Exotic & Lab Animal Track

Welcome to the Exotic/Lab Animal Track! Dive into your wild side with some exciting lectures on exotic companion medicine and lab animal medicine. We cover everything from the basics to the advanced. Come learn about small mammals, birds, reptiles, primates, and even fish! Check out our informative wet lab videos on conducting physical exams on ferrets, rabbits, snakes, and chelonians, to name a few. We also have some vet med stars lined up to present, such as Dr. Susan Kelleher from Nat Geo Wild and Dr. Justin Thomason discussing Zelda, the famous pacemaker ferret! Need a break from talks about practicing medicine? We also have you covered with a lecture on how to incorporate exotics into your practice by our own Dr. James Carpenter and an overview of the animal program at the new National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility from Dr. Maggie Behnke. Whether you’re interested in aquaculture, avian medicine, small mammal surgery, or career options within lab animal medicine, this is the place to be!

Lectures
Spaying and Neutering Small Mammals
  • David Eshar, DVM
  • Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Description: This lecture will discuss pros, cons, and indications for spaying and neutering small mammals.
Anesthesia of Small Mammals
  • David Eshar, DVM
  • Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Description: This lecture will discuss the dos and don’ts of anesthesia in small mammals.
Path to Residency/DABVP – generously sponsored by American Board of Veterinary Practitioners 

  • David Eshar, DVM
  • Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Description: This lecture will discuss the path to residency and becoming board certified in the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners.
Radiology of Exotic Companion Mammals
  • David Eshar, DVM
  • Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Description: This lecture will discuss tips and examples for radiology in exotic companion mammals.
Pain Management of Small Mammals
  • Sara Gardhouse, DVM
  • Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Description: This lecture will discuss pain management in small mammals and other exotic pets.
  • Bio: Sara Gardhouse graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College in Guelph, Ontario in 2012. She then went on to complete an exotics internship in 2013 at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatchewan, followed by a small animal rotating internship at Kansas State University in 2014. Sara then completed a three year residency in zoological companion animal medicine and surgery at UC Davis.  She returned to the Ontario Veterinary College as a clinical specialist where she worked for 3 years.  Sara now resides in Kansas, as an assistant professor in the Exotic Pet, Wildlife, and Zoological Medicine department.
Quality of Life Assessment in Exotic Pets
  • Sara Gardhouse, DVM
  • Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Description: This lecture will discuss quality of life assessments in exotic species.
Rodent Oncology
  • Sara Gardhouse, DVM
  • Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Description: This lecture will discuss diseases, diagnoses, and treatments within rodent oncology.
Biology, Medicine, and Diseases of African Hedgehogs
  • James Carpenter, DVM
  • Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Description: This lecture will discuss treating African hedgehogs in clinical practice.
Adding Exotic Animals to Your Practice
  • James Carpenter, DVM
  • Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Description: This lecture will discuss how to incorporate exotic companion animal medicine into your practice.
Legend of Zelda: Pacemaker in Ferrets
  • Justin Thomason, DVM
  • Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Description: This lecture will be a case study of Zelda, the first ferret to receive a pacemaker.
  • Bio: Dr. Justin D. Thomason received his DVM degree from Oklahoma State University. He completed a small animal internship at the University of Missouri and residency in internal medicine and cardiology at the University of Georgia. Justin’s professional missions are:  clinical teaching, fear-free veterinary visits, providing excellent clinical service and consultations, and advancement of cardiology utilizing clinical research.  His dedication to these missions have earned him the 3rd Year Veterinary Teaching Award (2014, 2016, 2018), Pet Tribute Award (2014), Zoetis Veterinary Distinguished Teaching Award (2015), and a net promoter score of 94% compared to the industry average of 77% for clinical cardiology service. 
Setting Up the Lab Animal Program at NBAF
  • Maggie Behnke, DVM
  • National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility
  • Description: This lecture will discuss the process of setting up the animal program at the new National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility.
