ARAV Officers 2016-2017

Jump to ARAV Standing Committees 2016-2017 Jump to AD HOC COMMITTEES

Susan Horton, DVM


Chicago Exotics Animal Hospital

3757 Dempster Rd. Skokie, IL 60076

Dr. Susan Horton is a University of Illinois graduate (class of 1995). She is the founding owner of Chicago Exotics Animal Hospital, which was established in 2000. She has been the Chief of Staff there since 2000, along with consulting veterinarian in exotic and avian medicine to the emergency hospital Blue Pearl Skokie. Chicago Exotics is a 5 doctor, 100 % avian and exotic animal hospital. Dr. Horton is also on the board for several avian, small mammal, and reptile rescue organizations and acts as their medical director. She hosts many veterinary students each year who are interested in this field.

She enjoys teaching current and future veterinarians the interesting art of avian and exotic veterinary medicine, especially when it comes to reptiles. She also attends and participates in several of the yearly veterinary conferences on avian, reptilian, and exotic animal medicine. Through these venues she has continued her education in medicine, surgery, cytology, radiology, and all other aspects of avian, reptilian, and exotic animal medicine.Dr. Horton has lectured to the many of the local Chicago avian and exotic clubs, the University of Illinois, and has been published in the Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery, Journal of Herpetological Medicine and Surgery, and “Invertebrate Biology“.

She is a member of the Association of Reptile and Amphibian Veterinarians (has been since its inception) where she is currently the President-Elect and is also on the Public Relations, Social Media, and Membership Committee since 2007 (for which she had been the Chair). The membership plaque, the ARAV Facebook pages and Twitter pages, the outreach programs, the welcome packets, and many more projects have been accomplished during this tenure on this committee. She is also a member of the Association of Avian Veterinarians where she has held various committee positions, the Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians, AAZV, and AVMA. She has been an associate editor for the Journal of Reptilian and Amphibian Medicine and the Exotic DVM Magazine. Avian and exotic animal medicine and surgery have always been her passion. She has always sought out the unique venues for education and experience in this area. She keeps Cockatiels as well as Dendrobates tinctorius, Rhacodactylus ciliatus, Ambystoma mexicanum, and Ceratophrys ornata currently, though has housed many species at one time or another. The freedom to keep, enjoy and breed reptile and amphibian species is also very important to her. She hopes to be able to contribute more in the future.

Nikki Johnson, DVM


Pekin Animal Hospital

221 Margaret St. Pekin, IL 61554-2508


Dr. Nicole Johnson (known to her staff and clients as Dr. Nikki) is a 2003 graduate of the University of Illinois. She is co-owner of Pekin Animal Hospital in her hometown of Pekin, IL. In the past, she has done some consulting on small mammal, reptile and bird cases for the Peoria Zoo. She is currently one of the Medical Directors of the Friends of Scales Reptile Rescue based out of the Chicago area. She has been a member of ARAV since 2000 (even as a student!!). She has enjoyed serving ARAV in the past as a Member-at-Large, Head of the Development Committee, and most recently as the Secretary. She is excited to be able to continue serving on the Executive Board and to help the organization grow.

She is also an avid runner and in 2012 she joined the St. Jude Memphis to Peoria runners, and has run with them every summer since, if you do not know what these runners do… should ask her!! She shares her life with her 9 year old son-Logan, her boyfriend-Aaron, their 2 Akitas-Holly and Saint, their cats-Autumn and Sophie and a house full of reptiles(don’t we all?!)…..and an office full of them as well. She enjoys an active life style and tries to keep busy working, exercising, playing sports or attending her son’s sporting events.(Although, she doesn’t mind occasionally taking it easy and curling up on the couch with her critters and enjoying a good book!)

