Professor List – 15 Top Exotic Animal Veterinary Professors

Embark on your own exotic animal veterinary career by completing your veterinary education and earning a DVM, finding opportunities to work with wildlife or exotic animals, and then pursuing board certification through the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (ABVP), specializing in Exotic Companion Mammal Practice (a relatively new specialty, with only 22 vets are diplomates thus far), or through the American College of Zoological Medicine (ACZM), which has a subcategory to train with an emphasis in zoological companion animals (another term for exotic animals). But how do you know where to pursue your exotic animal care education, or with whom? A look at our list of 15 top exotic animal veterinary professors may give you some ideas.

James Carpenter

James Carpenter

Kansas State University

James Carpenter, DVM, is a professor of zoological medicine at Kansas State University's Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital. He originally joined the staff there as head of the exotic animal, wildlife, and zoo animal medicine service in the department of clinical sciences. He has authored more than 150 publications related to the breeding, captive management or medical aspects of exotic animals, including wildlife. Additionally, he is the co-author/editor of "Exotic Animal Formulary" as well as co-editor of "Ferrets, Rabbits, and Rodents: Clinical Medicine and Surgery.” Also, he headed the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Endangered Species Propagation Program at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Maryland for 15 years.

David Eshar

David Eshar

Kansas State University

David Eshar, DVM, ABVP, EZCM, is an assistant professor in Exotic, Wildlife & Zoo Animal Medicine at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University. He oversees fourth-year clinical rotations in exotic animal, wildlife and zoo animal medicine. In addition to teaching and helping train future vet students, he has clinical interests that include the captive management and diseases of companion exotic animals.

Thomas Tully, Jr.

Thomas Tully, Jr.

Louisiana State University

Thomas Tully, Jr., DVM, is a professor in the School of Veterinary Medicine at Louisiana State University. Not only is he the Hospital Section Chief of the Bird, Zoo and Exotic Animal Service, he is also a diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners and the European College of Zoological Medicine. His clinical interests include avian, zoo and exotic animal medicine in addition to other areas. He co-authored the book “A Technician’s Guide to Exotic Animal Care” and is also co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of Exotic Animal Medicine.

Vanessa Grunkemeyer

Vanessa Grunkemeyer

North Carolina State University

Vanessa Grunkemeyer, DVM and diplomate ABVP, is a clinical assistant professor in exotic animal medicine in the College of Veterinary Medicine at North Carolina State University. She is certified in avian medicine, but has interests that range from the medical treatment to surgery of all exotic pet animal species. She is particularly interested in backyard poultry medicine, rabbit and rodent dentistry, wound management and proper nutrition. She has authored numerous publications, lectured both at the local and national levels, and received the Association of Avian Veterinarians Resident Manuscript Competition Award.

Mark Irwin

Mark Irwin

State University of New York, Jefferson

Mark Irwin, DVM, serves as a faculty member of the school’s lab sciences department at the State University of New York, Jefferson. He completed his DVM at the Ontario Veterinary College, and has traveled to Africa and Asia to assist with wildlife and zoo animal management. Additionally, he has worked in exotic/private pet/zoo animal veterinary practice, and in zoos. More recently, he received the 2012 SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence, and published the textbook Zookeeping: An Introduction to the Science and Technology.

Alice Blue-McLendon

Alice Blue-McLendon

Texas A&M University

Alice Blue-McLendon, DVM, serves as a clinical assistant professor in the Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences Department at Texas A&M University. Her scholarly interests include the medicine and management of exotic animals, and she has mentored many students during their externship experiences at the university’s Wildlife and Exotic Animal Center. In addition, she has been published many times, and is currently working on an article for the Journal of Small Exotic Animals. She also belongs to the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians, the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Association of Avian Veterinarians.

Jennifer Graham

Jennifer Graham

Tufts University

Jennifer Graham, DVM, DABVP, DACZM, serves as an assistant professor at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. She completed an internship in avian/exotic animal medicine at the University of Georgia in 2000 and a residency in avian/exotic animal medicine at the University of California, Davis in 2003. As mentioned, she is a diplomate of the ABVP with an avian/exotic companion mammal specialty. She has been published more than a dozen times, including in the Journal of Exotic Pet Medicine.

