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Job Description: Lead Veterinarian

Contract: Part-Time, 2-Days/week (On-Site)
Status: Hourly, Non-Exempt

General Statement of Duties

The Lead Veterinarian is responsible for the comprehensive medical and surgical care of the Museum’s live animal collections (both program and exhibit). As an integral part of the Curatorial Team, the Lead Veterinarian works with the Museum’s Curatorial Department in the planning and implementation of its veterinary care program to ensure compliance with the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) and the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians (AAZV) current standards and guidelines. The Lead Veterinarian is responsible for reviewing and managing the decisions related to animal health and nutrition, husbandry protocols, animal quarantine protocols, enrichment plans, and infectious disease control measures. This position recognizes the capacity to achieve greater results by integrating skilled volunteers, leveraging their diverse knowledge and skills. He or she must be a practicing veterinarian licensed in the state of Virginia prior to start date. This position reports directly to the Curatorial Director.


  • DVM or VMD degree from an AVMA accredited university or school of veterinary medicine.
  • Must possess and maintain all necessary licenses, permits, certificates and credentials required by the laws of the United States, the State of Virginia and all other appropriate governmental agencies prior to start date (including any certification and credentials required).
  • Must be able to obtain and maintain a DEA controlled substance registration certificate within 3 months of hire.
  • Must be able to obtain and maintain a national USDA/APHIS Category II Accreditation within 3 months of hire.
  • Minimum of 2 years of professional experience practicing veterinary medicine with zoological, exotic companion animal, and/or wildlife species.
  • Demonstrated experience in captive management and health monitoring of zoological species.
  • Thorough knowledge of approved animal husbandry techniques.
  • Familiarity with AZA accreditation standards and related policies.
  • Proof of rabies vaccination and maintain appropriate titers.
  • Must hold and maintain independent insurance and provide proof to the Museum.
  • Willingness to participate in scientific studies and clinical projects.
  • Strong leadership skills; previous experience supervising/mentoring staff, volunteers and/or interns.
  • Above average ability to organize, manage time, and set priorities while meeting deadlines.
  • Effective problem analysis and resolution skills; ability shift priorities to meet needs.
  • Ability to maintain a high level of professionalism, integrity, and confidentiality.
  • Superior verbal and written communication skills.
  • Trained in chemical immobilization techniques.
  • Intermediate level computer knowledge and Microsoft Office skills.
  • Must be able to remain calm and give clear directions in an emergency situation.
  • Must have a valid driver’s license.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Manages a comprehensive veterinary care program for the Museum’s live animal collections (both program and exhibit) based on current AZA Standards and the Guidelines for Zoo and Aquarium Veterinary Medical Programs and Veterinary Hospitals (; ensure that the Museum’s program emphasizes preventative disease control measures.
  • This includes a preventative medicine program, annual examination schedule, quarantine protocol, pre-shipment requirements, disease surveillance, pathology, disinfection of animal enclosures and equipment, and controlled drug protocols.
  • Provides comprehensive medical and surgical care to all collection animals. Responds and addresses all curatorial animal health concerns.
  • Provides emergency on-call coverage for the animal collection 7 days per week via phone and/or on-site visits or delegates coverage to assigned on-call veterinarian(s).
  • Maintains medical records for all collection animals using Species 360.
  • Performs gross necropsies and interprets histopathological results and relays these results to Curatorial staff.
  • Reviews all mortalities and collaborates with Curatorial staff to prevent future mortalities.
  • Review and participate fully in emergency response preparedness including animal escape, venomous bite response, fire, and weather emergencies.
  • Participates in animal collection management with the Museum’s Curatorial Director and all curators.
  • Reviews and manages decision related to animal nutrition plans, husbandry and enrichment protocols, Institutional Collection Plan (ICP) updates, and animal welfare issues.
  • Works with an appointed AZA Veterinary Mentor to ensure that the veterinary program is compliant with current AZA Standards and Guidelines.
  • Establishes and maintains professional relationships with local AZA facility veterinarians and veterinary specialists.
  • Provides annual zoonotic disease training for all staff meeting.
  • Ensures that the Curatorial Team is apprised of relevant laws and regulations regarding the Museum’s live animal collections and maintaining current AZA Standards.
  • Supervises Medical Coordinator and coordinates all animal exams and procedures, veterinary specialist consultation, emergency care, medical treatments, on-site medications and supplies, and veterinary clinic equipment maintenance.
  • Provides and/or coordinates transports of animals leaving the facility for medical care or transfer.
  • Serves on and participates in the Museum’s Safety, and Animal Welfare and Use Committees.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Essential Job Requirements

  • Ability to work flexible hours on-site to include evenings, weekends, and holidays.
  • Ability to be on-call 24 hours, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, unless on-call coverage is deligated to another assigned veterinarian(s).
  • Must be able to express or exchange ideas by means of the spoken word and perceive detailed information through oral communication.
  • Ability to restrain animals to lift and/or exert up to 50 pounds of force.
  • Ability to be around a variety of live animals and wildlife.
  • The candidate must have visual acuity to be able to operate motor vehicles and/or equipment.
  • Must be able to sit, stand, walk, stoop, kneel, crouch, crawl, reach, push, pull, lift, grasp, feel, and utilize repetitive motions.
  • Must be able to move throughout the Museum’s building(s) and outdoor trail as needed.
  • The candidate will be subject to outdoor environmental conditions such as wind and humidity; occasionally work may take place in narrow areas.
  • Must be able to follow MSDS guidelines when handling chemicals; occasionally the candidate may be subject to atmospheric conditions (fumes, odors, and dust).

Qualified applicants please submit VLM application, cover letter, resume, and references to:

Virginia Living Museum
Human Resources
524 J. Clyde Morris Blvd
Newport News, VA 23601
Fax: 757-534-7419

Download VLM Application