Tim Tristan, DVM, DABVP (Reptile/Amphibian)

Vice President

Texas Sealife Center

14220 SPID, Corpus Christi, TX 78418


Tim Tristan attended Texas A&M University, where he completed his DVM followed by completion of an internship at Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists in Houston. He is board certified by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners in Reptile and Amphibian Medicine and currently works in Corpus Christi, Texas. He is the director of the Texas Sealife Center, a wildlife hospital treating sea turtles, shorebirds and raptors and has been a member of ARAV since 1998. Currently, in addition to his role as director of the Texas Sealife Center, he is the contract veterinarian for Downtown Aquarium in Houston and President of the Horned Lizard Conservation Society.

His publications have included the first identification of Mycoplasmosis in Texas Tortoises (Gopherus berlanderi) and first identification of fibropapillomatosis in green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) on the Texas coast. He was also the primary amphibian and reptile veterinarian for an animal rescue operation lead by the ASPCA in Dallas, Texas that resulted in the confiscation and rescue of over 20,000 reptiles in 2009. Additional experience includes involvement in cold stunned sea turtle events that occur annually in Texas and result in the rescue of 200-1400 sea turtles every winter.

Mike Corcoran, DVM, CertAqV


VCA Wakefield Animal Hospital

19 Main St, Wakefield, MA 01880-1020


Dr. Mike Corcoran is a 2008 graduate of the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine. He started working in emergency medicine in the Pacific Northwest before pursuing his real passion of working with exotic animals, initially as a part time mobile practice in the Portland, Oregon region. In exotic animal medicine he has worked as an associate veterinarian at Arizona Exotic Animal Hospital and in his current position as a full time exotic animal associate at VCA Wakefield Animal Hospital in the Boston area.

Mike has been a member of ARAV for several years and has served on the Membership and PR committee. He is proud to be serving the membership on the Executive Board and looks forward to giving back to ARAV.

In addition to professional interests, Mike is a SCUBA instructor and enjoys spending as much time as possible underwater.

James Bogan, DVM, Dipl. ABVP, CertAqV


The Critter Fixer of Central Florida, LLC

Oviedo, FL 32762-1679


Dr. James Bogan received his DVM from The Ohio State University in 1994. He has practiced small animal and exotic medicine in Ohio and Florida. In 2011, he founded The Critter Fixer of Central Florida – an ambulatory practice with the primary focus on medicine and surgery for reptiles, fish, exotics, and small zoological collections. In addition, he has also been the contract veterinarian for Gatorland since 2001 and the Central Florida Zoo since 2014. He has been a member of the Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians since 1994. He is also a proud father of three human offspring as well as a cat, two sugar gliders, a pygmy hedgehog, a red-eared slider, and a reef tank.

Kathleen Heinz-Taheny DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVP

Immediate Past President

Eli Lilly & Company

893 S. Delaware St., Indianapolis, IN 46285


Dr. Heinz-Taheny attended the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where she completed her DVM, PhD, and residency in pathobiology. She is board certified by the American College of Veterinary Pathologists and currently works in human oncology and nephrology drug development at Eli Lilly and Co. in Indianapolis. She as been an active member of ARAV since the late 90s, serving on multiple committees. Currently, in addition to her role as ARAV secretary, she manages the website, is an associate editor for JHMS, and member of the Editorial Board. While her current employment position is not in the herp field, she enjoys her herp companions (including sulcatas, aquatic and box turtles, monitors, and various smaller lizards) and often has the opportunity to review herp histopathology.

Heather A. Bjornebo, DVM

(1yr) Member-at-Large

Arizona Exotic Animal Hospital

744 N Center St #101 Mesa AZ 85201


Heather Bjornebo, DVM received her BS in Biology in 2003 from South Dakota State University and her DVM in 2007 from Iowa State University. Heather currently works as an associate veterinarian at Arizona Exotic Animal Hospital in Mesa, AZ and is the veterinary consultant for Sea Life Arizona Aquarium. Her career goal is to become ABVP boarded in Reptile and Amphibian Practice.Heather loves all reptiles but her favorites have to be chelonians. Having over 2 dozen of them living with her, some of her friends regard her as the “crazy tortoise lady” but in ARAV we’d say she just fits right in. Her family also includes a number of snakes (mostly sand boas and ball pythons), a Northern blue tongue skink, an Egyptian uromastyx, 3 rescue bearded dragons, a cockatiel, a lovebird, several tarantulas, saltwater fish and corals, 2 Hilaire’s Side-necked Turtles, a pond with koi and goldfish, along with 6 cats and 3 dogs.

