For more than 25 years, Winter Park Veterinary Hospital (WPVH) has been our Raptor Trauma Clinic’s greatest ally when it comes to difficult surgeries and procedures. When a bird’s medical needs exceed what our clinic staff can treat, the team at WPVH steps in. Now, when clinic staff bring a bird to WPVH for treatment, they’ll see another familiar face: Dr. Eric Los Kamp.
Dr. Los Kamp participated in the Center for Birds of Prey’s clinic internship program in 2018, while he studied veterinary medicine at the University of Florida. Dr. Los Kamp came to love working with raptors while volunteering in UF’s College of Veterinary Medicine’s Zoological Medicine Department, so an internship in the Raptor Trauma Clinic “was exactly what I was looking for and helped shape me into the veterinarian I am today,” he says.
Raptor Trauma Clinic interns get a great deal of hands-on experience: wrapping “bird burritos” to prepare patients for examination, learning venipuncture techniques and microscope diagnostics, and assisting with annual exams and releases. Dr. Los Kamp says these experiences provided a strong foundation for his veterinary school coursework, and even as a practicing veterinarian he uses skills he learned in the Raptor Trauma Clinic.
Dr. Los Kamp says raptors are some of his favorite species to work with due to their resilience. “I’ve seen these birds recover from horrific injuries, and to be able to see them at their lowest and then healing to the point of release is such a rewarding feeling,” he explains.
Since he joined the WPVH team, Dr. Los Kamp has been able to assist with the repair of a patagial membrane (the web of elastic fibers that makes up the top edge of the wing) on a Red-shouldered Hawk, work on a Great Horned Owl that had an infected feather follicle on its foot, and fill out a Bald Eagle’s health certificate. Looking ahead, he is working on his board certification in reptile and amphibian medicine through the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners, with the goal of expanding his skills in exotic animal husbandry.
“Eric was outgoing, smart, and always eager to learn during his internship,” said Beth Lott, Raptor Specialist and Volunteer/Intern Coordinator. “He was determined to get new skills done correctly and would practice them until he got it right. He was (and still is) very compassionate towards animals and humans alike.”