  • Bio:  Dr. Maggie Behnke is a Diplomate of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine and the Attending Veterinarian for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan, Kansas. Dr. Behnke graduated from the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine and completed Laboratory Animal Residency training at the University of Florida’s Health Science Center in Gainesville, Florida. Dr. Behnke held regulatory and clinical positions at the University of Florida and Kansas State University before beginning at NBAF in February 2020.  Dr. Behnke lives with her husband and two young children, who all enjoy being part of the Manhattan, Kansas, community
Opportunities in Lab Animal Medicine
  • Doug Brandt, DVM
  • University of Kansas Medical Center
  • Description: This lecture will discuss the differences and pros/cons of working in the different areas of lab animal medicine, including academia, pharmaceutical, and contract research.
  • Bio: Dr. Brandt is a 1993 graduate of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University. Dr. Brandt has 24 years of experience working in the field of Laboratory Animal Medicine in both academia and the private sector. He has been with the University of Kansas Medical Center for the last eight years and currently serves as the Executive Director of the Department of Laboratory Animal Resources and as the Attending Veterinarian.
Common Parasites of Lab Animals
  • Brian Herrin, DVM / Jeba Jesudoss Chelladurai, DVM
  • Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Description: This lecture will discuss the most common parasites seen in lab animals including diagnosis and treatment.
  • Bio: Jeba Jesudoss Chelladurai BVSc, MS, PhD, DACVM. Dr. Jesudoss Chelladurai is a Veterinary Parasitologist and Assistant Professor at Kansas State University. She is involved in teaching parasitology to DVM students. Her research focus is on understanding the mechanism of action and resistance to therapeutic drugs in veterinary helminths. She is also interested in providing diagnostic services to diagnose parasitism in companion animals, livestock, lab animals and wildlife. Her interest in the parasites of lab animals stems from the sheer wonder at the diversity of parasites that infect the wide array of animals used in laboratory settings.
Monkey Business Beginning to End
  • Heather Simmons, DVM
  • Wisconsin National Primate Research Center
  • Description: This lecture will discuss anatomic pathology via case presentations of nonhuman primates used in the research setting.
Lab Rat Chat Podcast Interview with Dr. Brian Herrin
  • Jeff Marshall and Danielle Dady
  • Lab Rat Chat podcast sponsored by Americans for Medical Progress
  • Email: labratchat@gmail.com
  • Instagram: @thelabratchat
  • Bio: Jeff Marshall, MS is a third-year veterinary student at Virginia Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. Following his completion of a dual MS/BS degree in 2009 from the University of Nevada, Reno, Jeff has been involved in the field of comparative medicine in a variety of capacities. These experiences have included high-containment laboratory work as a research associate. Jeff has earned his certification as a Biological Safety Professional through the American Biological Safety Association (ABSA). He has also been a research compliance coordinator responsible for oversight for both Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees and Institutional Biosafety Committees. Once he completes his veterinary school, Jeff intends to become a laboratory animal veterinarian where he will continue to be an outspoken advocate for biomedical research and the animals that take part in it.
  • Bio: Danielle Dady, CMAR, RLATg is the Senior Research Compliance Coordinator for Old Dominion University (ODU) where she oversees research projects across campus involving both the use of animals and/or anything involving hazardous or biological materials.  She obtained her BS in Animal Science from the University of Connecticut in 2009 and has been involved in the field of comparative medicine ever since.  Prior to her current role, she was an animal care technician, a veterinary technician, and most recently, an animal facility manager.  She is passionate about informing and educating the public about the critical role that animals play in the advancement of science and loves being able to spread this message through her involvement with Lab Rat Chat.
Avian Reproduction Medicine: Diagnosing and Treating Egg-bound Birds
  • Andrea Zimandy, DVM
  • Welleby Veterinary Hospital
  • Description: This lecture will discuss avian reproductive medicine in companion bird species. This will include diagnosing and treating common reproductive diseases, such as egg-bound birds.
