zoo veterinarians complete the same veterinary undergraduate training as those who work with domestic animals. After graduation significant additional training is then required to specialise into the zoological medicine field. For more information on becoming a veterinary surgeon, please see the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons website. 

More about specialising in zoological medicine
Ring railed lemur on a branch looking at the camera (eye-contact) IMAGE: Amy Middleton (2023)

I want to be a zoo vet nurse

There are currently two routes to becoming a qualified veterinary nurse - either by vocational training or a higher degree. A few additional courses are also available to qualified nurses in order to gain training in exotic and zoo animals. 

More about becoming a veterinary nurse