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Veterinarian shares passion for wildlife with students

Feeding  polar bear cubAn ordinary work day for Toronto Zoo veterinarian Pauline Delnatte might involve examining an exotic frog that is showing signs of illness, prescribing medication to treat a jaguar, or conducting a post-mortem on an animal.

The Zoo is home to more than 5,000 animals, and Delnatte loves the challenge of providing the best possible care for so many different species.

“The Toronto Zoo is an amazing place,” she says. “Everyone works hard to make sure the animals are healthy and their welfare needs are met. The Zoo is also doing a lot for animals in the wild, including research, educating the public and promoting conservation, which is very important to me.”

Her route to this position took her from veterinary school in Toulouse, France, through internships in Europe and St. Hyacinthe, Que., before she was accepted to the joint Toronto Zoo and Ontario Veterinary College (at the University of Guelph) residency in September 2010.

“In this program, you do both clinical work at the Zoo, and research and pathology at OVC, which was wonderful for me. I was able to study a new bornavirus that was recently identified in wild geese and other waterfowl, and could be a threat for birds at the Zoo,” she explains.

After graduation, Delnatte worked for two years in Quebec with the Canadian Wildlife Health Centre before joining the Toronto Zoo in 2015. In the fall of 2015, she passed the board certification of the American College of Zoological Medicine. Today, she is one of the clinical supervisors for the joint OVC Toronto Zoo program.

As seen in the Spring 2017 issue of The Crest. Read the latest issue of Crest on the OVCAA webpage.

A recent Daily Planet segment filmed in the wildlife health centre at the Toronto Zoo features Pauline Delnatte, along with: Ellie Milnes and Cédric Larouche, OVC DVSc zoological medicine residents; Alicia Skelding, who graduated from the OVC DVSc anesthesia residency in 2017; Tara Brown, veterinary extern, in her fourth year at OVC; and Gabriela Mastromonaco, Curator of Reproductive Programs and Research at the Toronto Zoo and adjunct professor in OVC’s Biomedical Sciences department. Watch the video on Discovery Canada and the Daily Planet website