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Kristi and Kaleigh with sloth

Even Lorenzo the sloth needs a checkup sometimes!

Kristi and Kaleigh come into work every day expecting something new. Will it be a blood draw on a rhino? A dental cleaning on a jaguar? An ultrasound on a sea turtle? Our vet techs wear lots of hats, and this National Veterinary Technician Week, we’re taking our hats off to them.

In addition to assisting with procedures, Kristi and Kaleigh also work with the keepers on training certain behaviors. This is for voluntary checkups, which mitigates the need for anesthesia and lowers stress for the animals.

Kristi has worked at the Zoo for almost five years, while Kaleigh is approaching her one-year anniversary with us. Their veterinary technician degrees are from Purdue University and Harrison College, respectively.

Although both women started school with different career paths in mind, Kristi and Kaleigh couldn’t imagine doing anything else. They both love working with such a broad range of species at the Zoo, especially sea turtles!

Advice the duo would give to those wanting to become vet techs is to get as much experience as you can. Say “yes” to every volunteer experience and internship and put in the work… it’ll be worth it in the end!

Kristi and Kaleigh’s commitment to the wellness of our animals is palpable—we couldn’t do what we do without them. If you spot our vet techs around the Zoo, make sure to thank them for their hard work!