Meet Our Team
We are proud to introduce you to our highly qualified team of veterinarians, veterinary staff, and specialists. Click below on each name to learn more about the team serving you and your extraordinary pet.
Dr. Laurie Hess, DVM, Diplomate ABVP (Avian Practice)
Owner & Medical Director
Avian & Exotic Pet Veterinarian
Dr. Hess is board-certified by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners in avian (bird) medicine and served as the President of the Association of Avian Veterinarians from 2009-2010. She is also an active member of the Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians and the Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians.
After graduating summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa from Yale University, Dr. Hess received her veterinary medical degree from Tufts. She then completed a one-year internship and a two-year residency in avian and exotic pet medicine and surgery at the world-renowned Animal Medical Center in New York City.
Dr. Hess has lectured both nationally and internationally 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.
Dr. Hess is a guest exotic pet expert on Animal Planet's exotic pet series "Little Pets 101" and "Peculiar Pets 101.” She has also appeared on Animal Planet in Drs. Foster and Smith's TV series, "Faithful Friends,” and has been a guest on the "Martha Stewart Show," discussing the importance of educating yourself about exotic pets before you get one. Dr. Hess has also appeared on CBS’s morning show, "The Doctors," where she discussed exotic pets for people with allergies, and on Fox TV’s “Inside Edition,” where she discussed bird behavior. In addition, Dr. Hess has been a guest on both the WPIX Morning News in New York City and on the Fox morning show, “Good Day NY,” 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 she appeared weekly as the "Exotic Pet Vet" on the New York/New Jersey/Connecticut cable station, RNN TV. Dr. Hess also discusses bird health on her monthly radio show, "Bird’s Eye View," on www.petliferadio.com and makes guest appearances regularly on radio stations throughout the U.S. and Canada discussing exotic pet issues.
Dr. Hess has written several articles about exotic pets in syndicated columns nationwide and in well-known exotic pet magazines such as Bird Talk, Birds USA, and Critters Magazine. She also blogs regularly about exotic pet topics on well-known pet websites, including www.Vetstreet.com and www.birdchannel.com. She is a senior editor of the Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery, as well as a guest editor of the Journal of Exotic Pet Medicine, Veterinary Clinics of North America (Exotic Animal Series) and of Exotic DVM Magazine. She also has been published in internationally recognized veterinary journals including the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association and Veterinary Record.
Michelle Ravich, DVM
Avian and Exotic Pet Veterinarian
Michelle graduated with a Bachelor of Science in biology from Cornell University, and she received her veterinary education from the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. She then completed a competitive rotating emergency, medicine and surgery internship at BluePearl Veterinary Partners in Tampa, Florida. During her internship, she had the opportunity to treat numerous exotic patients on an emergency basis. Dr. Ravich also completed an additional one-year internship in avian/exotic animal medicine and surgery at the Veterinary Center, and she will be finishing a two-year residency at the Veterinary Center this summer. She has a special interest in bird and exotic animal behavior.
Michelle has always had an interest in exotic animals. She has had multiple experiences working with exotic species including at the Boston Zoo (Zoo New England), Bronx Zoo, White Oak Conservation Center in Yulee Florida, Minnesota Raptor Center, and even the Greenburg Nature Center in Scarsdale, NY. Michelle shares her home with her husband Jared, who is also a veterinarian, as well as Toby the dog, Trogdor the leopard gecko, and Ajax the ball python.
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Our Veterinary Support Staff
Jillian Spielman LVT, Practice Manager
Practice Manager & Licensed Veterinary Technician
A Chicago native, Jillian is happy to be home in the Northeast again. She started her veterinary career working with wildlife and soon became a licensed veterinary technician in the emergency/critical care department of a large referral hospital in Michigan. She, in fact, has published articles on veterinary technology in Veterinary Technician Magazine. Although Jillian enjoyed her years as a technician, in 2006, she found her niche as a veterinary hospital administrator managing a large emergency clinic. After spending years as a jack of all trades administrative, Jillian developed expertise not only in management but also in operational improvements, strategic planning, customer service, and exceptional patient care.
To advance her knowledge even further, Jillian is currently obtaining her bachelor’s degree in veterinary hospital management at Saint Petersburg College; she will complete her studies in 2014 to become a certified veterinary practice manager. With her attention to detail, meticulous sense of organization, and professional yet compassionate demeanor, Jillian is a terrific asset to the Veterinary Center.
Licensed Veterinary Technician
A Bronx, NY, native, Steve received his degree in veterinary technology from LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City, NY, in 2003. He has worked with both pet exotic species in private veterinary practice and with wild species at the Bronx Zoo Wildlife Health Center and the Zoo’s Reptile House. He is also a certified technician in the field of human ultrasonography.
Steve has been interested in exotics since he was 4 years old. He loves all exotic pets but has a special passion for reptiles. Steve got his first pet snake at age 11 and was breeding snakes by the time he was a teenager. Currently, he owns 25 snakes, 3 cockatiels, and a marginated tortoise. With his upbeat attitude and eagerness to always be learning more, Steve is a great team player to have on the Veterinary Center’s staff.
Licensed Veterinary Technician
A recent graduate of the SUNY Ulster Veterinary technology program, Danielle comes to us with more than a decade of experience working in the veterinary field. In addition to working in both small and large animal practices, she has a great deal of experience with wildlife rehabilitation, working with many different species of wild birds and waterfowl and spending a great deal of time volunteering with a local SPCA. She has been interested in working with animals since she was a toddler, quite often depicting herself with her animal “friends” in childhood drawings. Danielle loves to continuously learn her trade and has made a commitment to obtaining a specialty certification with the Academy of Veterinary Technicians in Clinical Practice as an Exotics Technician. Danielle shares her home with her husband Matt, daughter Zoey, their French Bulldog Stitch, 2 cats named Ciao and Cricket, and 2 rats named Lemiwinks and Wikilinks. She is an avid photographer and crafter and enjoys traveling, touring baseball stadiums, and historical sites.
