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Dr. Laurie Hess, DVM, Diplomate ABVP (Avian Practice)

Dr. Laurie Hess is one of approximately 140 veterinarians in the world board-certified by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners in Avian (bird) Practice. She is the only American Animal Hospital Association-accredited bird/exotic pet specialty hospital in New York and only one of three such hospitals in the country. As a bird specialist and exotic animal veterinarian, Dr. Hess solely sees birds and other exotic pets, such as rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs, chinchillas, small rodents (mice, rats, hamsters, gerbils), reptiles, amphibians, and some more uncommon species such as sugar gliders, hedgehogs, wallabies, prairie dogs, kinkajous, and fennec foxes. She not only treats sick exotic pets, but also advises owners about preventative care/wellness medicine for exotic pets, including proper diet, environment, and behavior.

Dr. Hess decided she wanted to be a veterinarian when she was 15 years old but had no idea that exotic pets would become her passion until years later. After graduating summa cum laude Phi Beta Kappa from Yale University, Dr. Hess received her veterinary medical degree from Tufts and then completed a one-year internship at the world-renowned Animal Medical Center (AMC) in New York City. There, she was exposed to exotic pet medicine and quickly realized the importance of preventative medical care for birds and other unique species. She then completed a two-year residency in avian and exotic pet medicine and surgery at the AMC and remained on staff at there for eight years during which time she became co- head of the AMC’s Avian and Exotic Pet Service. After the AMC, she went on to work in private veterinary practice in New York City, the surrounding suburbs, and Connecticut.

Having worked in public relations in New York before her veterinary career, Dr. Hess is no stranger to the media. She has appeared several times with exotic pets on “The Martha Stewart Show” and has served an exotic pet expert on Animal Planet’s exotic pet series, “Little Pets 101,” as well as “Peculiar Pets 101.” She has been a featured veterinarian on Animal Planet’s series "Faithful Friends,” and she has appeared on CBS’s morning show, “The Doctors,” where she discussed exotic pets for people with allergies and autism. She has also appeared on numerous other TV shows including “Inside Edition,” the WPIX Morning News in New York City, and FOX TV’s morning show, “Good Day Street Talk,” where she highlighted the benefits of exotic animals as pets. Dr. Hess has been a featured veterinarian on CBS's popular news magazine show, "48 Hours," and has appeared on Fox Business News Network discussing the exotic pet industry. She has also appeared on the Hallmark Channel’s pet series, “Petkeeping with Marc Morrone.” She is a regular guest on radio stations across the U.S. and Canada discussing various exotic pet topics, and she hosts a monthly Internet radio show, “Bird’s Eye View.” Dr. Hess was featured weekly as the "Exotic Pet Vet" on the New York/New Jersey/Connecticut cable TV station, Regional News Network, and she has been a guest discussing exotic pets on Blog Talk Radio and Pet Talk Radio, as well as on the Hudson Valley Talk Radio Network in New York.

Dr. Hess has lectured both nationally and internationally on exotic pets, regularly speaks to local exotic pet clubs and schools about exotic pet care, and has published numerous articles and book chapters on birds and other exotic species. She is especially interested in exotic pet nutrition. In the late 1990s, she completed groundbreaking nutrition research on the importance of pelleted diets in birds. She presented these findings both in Europe and in the U.S. and later published the research in 2002. As part of her work to advance avian medicine, she served as president of the international Association of Avian Veterinarians of which she is currently the treasurer. She is also a senior editor of the Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery, a guest editor of the Journal of Exotic Pet Medicine, and an active member of several professional associations, including the Association of Avian Veterinarians, the Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians, and the Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians. As a veterinarian who exclusively treats birds and exotic pets, Dr. Hess is passionate about making the lives of these unique pets better and enjoys the challenge of keeping up with the advances in medical care for all of these species.

Posts by Dr. Laurie Hess, DVM, Diplomate ABVP (Avian Practice)

Person holding a mouse Small Animal Health & CareChoosing a Veterinary Hospital For Your Exotic Pet: 5 Basic Questions

Person holding a mouse


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Wet parrot after bath Bird Health & CareWarm Weather Tips For Exotic Pets

Like dogs and cats, exotic pets such as birds, rabbits, lizards, and guinea pigs need to stay cool and comfortable during the summer months.

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Small Animal Health & CareMay Is National Allergy Month: Alternative Pets for Allergic Owners

Are you allergic to cats and dogs? There are some great exotic pets for people with allergies, including reptiles, birds, and amphibians.

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Bird Health & CareEgg Binding in Birds and Reptiles

Egg-binding in birds and reptiles occurs when a female is unable to lay an egg, meaning it remains within the reproductive tract indefinitely.

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Small Animal Health & CareRodents: More Than Just Vermin

Rodents are more than just vermin. These adorable, fuzzy pets can make great pets, including Guinea pigs, rats, degus, chinchillas, and gerbils.

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Parrots, Problems, and the Power of the Positive Bird Health & CareParrots, Problems, and the Power of the Positive

It happens every year. Birds scream. People scream back. As the days get longer and temperatures start to climb, the screaming gets worse. Some pet parrots scream all year long, but many scream louder when their hormonal clocks get wound up in spring as they are looking to mate.

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Reptiles: Part 2 Reptile Health & CareReptiles: Part 2

I'd like to continue that discussion in Part two of my reptile blog. Below are two more great options for anyone looking to add a reptile to their family.

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Reptiles 101 Reptile Health & CareReptiles 101

Some people love them. Others fear them. Regardless, most of us would agree that they are at least very interesting to look at.

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Adopt a bird! Bird Health & CareJanuary Is National Adopt a Rescued Bird Month!

There are thousands of abandoned, homeless birds in need of adoption, and with the aid of the Internet, you can actually see and learn about them without ever leaving your house.

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Tips for Keeping Your Exotic Pet Safe from Household Toxins Small Animal Health & CareTips for Keeping Your Exotic Pet Safe from Household Toxins

All of us with exotic pets strive to give our pets a safe and comfortable home. But, as we animal lovers know, our pets tend to get into anything and everything, given the opportunity.

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