Skip to main content

Our Animal Care

We care for animals.

You can see that care every day, from dedicated keepers to highly trained veterinarians. Our animals get regular medical check-ups and cutting-edge treatment. We’re constantly exploring new ways to enrich their diet and play, and help them feel comfortable. 

Caring for animals

It takes a team.
(Vets, techs and more.)
It takes a dedicated and skilled team to give animals the care they deserve. Our veterinarians, veterinary technicians, interns and registrar work with keepers, combining expertise, technology and passion to care for all our animals, large and small.

Meet the Team

Dr. Karen
Dr. Kadie
Julie
Sara
Emily

Why we care

I’ve always been drawn to nature and wild animals. There are many veterinarians that care for domestic animals, but relatively few who care for wildlife. Caring for and improving medical knowledge of wild animals is very important for conservation of those species.
I also love the challenge of zoo veterinary life: There is never a dull day, and you have to think outside the box to give the best care for the unique anatomy, physiology and behavior of wild animals.
And there is nothing in the world quite as awe-inspiring as providing hands-on medical care for animals like walruses, polar bears, tigers and more.

– Dr. Karen Wolf, head veterinarian

Care Stories

Rockfish Recompression

Aquarist John Foster cradled the vermilion rockfish gently in two hands, submersed. Anesthetized, it lay still as veterinarian Dr. Kadie Anderson took a quick documentary photo of its eyes, which bulged to each side. Then Foster lowered the fish – now fully awake – into a water-filled container that looked something like sci-fi author Jules … Continued

Read More
Elephant Yoga and Apple Slices

Shannon Smith stands outside on a fall day, calling out encouragement. “Foot!” she requests. Across the yard, her “buddy” of 24 years slowly lifts a leg, then puts it back down. “Good!” exclaims Smith, and offers an apple slice. It’s exercise time at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, and Smith is leading Suki the elderly … Continued

Read More
He’s a boy! Help name our muskox calf

He head-butted some rocks. He tasted some clover. Then he galloped back down the hillside to mom. Yes, it’s official – our baby muskox calf is a boy, and now his fans get to vote on his name. (UPDATE: Voting closed 12pm July 8.) The veterinary and animal care team confirmed the sex last Friday … Continued

Read More
Help us care
You can help us care for animals both here at the Zoo and around the world by giving to The Zoo Society. Donations support health care equipment, enrichment, conservation and more.