Zoo Veterinary Internship through Photos


I am LaCheryl Ball, a fourth-year veterinary student at the Virginia Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine and a dual Masters of Public Health student. I am a small animal tracker with an emphasis in wildlife and exotic species medicine.


I originally worked with the Virginia Zoo with the primates during my time at Old Dominion University. I was with the squirrel monkeys, developing an experiment to test the effects and efficacy of enrichment. I was happy to find the Squirrel monkeys I worked with before are still at the Zoo, and have a new baby in tote. I also go to work with the Callimico, also called Goeldi’s monkey, pictured above. It was great to come back and work with primates again.

Virginia Zoo Chickens Education

I started most mornings with this gorgeous girl, Merle. We examined the chickens and found that she had a recurrent Bumble Foot infection. We treated it each day by disinfecting it, debriding dead tissue, applying antibiotics and wrapping the foot. She was brought to the hospital with her very vocal best friend Madelyn.

Virginia Zoo Intern Physical Exams

The rest of the morning was spent performing physical exams on other animals around the Zoo. Physical exams often included getting blood samples, taking radiographs and auscultating each animal. So many species, so little time!

Virginia Zoo Intern Wellness

As a veterinary student, I am, of course, interested in the animals. But, the Virginia Zoo is so much more than that. Veterinarian Dr. Amanda Guthrie and I discussed species survival plans, conservation, sustainability, zoonotic diseases, international efforts toward animal welfare and policies.

One part of my day that I always enjoyed was harvesting some of the amazing fresh fruits and vegetables in the Virginia Zoo gardens. The Virginia Zoo is different than others because its gardens not only help educate the public and are gorgeous to look at, but they help supply food to the animals at the Zoo. What an amazing idea and dedication to sustainability by the Virginia Zoo. The horticulture team is phenomenal!


Meet our hospital house porcupine, Chorro. He is a live wire and loves corn that we picked from the gardens. Watching him learn and play was a great part of every day of my externship at the Virginia Zoo.


Needless to say, I had the MOST AMAZING TIME, EVER, at the Virginia Zoo! This has been one of the best experiences of my life! Thank you!