Hogle Zoo Home to Unique Vet Team

Hogle Zoo Home to Unique Vet Team

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Debbie Dujanovic ReportingFrom the slithering snakes to the enormous elephants, when it comes to health care at Utah's Hogle Zoo there's a unique team running the show.

Meet Laurel Harris, doctor to the zoo's animals and an expert with a needle and a marksman with a tranquilizer gun. Doctor Harris and her all female vet team sedate a cougar for its yearly checkup. They must show confidence until it's asleep, or it may sense weakness.

Dr. Laurel Harris, Utah's Hogle Zoo: "It doesn't matter if you're a male or a female, when you're dealing with an elephant or a lion you can't muscle them down."

After a toenail trim and a mouth exam the cougar checks out fine. For Doctor Harris, being a vet is sweet success. 15 years ago her school counselor suggested she choose nursing over a doctorate degree, because vet work was a man's job.

Dr. Laurel Harris, Utah's Hogle Zoo: “It made me mad, really mad. It made me want to do it even more.”

It appears now more women are following her lead. At the Hogle Zoo the entire vet staff is made up of women, and nationally at vet schools 80 percent of the students are female.

Dr. Harris believes women bring a new element of compassion to the animals, even when their presence is loudly protested.

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