A lover of all exotic animals, Darby has always had a special interest in reptiles. Darby currently has several pets, including 2 bearded dragons, a 3 1/2 foot long green iguana, a 2 foot long corn snake, a red eared slider, and a painted turtle, nearly all of which she has rescued. A recent graduate of the Ulster County Community College in the Veterinary Technician program, she is excited to start her career as a veterinary technician and to follow her passion for exotic pets. With an enthusiastic smile, Darby is always eager to jump in and give both colleagues and clients a hand.
Front Desk Manager
With her outgoing demeanor and her self-described “go-getter” personality, Angela is the ideal person to handle the busy front desk at the Veterinary Center.
A Westchester native, Angela has worked in the veterinary field since 2004. Having handled the reception desk at another busy Westchester County veterinary hospital that treated exotic pets, Angela is very familiar with the unusual species we see here at the Veterinary Center.
Growing up in nearby Port Chester, Angela has always loved exotic pets and has had several of her own, including ferrets and guinea pigs. Currently the owner of three ferrets – Little Man, Peanut, and Pooka – Angela admits that ferrets are her favorite. Whether you have a bird, reptile, rabbit, guinea pig, ferret, chinchilla, or other exotic pet, Angela will welcome you to the Veterinary Center with a big hello; but be sure if you own a ferret, she’s likely to give you an extra smile.
Always a lover of exotic pets, Angie grew up with chinchillas, rabbits, and turtles of her own. Thus, she was a natural fit for working at the Veterinary Center. With her big smile and quiet demeanor, Angie greets all of the Center’s clients with a big hello on Saturday mornings. Although she is a terrific receptionist, Angie hopes someday to go to veterinary school, herself, and is gaining invaluable experience working at the Veterinary Center. If you stop by the Center on the weekend, be sure to give say hi to Angie, and tell her all about your special exotic pet.
Having grown up in Connecticut, Nicole has always wanted to work with pets. Following high school graduation, Nicole spent several years in the pet store industry managing a very large and busy pet store and working one-on-one with pet owners. Having owned two African gray parrots and several cats and dogs, Nicole is very attuned to exotic pet owners’ needs. With her outgoing manner and friendly demeanor, Nicole is always there to give clients whatever special attention they need to ensure they have a positive experience at the front desk. Nicole loves softball, being outdoors, and watching comedies, but most of all, she enjoys spending time with friends and family.
Specialists We Work With
Marnin Forman, DVM, DACVIM
Dr. Forman is currently a staff internist at Cornell University Veterinary Specialists in Stamford, CT, and he visits the Veterinary Center for Birds & Exotics to perform abdominal ultrasound examinations. He is board-certified by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. Dr. Forman received his DVM from Texas A&M University Veterinary School and then went on to complete a rotating internship in small animal medicine and surgery at The Animal Medical Center in New York City. In addition, he completed both a fellowship in nephrology and a residency in internal medicine at the University of California, Davis. Dr. Forman then worked as a staff internist in a large private specialty practice where he was involved in collaborative studies with veterinarians at Cornell University, the Ohio State University, the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine, and Idexx Laboratories. In addition to his focus on gastroenterology, Dr. Forman is trained in endocrinology, pulmonology, immunology, hematology, critical care medicine, nutrition, and management of infectious disease. Dr. Forman has lectured throughout the United States on multiple internal medicine topics including pancreatitis, acute and chronic kidney diseases, liver disease and nasal disorders, Cushing's syndrome, and diabetes mellitus.
Anthony J. Fischetti, DVM, MS, DACVR
Dr. Fischetti is head of the Diagnostic Imaging Service at The Animal Medical Center in New York City. He is board-certified by the American College of Veterinary Radiologists and has studied thousands of x-rays and CT scans from exotic pets of all kinds. He reviews both digital x-rays and CT scan results from the Veterinary Center for Birds & Exotics on an as needed basis and usually is able to report his findings to the Center’s doctors within 24-48 hours. He received his veterinary medical degree from Cornell School of Veterinary Medicine and then completed a rotating internship in small animal medicine & surgery at the University of Pennsylvania. He then achieved a master’s degree from The Ohio State University, where he stayed on to complete his radiology residency training. In addition to radiology, he has strong interests in MRI and CT scanning and abdominal ultrasonography.
Jean-Paul Petrie, DVM, DACVIM—Veterinary Cardiology
Dr. Petrie is founder and owner of Hudson Valley Veterinary Cardiology, LLC, a mobile echocardiography company that services the tri-state area. He is a well-known board-certified veterinary cardiologist who visits the Veterinary Center for Birds & Exotics to see patients, as needed. He is board-certified by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine in Cardiology and has a specific interest in echocardiography. He received his veterinary medical degree from the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph in Canada. He then completed an internship at Michigan Veterinary Specialists and a post-doctoral fellowship in cardiac physiology and interventional cardiology at the Robarts Research Institute, University Hospital, London, Ontario, Canada. Dr. Petrie went on to complete a residency in cardiology at The Animal Medical Center in New York City and stayed on as a staff cardiologist in the Department of Medicine at The Animal Medical Center for 11 years. He continues to lecture both nationally and internationally, is actively involved in clinical research projects, and has published several articles and book chapters.