  • Bio: Andrea Zimandy DVM MAB. Dr. Zimandy was born and raised in South Florida where she began her career working with wildlife and exotic animals. She completed both her Bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation and Masters degree in Agricultural Economics at the University of Florida.  She continued her education at Atlantic Veterinary College at UPEI where she received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree. Immediately after graduation, she moved back to South Florida and purchased Welleby Veterinary Hospital with her husband, where she started to grow her avian/exotics practice from the ground up. She is now the veterinarian for multiple exotic animal facilities in the area and works with state agencies on research projects for native and invasive species in South Florida. She shares her home with 2 dogs, 2 cats, a sulfur crested cockatoo, an Argentine black and white tegu, groups of Leopard and Red Foot Tortoises, multiple species of  turtles and an infant human primate.
Career Pathways in Laboratory Animal Medicine
  • Jessica Ayers, DVM, M.A. McCrackin, DVM, Robin Kramer, DVM, and Will Hill, DVM
  • Description: In this lecture, several speakers will introduce you to the great variety of career paths and employment opportunities in laboratory animal medicine, including how to get involved as a vet student or practicing veterinarian. You’ll also learn about lab animal medicine residency programs and hear personal stories about the speakers’ career paths. Join us to learn about this exciting and diverse area of veterinary medicine!
  • Bio: Jessica Ayers, DVM, DACLAM: Dr. Ayers earned her DVM degree at Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine (Auburn, AL) in 2004.  She practiced general medicine and surgery for 5 years, working with dogs, cats, horses, and exotics.  She then entered into the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC, Atlanta GA) Laboratory Animal Medicine Residency Program in 2009 and completed the program in 2012.  Dr. Ayers became a Diplomate of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine in 2013 and was very happy to accept the Associate Director position at Colorado State University that same year.  She has a special interest in infectious disease research and animal care and has extensive experience working in ABSL3 facilities.  She serves as the Alternate Attending Veterinarian on the CSU and CDC-FTC Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees (IACUC), and as the Contracted Attending Veterinarian for the Regis University IACUC (Denver, CO).  Jessica is active in National AALAS and ASLAP, and acts as the ASLAP Student Liaison for CSU Veterinary Students and is currently a member of the ASLAP Development Committee. Jessica enjoys spending time with her husband, two dogs, and two horses and her favorite things to do are hiking/camping, horseback riding, and snowboarding in the winter.
  • Bio: M.A. McCrackin, DVM, PhD, DACVS, DACLAM, CMAR, CPIA: Dr. McCrackin earned a DVM at the University of Georgia (UGA) College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) in 1989. She completed a small animal internship at Santa Cruz Veterinary Hospital (1990) and small animal surgical residency at the University of Tennessee (1993), achieving board certification in 1994. She practiced general medicine and referral surgery in western Montana for 3 years before earning a PhD in microbiology/biochemistry from the University of Montana-Missoula in 1999. She then served as Assistant Professor of Surgery at UGA CVM (1999-2002) followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at the NIH in Hamilton, Montana. Dr. McCrackin transitioned to lab animal medicine in 2004 as Director and Attending Veterinarian (AV) for Laboratory Animal Resources at the University of Montana-Missoula (2004-2011) and achieved Diplomate status in ACLAM by the experience route, passing the board exam in 2010. She then served as Director and AV at Virginia Tech (2011-2013), followed by the Charleston, SC VA Medical Center (2013-2019). She jointly served as Associate, then full Professor of Comparative Medicine and Director of the Surgical Research Laboratory at the Medical University of South Carolina before returning in 2019 to UGA as Director of University Research Animal Resources and Professor of Population Health. Dr. McCrackin is active in several professional organizations, most notably serving as a member of the AVMA Panel on Euthanasia since 2009. She enjoys spending time with her husband, 4-year-old son, and 12-year-old rescue Doberman Pinscher, coloring, and listening to music.
