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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

Closed but Still Caring

We may be closed due to recent restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus), but our keepers and veterinary team are still at the zoo every day caring for our animals. From enrichments to treats, check-ups to scratch-downs, here’s how we’re #closedbutstillcaring. Click on any image to start the slideshow. Mouse over to see … Continued

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A Sea Otter’s Dentist Appointment

“There’s a dentist for that?!” That might be the first reaction for many when they hear Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium’s sea otter Libby took a trip to the dentist’s office (AKA the healthcare center at the zoo). Dr. Kevin Stepaniuk, FAVD, DAVDC owns Veterinary Dentistry Education and Consulting Services and Veterinary Intraoral Radiology Reading … Continued

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Being Boris

Caring for the World’s Oldest Male Polar Bear  As Boris splashed in the pool, it was as if age didn’t matter. Paw-slamming a brown ball, pushing around a blue trash can and play-wrestling with his younger buddy Blizzard, the 34-year-old polar bear swam and flipped like a youngster. Then he hauled himself out, shook out … Continued

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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.