Individuals working in the field of animal rehabilitation enable either domestic pets or wild animals to live the best lives possible by helping them maintain optimal physical and behavioral health. A variety of facilities and organizations, from wildlife nature centers to animal shelters, offer opportunities for those interested in pursuing a career in animal rehabilitation.
Domestic Animal Rehabilitation Counselor
Animal rescue organizations, such as the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), often retain employees who work with the animals they take in to help modify undesirable behavior traits. According to the ASPCA, in this branch of the career path, an animal rehabilitation counselor implements reward-based training to modify behavior in aggressive dogs or timid dogs with fear issues.
Wildlife Rehabilitation Center
A career in animal rehabilitation may be geared toward helping wild and exotic animals at a wildlife rescue and rehabilitation center. Wild animals, including birds of prey such as owls and falcons, and farm animals, including pigs and even llamas, are cared for at these facilities. Rehabilitation can include anything from repairing broken wings to treating a wide variety of serious infections. In many cases these animals are released back into the wild once their rehabilitation is complete.
Zoos around the world care for exotic and sometimes endangered animals on a daily basis and animal rehabilitation in this scenario can include anything from keeping habitats clean to assisting a zoo veterinarian with a delicate medical procedure. At the North Carolina Zoo, a wildlife rehabilitator intern helps care for orphaned or injured wild animals by doing things like preparing their diets and participating in research and other educational animal programming tasks.
Individuals with an interest in the anatomy and biomechanics of a horse's body may pursue a career as an equine rehabilitator. According to the online career resource DegreeDirectory.org, an equine rehabilitation professional may assist horses that have sustained leg, tendon, back or muscle injuries.
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