Joanne Paul-Murphy

Joanne Paul-Murphy

University of California, Davis

Joanne Paul-Murphy, DVM, DACZM, DACAW, is professor in the Companion Avian and Exotic Pet Medicine Program at the University of California, Davis. Her areas of interest include analgesia and imaging techniques of birds, fish, exotic small mammals and reptiles. She also has medical and surgical experience with companion exotic animals, and in conservation medicine and wildlife rehabilitation. Previously, she served as the Director of Veterinary Services at the California Primate Research Center. Dr. Paul-Murphy is a recent diplomate of the the American College of Animal Welfare.

Stephen Divers

Stephen Divers

University of Georgia

Stephen Divers is a Professor of Zoological Medicine in zoo, wildlife, aquatics and exotic pets at the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Georgia. He graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in London in 1994 and received his fellowship award from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons to complete his PhD in exotic animal endoscopy and endosurgery. He is also a diplomate of the American and the European Colleges of Zoological Medicines, as well as an International Fulbright Specialist in zoological medicine. In addition to mentoring graduate students, he is associate editor for the Journal of Zoo & Wildlife Medicine and scientific editor for the Journal of Herpetological Medicine & Surgery.

Kenneth Welle

Kenneth Welle

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Kenneth Welle, DVM, is a professor teaching at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital in the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he's a member of the school’s exotics faculty team. He joined said team in 2011 following 22 years of experience in private practice, and is now one of a number of professors teaching at the hospital, which provides 24-hour emergency care. He is also a diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners with an avian specialty.

Michael Jones

Michael Jones

University of Tennessee

Michael Jones, DVM, is an associate Professor of Avian and Zoological Medicine in the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Tennessee. His research interests include antimicrobial drug pharmacology and advanced diagnostic techniques in avian and exotic species and he has been published multiple times including in the Veterinary Clinics of North America: Exotic Animal Practice Journal. His published articles can be seen here. In addition, he is board certified with an avian specialty.

Cheryl Benham Greenacre

Cheryl Benham Greenacre

University of Tennessee

Cheryl Benham Greenacre, DVM, DABVP, is a professor in the Veterinary Center at the University of Tennessee. Her board-certified specialty is in Avian & Exotic Companion Mammals, and she is a member of numerous professional societies, including the American Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians and the Association of Avian Veterinarians. She completed an avian and zoological internship and residency at the University of Georgia as well as her DMV there.

Steven Smith

Steven Smith

Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine

Steven Smith, DVM, is a professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. He’s been published a dozen times, including in the Seminars in Avian and Exotic Pet Medicine journal. He also belongs to a variety of professional organizations, ranging from the American Association of Wildlife Veterinarians to the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians

Miguel Saggese

Miguel Saggese

Western University of Health Sciences

Miguel Saggese, DVM, is an assistant professor of Veterinary Microbiology/Avian, Exotic and Wildlife Medicine in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Western University of Health Sciences. His previous professional experiences include, among others, working at The Schubot Exotic Bird Health Center. He also ran a private practice in small and exotic animal care in Argentina from 1995 to 2001. His academic interests are varied, but include a focus on exotic animal hematology, infectious diseases and anesthesia and surgery.

Methodology

Several factors were considered in presenting and compiling this list of 15 top exotic animal and wildlife veterinary professors. Many of the professors on this list have so many qualifications and professional experiences that it is impossible to quantify them briefly as part of this list. However, some factors taken into consideration for selection include:

  1. Board certification: Many of the professors on this list are board certified although this may not be mentioned in their profile description. For example, Dr. James Carpenter, whose experience and background is not only diverse and deep, is also board certified by the American College of Zoological Medicine.

  2. Professional memberships: Many of these 15 professors are involved in professional societies, some of which are too numerous to list. As an example, Dr. Michael Jones belongs to several organizations including the Association of Avian Veterinarians, North American Falconer’s Association, American Board of Veterinary Practitioners, the Raptor Research Foundation and the Phi Chapter of the Society of Phi Zeta.

  3. Publication: A significant number of these professors have been published in journals or other periodical or text forms. Dr. Miguel Saggese, as an example, has been published numerous times, including in the Journal of Exotic Pet Medicine and, additionally, has several articles he is preparing for publication.

Barry Franklin (Editor)

Barry is the Managing Editor of VetTechColleges.com, operated by educational web publisher Sechel Ventures Partners LLC, which he co-founded. Previously, Barry served as a VP at a Silicon Valley software company. In addition to running editorial operations at Sechel, Barry also serves on the Board of Trustees at a local K-8 school, and graduated from Carnegie Mellon University. He presently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his family and their black maltipoo.