Wildlife Medicine

Wildlife rehabilitation medicine is a field within the profession of veterinary medicine that focuses on the health management of wildlife species. Our goal is to restore health and function to sick and injured wild animal patients to enable them to survive in the wild. Wildlife rehabilitation medicine entails all the aspects of veterinary medicine that most people are familiar with, such as surgery and diagnostic testing.

How it’s different

A significant difference is that our patients are wild and are not destined to spend their lives in captivity. Because their instinct is to resist captivity as a means of survival, treatment decisions take into consideration the stress level of the animal being handled. Additionally, we are extremely careful not to let the animals become habituated to humans.

Another major difference is that we work with hundreds of species of mammals and birds (and an occasional reptile and amphibian) rather than one or a few. At any moment, we may receive a species we have not yet treated. We must constantly keep educating ourselves and refining our procedures to meet the needs of so many different animals.

Veterinary expertise

PAWS Wildlife Center is a full-service rehabilitation facility and hospital devoted exclusively to wildlife species. We are fully equipped to treat minor and major injuries and disease, perform specialized surgeries and do diagnostic testing, including X-ray and ultrasound procedures.
PAWS employs a full-time wildlife veterinarian and veterinary technician to enable us to properly serve the medical needs of thousands of wild patients each year. We are the only wildlife rehabilitation center in Washington State equipped with immediate and continual veterinary expertise and services, all in-house.

Education and training

PAWS Wildlife Center is well known for providing students from around the world with hands-on training in wildlife rehabilitation medicine. Because we often have a one to two-year waiting list for our wildlife veterinary externship opportunities, third and fourth year veterinary students should apply for our veterinary externships well in advance.