Celebrating Animal Health Care Staff: Kaitlin Eagle, Veterinary Assistant

The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is celebrating National Veterinary Technician Week, October 13 through October 19, by profiling our hard-working animal health care staff, including Kaitlin Eagle, Veterinary Assistant.

Kaitlin with Elephant Art

How long have you worked at the Zoo?

I started with the Zoo in January, but I’ve been working in the veterinary field since 2011 and in the zoo field since 2015. I started with Cincinnati Zoo’s Wild Encounters department in 2015 and then was a volunteer keeper with the elephant and reptile departments until relocating to OKC.

Who has been your favorite patient and why?

It’s tough to pick a favorite because they are all so different but I become attached to any patient that spends time in the hospital. They become part of your day and when they leave you miss them. But if I had to pick, there was a bobwhite quail here for a few weeks that would be really good when I handled him and Mercury the spider monkey always says hello when we walk by.

Do you have a species or group of animals you enjoy working with most?

I get asked this all the time and I think my answer changes every time. Right now, I would say primates are my favorite to work with because I’ve never really had an opportunity to work with them before and I’m learning so many things.

Kaitlin Conducting Exam

What is your favorite part about working at the OKC Zoo?

My favorite part about working for the OKC Zoo is being so open to the public. I love that the hospital is on view all the time and I love answering questions from social media during our exams. The openness of the OKC is actually the reason this was my dream zoo to work for.

What’s a fun fact about you?

Halloween is my favorite holiday and I love it so much that I usually spend October either acting in a haunted house or traveling to haunted houses all across the country.

Do you have any advice for kids who would like to be a vet tech or vet assistant?

The best advice I can give to anyone interested in the veterinary field or zoo field is to get started anyway you can. I started in a dog daycare and kept taking opportunities as they came. I also volunteered for years before I got a full time zoo job. Keep an open mind, I originally thought that I wanted to be a big cat keeper but when I started in the veterinary field I fell in love with the medical side of animal care. Don’t give up, it can be a tough field to get into, but once you find your place you get to go to a job that you love and is different every day.

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