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Marine Veterinary Medicine

manatee swimming in coastal waters around México

MARVET México - Marine Animal Medicine Externship

Veterinary students interested in marine medicine for aquatic species and One Health concepts will participate in a two-week interactive externship held in Playa del Carmen, México, located on the Yucatán Peninsula. The externship workshops will explore aspects of biology, pathology, husbandry, clinical care and conservation medicine of selected marine species, including:

  • dolphins
  • manatees
  • pinnipeds
  • sea turtles
  • rays
  • nurse sharks
  • fish
  • coral reefs

DATE: June 11 - June 24, 2022
HOSTED BY: Dolphin Discovery and Xcaret Nature Park
LODGING: Hotel Cielo in Playa del Carmen
TUITION: $1900
ACADEMIC CREDIT: Two-week externship credit is offered for those students whose veterinary school recognizes the MARVET México 2022 course content as fulfilling curricular goals, either for summer externship or for 4th year clinical rotations credit. Requests for academic credit, along with the necessary paperwork, should be made to workshop coordinators prior to attending the workshop so that attendees can be evaluated in accordance with school guidelines.

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Externship Participants

The MARVET México externship is an introductory workshop in marine animal medicine designed for students who wish to explore career possibilities in conservation medicine through an interactive learning format that provides a broad overview of the clinical and conservation marine medicine field.

  • Previous experience in marine animal medicine is not required or expected.
  • Most participants are veterinary students; however, veterinarians, veterinary technicians, biology and ecology students and others seeking an introduction to the marine conservation medicine field are also welcome to apply.
  • The course is not intended for those who already have extensive experience in this field.

Read More About Participant Logistics

Dolphin Discovery Parks
Puerto Aventuras and Cozumel

  • Lectures from animal care veterinarians
  • In-pool physical examinations of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins and West Indian manatees
  • Dolphin ultrasound and endoscopic procedures by park veterinarians and trainers, if logistically possible
  • Introduction to husbandry and dietary protocols in managed marine mammal care facilities
  • Participation in food preparation activities for the park's marine mammals
bottlenose dolphin in marine care facility

Dolphin receiving nutrition

veterinarian student examining sea turtle

Examining endangered Loggerhead sea turtle

mangrove forest in México

Mangrove in Mexico

A Nature Park of Regional Flora and Fauna

  • Marine animal care, conservation programs, marine mammal and fish pathology, marine mammal rehabilitation lectures by park and visiting veterinarians
  • Capture, restraint, physical exam and blood sampling of mature green sea turtles
  • Physical exams and blood sampling from stingrays
  • Nurse shark physical exams
  • Introduction to natural ecosystems through lectures and field events
  • Survey local underwater ecosystems, ranging from fresh water cenotes to local coral reefs
  • Necropsies on sea turtles and stingrays under supervision of park veterinarians and a board-certified pathologist, as opportunity provides
  • Introduction to the park's flamingo and macaw aviary and breeding program, if time allows
  • Option of visiting and snorkeling with whale sharks in their feeding grounds off the northeast coast of the Yucatán Peninsula on a free day (weather dependent and not included in course tuition).

Externship Experiences

On the last day, veterinary students are invited to present brief PowerPoint presentations on experiences they have had with any aspect of conservation medicine. The presentation is an optional activity. It will be required only for those taking the course for academic credit. These will be followed by a wrap-up lecture, and a MARVET-sponsored dinner in the evening.

MARVET Mexico Can Help You See It - Feel It - Learn It

coral in mesoamerican barrier reef

Mesoamerican Barrier Reef

group of manatees swimming in river

An aggregation of manatees

A former participant speaks . . .

“MARVET was a life-changing experience and the highlight of my time as a veterinary student. Lectures consisted of an outstanding amount of clinically-relevant information that I continue to reference as a practicing veterinarian. Numerous opportunities to work hands-on with dolphins, manatees, sea lions, sea turtles and fish provided more veterinary-based experience with marine animals than any other program or externship in the USA. MARVET also consisted of excellent networking opportunities that have led to lasting relationships with mentors in the field of aquatic veterinary medicine.”

Lauren Strazdis, DVM (2020 graduate of Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences) - Course Participant