Gator Vet Tails | April 2023

Associate Veterinarian

Dr. Eric Los Kamp

Winter Park Animal Hospital | Winter Park, FL

Gator Vet Tails, Eric Los Kamp 1

Dr. Eric Los Kamp graduated from UF College of Veterinary Medicine in 2022. He was driven to find a post-graduation career opportunity that would allow him to exclusively treat a large caseload of exotic animal species fueled by his passion for animals ranging from furry, slimy, scaley, or feathery. Prior to veterinary school, Dr. Los Kamp gained exposure to exotic animal species through volunteering with the Staten Island Zoo, an AZA-accredited institution, in high school. At this experience, he saw the emotional capacity of these animals and strived to devote his life to providing the best welfare he possibly could for them. As a double Gator, Dr. Los Kamp expanded his education outside of the classroom and clinical settings by working with a variety of institutions including the UF Small Animal Hospital Zoological Medicine Service, ZooMiami, CROW (Clinic for Rehabilitation of Wildlife), and the Audubon Center for the Birds of Prey. Dr. Los Kamps determination to diversify his species experience during his DVM education strengthened his knowledge in the fields of reptile, amphibian, small mammal, avian, and wildlife medicine and surgery to help him accomplish his career goal of working exclusively with exotic animals. Some of the species he has worked with include birds like hawks, eagles, ospreys, owls, herons, song birds, and sea birds, mammals such as rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs, opossums, raccoons, tigers, tapirs, and antelopes, reptiles such as tortoises, snakes, crocodilians, and lizards, and many more.

What advice do you have for upcoming/new graduates just starting their careers?

Do not be afraid not to know something. I find myself many times reaching out to my mentors at UF, using consulting services from Antech, and being saved by the reference ranges present in Carpenter’s for exotic animal bloodwork. As you practice, there will be things that start to become second nature, but this isn’t like a vet school exam- use all the resources available to you. 

What insight do you have for current DVM students (in one sentence)?

When you’re in rounds, don’t worry about taking notes. Absorb the material and try to apply it hands-on as much as possible. Knowledge will come and go, but the really vital pivotal career important information will stay with you. 

What did you learn at UF CVM that you never thought you would benefit from?

One of the things I really learned was looking at how different doctors communicate with clients. With the incredible diversity of backgrounds and communication styles, UF gives a wonderful environment to find ways to communicate with clients that work best with your personality and core beliefs. 

What is one of your fondest memories or meaningful experiences from your time at UF CVM?

Any time I was on clinical rotation in the Zoological Medicine Service, I really felt like I got to “be the doctor” and fight for my patients.  

Is there anything you wish you had done differently in veterinary school?

I wish in my first half of clinics I had more confidence. Hindsight is always 20/20, and being nervous going into clinics is 10000% understandable, but I wish I really took more ownership of my cases and took the reins more.

Is there anything in the veterinary field you would like to see change?

The mental health in the profession as a whole. It is very easy to be overwhelmed- our profession is not easy and can be quite demanding. I think we as veterinarians need to promote more healthy boundaries between our lives as doctors and our lives as people.  

What do you enjoy most about your current position?

The diversity of species I get to work with – I work with everything from rabbits to rats to ferrets to parrots to eagles to falcons to monitor lizards to large aquatic turtles to pythons to opossums.   

What is the most interesting/unique case that you have worked on?

The most interesting case I had was a Gopher Tortoise with a urinary bladder stone – we had to cut through the tortoise’s plastron (bottom of the shell) and remove the stone via cystotomy!

What is the hardest part of working in the veterinary medicine field and how have you overcome this challenge?

Maintaining a work-life balance is difficult, as it takes time to learn to separate your life as a doctor and your life as a human.  

How do you practice work-life balance?

I make time to work out in the mornings, I immediately change when I get home from work to separate my home life from my work life, and I practice establishing mindsets to separate the veterinarian from the person.  

Do you have any career goals you are currently pursuing?

I am pursuing board certification in reptile/amphibian medicine through the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (ABVP). I am currently writing a research paper on gout in small Australian dwarf monitors and working on a case report on a bearded dragon.  

What is one of your fondest or most meaningful experiences from your career so far?

My fondest experiences are the connections I make not only with my patients but my clients, where I start to become friends with them!

What does mentorship look like for you at this point in your career?

My medical director and other veterinarians have taken time out of their schedules to scrub into surgeries with me, check in with me to see how I am doing and go over cases, help review challenging diagnostic information, and provide support! 

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Hanging out with my wife, pet lizard, and puppy; bird watching; working out; watching movies and TV shows.

Do you have a hidden talent?

I can play the tuba!

What is one thing you couldn’t live without?

My family (wife and pets).

How many and what type of pets do you have?

I have a Red Ackie Monitor named Tyranitar and a Golden Retriever puppy named Daisy.