She is currently an active member of the Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarian’s Membership Committee where her recent projects include the ARAV Facebook Pages and Members Only Group and the ARAV display banners being used at reptile expos and veterinary conferences to promote our organization. Within ARAV she is also known for donating beautiful herp themed quilts to the annual fundraiser auction and now jewelry made from recycled reptile shed skins. As Member at Large she hopes to continue her support of ARAV serving as a voice to its current members, promoting continued growth of the organization, and encouraging involvement from all members within the organization.

Stacey Leonatti Wilkinson, DVM, DABVP (Reptile & Amphibian)

(1yr) Member-at-Large

Avian and Exotic Animal Hospital of Georgia

118 Pipemakers Circle Suite 110 Pooler, GA 31322


Stacey Leonatti Wilkinson is a 2006 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine. Since that time she has been an associate veterinarian at Avian and Exotic Animal Care in Raleigh, NC, a practice devoted exclusively to the care of exotic animals. She recently left that position to start her own practice, Avian and Exotic Animal Hospital of Georgia, in the Savannah, GA area, continuing to treat only exotics. Stacey became an ABVP Diplomate of Reptile and Amphibian medicine in 2013. She has been a member of ARAV since 2006, and has been the chair or co-chair of the In Depth Session at the annual conference every year since 2011. She has also spoken at the conference and served as a lab instructor, and is a member of the Legislative and Animal Welfare Committee.

She is very excited about the position of member-at-large and the opportunity it provides to become more involved in ARAV. The ARAV does an excellent job of serving and representing exotic animal veterinarians. She would like to help serve as a liaison between the general membership and the Executive Committee, and believes her experience as a private practitioner in the trenches would be a great fit for this. She and her husband have a collection of over 50 reptiles, and her favorite reptile is the Grand Cayman blue iguana, which she finally got a chance to see in their native habitat this past year.

Louisa M. Asseo, DVM, DABVP (Canine/Feline)

(2yr) Member-at-Large

Oasis Veterinary Hospital

6635 Alhambra Ave. Ste. #100 Martinez, CA 94553


Louisa Asseo is the proud owner of Oasis Veterinary Hospital in Martinez, CA. She just opened this small animal and exotic animal medicine full service hospital in the East Bay of San Francisco, CA in April 2016.

She has been an active member of the Association of Amphibian and Reptilian Veterinarians since graduating from UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in 2002.

She has been serving on the ARAV committee for membership and PR since 2011 and has since served as the co-chair of this committee since 2013.

Brad Waffa, MSPH, DVM

(2yr) Member-at-Large

Gentle Care Animal Hospital

100 Kumar Court Raleigh, NC 27606

I am humbled to have been nominated for a Member-at-Large position on ARAV’s 2017 Executive Committee. I am a relatively new veterinarian, having only just graduated from NC State in 2014, however I have been a lifelong keeper and breeder of reptiles and an outspoken advocate for their health, welfare, captive husbandry and conservation. Although my membership in ARAV didn’t become official until I graduated, I have been working with ARAV members all along the way — members who taught me as a summer undergraduate intern, as a veterinary extern on every distance rotation, and whose writings in both the academic and popular literature inspired me as a student and keeper. I’ve also worked alongside ARAV members on important legislative issues, having been a longtime volunteer with USARK and former board member with the Louisiana Gulf Coast Herp Society, both of whom have been vocal in consulting with legislators on high-profile herp topics. I would relish the opportunity to continue advancing reptile and amphibian medicine, as well as our place as leaders in the field. Thank you again for your nominations and consideration.

