Animal Hospital Manager
San Antonio Zoo
Year zoo career began:
Isabel is the Animal Hospital Manager at San Antonio Zoo where she works with a staff of veterinarians, licensed veterinary technicians, and animal care specialists. Isabel is responsible for setting medical appointments for the animals in the zoo’s collection. These appointments may range from routine wellness checks to surgical procedures and recheck examinations of on-going cases. Isabel also oversees the hospital upkeep and maintenance, inventory and ordering of medical supplies and medicine, and billing. She is also trained to assist in animal procedures as a veterinary technician or assistant, and she also completes husbandry duties, animal treatments, laboratory and pharmacy work on occasion. Isabel works very closely with a veterinary administrative assistant to ensure that animal medical records are accurate and completed in a timely manner.
Isabel graduated from high school in 2002 before earning a Bachelor of Science in Zoology from Texas A & M University- College Station in 2006. Isabel is a first-generation college graduate and attended college with a full scholarship. After earning her undergraduate degree, Isabel began working at San Antonio Zoo with a part-time position in the petting zoo before moving into a full-time position in the commissary. After a few years, Isabel moved into the animal hospital as an animal care specialist and began pursuing a Master of Education degree in Higher Education Administration from the University of Texas- San Antonio, which she earned in 2011. Isabel had an original goal of becoming an academic advisor in a college setting, but her manager left right around when Isabel earned her graduate degree. With her previous manager’s encouragement, Isabel applied for the position and began working in her current role in 2011.
Isabel’s favorite part of her job is seeing her team celebrate their own personal victories with animal care. While they may not seem like accomplishments to others, it is very meaningful for the hospital staff to hand inject a vaccine into a tiger for the first time or to successfully perform a blood draw on an exotic animal they had not worked with before. For Isabel, watching her team succeed and work together to get through the day is very rewarding. For aspiring hospital managers, Isabel advises that you shouldn’t be afraid of what you don’t know- Isabel didn’t go to college with a plan to become an animal hospital manager. If you want to be in this field, you will value learning everything you can from many different people. You should also be prepared to sharpen your communication skills to work successfully with others.