  • Bio: Robin Kramer, DVM, DACLAM: Dr. Kramer earned her DVM degree from the University of Missouri (Columbia, MO) in 2007.  She completed a rotating internship in small animal medicine and surgery at Fifth Avenue Veterinary Specialists (New York, NY) the following year, and then practiced small medicine and surgery for 4 years in Manhattan. She transitioned to Lab Animal Medicine in 2012, completing the Tri-Institutional Training Program in Lab Animal Medicine (New York, NY) in 2015. Dr. Kramer became a Diplomate of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine (ACLAM) in 2016. Since 2016 she has been in her current position at MIT, working closely with the IACUC office, mentoring post-doctoral veterinarians, and providing clinical support for both non-rodent and rodent species. She also serves as a Consulting Veterinarian for two area biotech companies in Cambridge, MA. Robin is active in AALAS, ASLAP, and ACLAM, and is currently a member of the ASLAP Development Committee. She enjoys spending time with her husband and son, and her favorite things to do are reading, baking, yoga, CrossFit, and hiking.
  • Bio: William Allen Hill currently serves as Director of Laboratory Animal Resources and Attending Veterinarian at Florida State University (FSU).  Dr. Hill has over 18 years’ experience in laboratory animal medicine, including stints at The University of Tennessee Health Science Center, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, the University of Kansas, and FSU.  William holds degrees from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (BS, Laboratory Animal Science, 1999), North Carolina State University (DVM, 2003), and the University of Tennessee (MPH, 2010).  Following veterinary school, William served a three-year residency in laboratory animal medicine at The University of Tennessee Health Science Center.  Dr. Hill is a Diplomate of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine, a Certified Professional in Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee Administration, and an AAALAC ad hoc consultant.  Dr. Hill is a past president of the American Society of Laboratory Animal Practitioners.  William is a pond hobbyist and enjoys cooking and collecting midcentury furniture and black Americana.
A Day in the Life of a Lab Animal Veterinarian
  • Laurie Brignolo, DVM
  • UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine
  • Description: The “Day in the Life” presentation highlights the diversity of species a laboratory animal veterinarian may work with-making it truly a mixed animal specialty.  It emphasizes that there are several “sub-specialties” within the group ranging from fully clinical, to fully regulatory and everything in between.
  • Bio: Laurie Brignolo is the Executive Director of the Research and Teaching Animal Care program at the University of California, Davis. Dr. Brignolo earned her veterinary degree from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1993 and completed her Laboratory Animal Medicine Residency at the University of California, Davis in 1996.  She served multiple roles as a clinical veterinarian at the California National Primate Research Center from 1995 to 2011 before moving to the main campus at UCD where she served as the Associate Director for Campus Veterinary Services before taking on her current role. She is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Medicine and is an Ad Hoc AAALAC site visitor. She is the current Treasurer of the Association of Primate Veterinarians. Laurie enjoys spending time with her two sons that are now grown, her pets and the outdoors (camping, hiking and kayaking).
Animal Research: Ethics, Regulations, and Welfare
  • Leanne Alworth, DVM
  • University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Description: “Animal Research: Ethics, Regulations, and Welfare” reviews some ethical considerations regarding the use of animals for research. It summarizes the main regulatory agencies that oversee animal research in the USA, and discusses how these regulations, utilized by research institutions, inform the welfare of animals used in research.
  • Bio: Leanne Alworth is the Attending Veterinarian, and the director of the Office of Animal Care and Use at the University of Georgia, in Athens, GA. She earned her DVM from Louisiana State University in 1995, and then worked in private practice for a year before completing her laboratory animal medicine residency training, with an MS in Pathobiology, at the University of Missouri, Columbia in 1999. She served as a clinical veterinarian at the University of Illinois, Urbana, from 1999-2005. In 2005, she moved to the University of Georgia, where she served as the Assistant Director for University Research Animal Resources for 10 years, before taking her current role in 2015.  She is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Medicine. In 2020, she completed a 6-year term as the ASLAP representative on the AVMA Animal Welfare Committee, for which she served as chair-elect (2018/2019) and chair (2019/2020). At the end of 2020, she was asked to serve as an Assistant Director on the Georgia VMA Board of Directors. Leanne enjoys spending time with her family, including the feline members, and playing with her art supplies. She also loves time with an old-fashioned (paper) book.