Dana M. Varble, DVM

Executive Director

Chicago Exotics

3735 Dempster Rd. Skokie, IL 60076


Dana Varble received her B.S. in Zoology from Southern Illinois University in 1999, and a veterinary degree from University of Illinois in 2003. She previously worked in clinical exotic and emergency medicine. She has spoken locally, nationally, and internationally at conferences and seminars on herpetological and exotic animal medicine and surgery.

She joined the Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians in 2003, served on the board of directors from 2008 to 2014, and was the president of ARAV from 2012 to 2013. In January 2015, she began to serve as the Executive Director of ARAV and Moderator coordinator for North American Veterinarian Community.

She shares her home with a certified trailing bloodhound named Calhoun, a Lab mix – Hannah, a cat – Abe, and four ball pythons.

Wilbur B. Amand, VMD

Executive Director Emeritus

721 Inverness DriveWest Chester, PA 19380-6888

Dr. Wilbur Amand is a 1966 graduate of the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. Following an internship and residency at Penn, he joined the junior faculty during which time he developed an interest in exotic companion animal medicine and zoo/wildlife medicine. Dr. Amand joined the Philadelphia Zoological Garden in 1974 as Senior Veterinarian while also returning to the faculty at Penn as an Adjunct Professor of Zoological Medicine. He developed a number of courses in avian, reptile and zoo mammal medicine. He retired from the Philadelphia Zoo in 1992 as Emeritus Vice President for Animal Health.

Dr. Amand served as the Executive Director of the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians for nearly 20 years and was the Editor of the Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine for 10 years. He joined the Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians as the Executive Director in 1994. In addition, he serves as the Executive Director of the American Academy of Veterinary Nutrition and is a member of the Animal Policy Committee for the National Aquarium in Baltimore, MD, and the Board of Elephant Care International.

ARAV Standing Committees 2016-2017

Membership/PR Committee
Chair: Anneliese Strunk, DVM, ABVP (Avian)
Center for Bird and Exotic Animal Medicine
11401 NE 195th Street
Bothell, WA 98011
Ph. 425-486-9000
Fax 425-486-9002
Awards Subcommittee Chair: : Louisa M. Asseo, DVM, DABVP (Canine/Feline)
Oasis Veterinary Hospital
6635 Alhambra Ave. Ste. #100
Martinez, CA 94553
Ph.  925-954-8087
Fax 925-954-8635
Social Media Subcommittee Chairs:
Julianne Vickstrom, DVM
West Hills Animal Hospital
430 SW 53rd St.
Corvallis, OR 97333
Ph: 541-758-4509
Alicia McLaughlin, DVM
Center for Bird and Exotic Animal Medicine
11401 NE 195th Street 
Bothell, WA 98011 
Ph. 425-486-9000
Fax 425-486-9002


Education Committee

Chair: Colin McDermott, VMD
Mount Laurel Animal Hospital
220 Mount Laurel Rd.
Mount Laurel, NJ 08054
Ph.  856-234-7626
Co-Chair: Nicola di Girolamo, DMV
Piazza Oderico da Pordenone 1
Rome, Italy 00145
Development Committee

Chair: Nelson Bricker
Rocky Gorge Animal Hospital
7515 Brooklyn Bridge Rd.
Laurel , MD 20707 USA
Ph. (301) 776-7744
Co-Chair: Kourtney Grimm, DVM
Lange Animal Clinic
1305 Black St.

