If you’re interested in learning how to perform a health check on a ferret or how to diagnose a guinea pig by looking at x-rays, Arizona Animal Welfare League is offering a look inside the life of a veterinarian.

Geared toward kids in grades 9 through 12, the Junior Vet Experience offers five different four-hour classes: shelter medicine, animal health screenings, dissection day, ethics and diseases outbreaks, and surgery day.

On August 17, registered participants in the animal health screenings class will interact with different animals, including some of the 40 exotic animals cared for within the facility.

This particular class will focus on diagnostics, exploring prevention of disease, cleaning procedures, reading radiographs, previous x-rays and specimens from previous cases in order to teach participants how to diagnose animals.

AAWL is on its second class of the summer session, but another session starts up again at the end of November. Participants may take the classes in any order, but must complete all four pre-requisite classes in order to proceed to surgery day.

During surgery day, junior vets will get the opportunity to prepare animals for surgery, monitor their vitals, shadow veterinarians as they perform basic surgeries, and assist in the recovery process.

A more in-depth Camp Vet session for 12– to 17-year-olds will be offered October 7-11, when students attend five days in a row for a flat fee. This experience, at Arizona Agribusiness and Equine Center High School, in Mesa will focus on equine health care but will also incorporate a variety of exotic animals.

Upon the completion of either program, AAWL will present participants with a certificate that will make for an impressive college application.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-6349 or

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