Pekin, IL 61554
Ph. 309-345-4679
Research & Conservation

Chair: Byron de la Navarre, DVM
Animal House of Chicago
2752 W. Lawrence Avenue
Chicago, IL 60625
Ph. 773-878-8002
Fax 773-878-0542
Co-Chair: Curtis Eng, DVM
Western University of Health Sciences

College of Veterinary Medicine
309 E. Second St.
Pomona, CA 91766-1854
Legislative & Animal Welfare Committee

Chair: Richard Funk, DVM
Avian and Exotic Clinic of Arizona
1911 S. Lindsay Rd.
Mesa, AZ 85204
Ph. 480-734-1711
Fax 480-393-3915
Animal Care and Use Subcommittee Chair:
Kimberlee Wojick, DVM
Roger Williams Park Zoo
1000 Elmwood Ave
Providence RI 02907-3655
Ph. 617-869-4917
International Committee

Chair: Karina Mathes, DVM
Klinik fur Heimtiere, Reptilien, Zier- und Wildvogel
Stiftung Tieraetztliche Houchschule
Buenteweg 9
D-30559 Hannover
Ph. 0049 511-856-7251
Fax 0049 511-856-7686
International representatives:
Asia –Dinesh Vinherkar
Australia/ New Zealand – Shane Simpson
Belgium/Netherlands – Tom Hellebuyck
Canada – Leticia Materi
Central/Eastern Europe – Sid Knotek
Central / South America/ Caribbean – Pablo Regner
France – Lionel Schilliger
Germany – Anke Stoehr
Italy – Nicola Di Girolamo
Japan – Kenichi Tamukai
Spain/Portugal – Albert Martinez-Silvestre
Sweden/Denmark – Beth Fledelius
Switzerland/Austria – Michaela Gumpenberger
UK/Ireland – Iain Cope
US – Kim Wojick
Editorial Board

Chair: Rachel E. Marschang, PD Dr. med. vet., Dip. ECZM (herpetology), FTA Mikrobiologie
ZB Reptilien
Laboklin GmbH & Co KG
Steubenstr. 4
97688 Bad Kissingen
Ph. 4997172020
Journal Editor-in Chief

Mark Mitchell, DVM, PhD, Dip. ECZM (Herpetology)
Director and Professor
Veterinary Teaching Hospital
Louisiana State University
1823 Veterinary Teaching Hospital
Baton Rouge, LA 70803
Ph.  225-578-9738
Journal Scientific Editor

Stephen J. Divers, BVetMed, DZooMed, MRCVS, RCVS, Dipl. ACZM
Dept. of Small Animal Medicine & Surgery
College of Veterinary Medicine
University of Georgia
501 DW Brooks Drive
Athens, GA 30602
Ph. 706-542-6378
Fax 706-542-6460
Journal Managing Editor

Dana Varble, DVM
Nominating Committee

Chair:Katie Heinz-Taheny, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVP
Ethics and Professional Practice

Chair: Katie Heinz-Taheny, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVP
Budget & Finance Committee

Chair: James Bogan, DVM
Governance Committee
Chair:Susan Horton, DVM
Conference Committee

Chair:Nicole Johnson, DVM

Dana Varble, DVM


Trilateral Committee 2018 (ARAV/AEMV/AAV)
Chair: Tim Tristan, DVM DABVP (Reptile/Amphibian)

Co-Chair: Mike Corcoran, DVM
Alternate: Nicole Johnson, DVM

ICARE Steering Committee
Chair: Karina Mathes, DVM

Co-Chair: Rachel E. Marschang, PD Dr. med. vet., Dip. ECZM (herpetology), FTA Mikrobiologie ZB Reptilien

Infectious Diseases Committee
Chair: Rachel E. Marschang, PD Dr. med. vet., Dip. ECZM (herpetology), FTA Mikrobiologie ZB Reptilien
Laboklin GmbH & Co KG
Steubenstr. 4
97688 Bad Kissingen
Ph. 4997172020

Trilateral Education Task Force
Katie Heinz-Taheny, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVP

Colin McDermott, VMD

Technician Liaison
Pia Bartolini, CVT, VTS

Executive Director, Emeritus
Wilbur Amand, VMD

Conference Proceedings Editor
Charlotte Kirk Baer

Conference Planning
Dana Varble, DVM

View Our Past Presidents
Your browser is out-of-date!

Official update from Your browser is not current, and is too outdated to render this page correctly. Please use the button below to choose a variety of updated, secure, faster browsers.Update my browser now