Meet Our Team of Veterinarians and Staff
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. Laurie 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.
Dr. Lauren Thielen
Avian and Exotic Pet Veterinarian
Dr. Lauren Thielen received her Bachelor of Science in Biology from Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas, and went on to veterinary school at Texas A&M University. She completed a one-year exotic exclusive internship at Broward Avian and Exotic Animal Hospital in Florida. She will be completing a two-year residency at the Veterinary Center so she can achieve her life-long goal of becoming a board certified avian specialist. Dr. Thielen has always wanted to be an exotic animal veterinarian. She worked as a veterinary technician for 5 years during which time she participated in wildlife rehabilitation, one of her many passions. Her other exotic animal experiences include working at the animal health department of the Columbus Zoo in Ohio and conducting field research on macaws in the heart of the Amazon rainforest at the Tambopata Research Center in Peru. There, she climbed 100-foot trees and entered the nest of a macaw pair to examine their chicks, collecting data, and provide veterinary care, as needed. In addition, upon graduation from veterinary school, she was awarded the Kaytee Avian and Special Species award for her interest in and contribution to avian research and medicine. When she’s not practicing veterinary medicine, Dr. Thielen enjoys spending time with her two rabbits, her bronze wing pionus parrot, and her cat.
Dr. Kristin Britton
Avian and Exotic Pet Veterinarian
Dr. Kristin Britton received her bachelor’s degree in marine science from the University of Hawaii, Hilo. She worked as a veterinary technician at an avian and exotic clinic in Monterey, California, and at a small animal general and emergency practice in Augusta, Georgia. Dr. Britton obtained her veterinary degree from Ross University and was able to work and perform research with the St. Kitts Sea Turtle Monitoring Network. She obtained her veterinary medical clinical training from Kansas State University. She then completed a 1-year rotating internship at a small animal specialty practice in Torrance, California. She received specialized training in wildlife medicine and surgery through a 1-year internship at the world-renowned Wildlife Center of Virginia. She expanded her specialized training in wildlife, exotics, and zoo animal medicine and surgery at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. We are thrilled that Dr. Britton will be completing a two-year specialized avian medicine and surgery residency at the Veterinary Center for Birds & Exotics. Dr. Britton enjoys spending her time getting outside and hiking with her Shih-Tzu Riley.
Click on the headers below to read more about our team!
Our Veterinary Support Staff
With a B.A. in management, Ashley moved back to New York after living in Chicago for the past four years. While growing up, she always showed an interest in animals, and when she was given the opportunity to work for a dog and cat hospital shortly after college graduation, she eagerly took it. At the Veterinary Center, Ashley is excited to apply her superb management and marketing skills to a specialty animal hospital. Her work at the Veterinary Center allows her to combine her passion for animals with her love for organization and event planning. Whenever there is an issue at the Veterinary Center, Ashley is the go-to person for problem-solving. When she's not at work, Ashley enjoys spending time with her family and friends, sampling local craft beer, and photography.
Mary Ann Collins
Licensed Veterinary Technician
A lifelong Westchester County resident, Mary Ann attended SUNY Farmingdale as an “aggie” and planned on going into dairy farming. However, after she realized that cows were a 24/7 job, she turned her focus to small animals and exotics as a veterinary technician. After running a boarding kennel in Harrison, NY, Mary Ann returned to the veterinary technology world and worked in several small animal hospitals around Westchester and Connecticut where she gained invaluable experience working with birds and other exotic species. She lives in South Salem with her dog and two birds. When she’s not caring for all the needy wildlife that comes to her door, Mary Ann is at the Veterinary Center caring for all the exotic pets and helping us keep the hospital on track.
Licensed Veterinary Technician
Growing up in a military family, Steve moved around quite a bit as a child but spent most of his time in Virginia. After spending twenty years working in sales and marketing, Steve decided to jump into the field of veterinary medicine by becoming a licensed veterinary technician. His love and fascination for birds lead him to make this major career change. Steve came to the Veterinary Center from Missouri where he worked as a technician primarily with birds. He and his wife, Susan, own ten parrots including two parrotlets, a budgerigar, a painted conure, two cockatiels, two Goffin’s cockatoos, a Congo African grey parrot, and a Catalina macaw. Steve brings a great deal of knowledge not only about bird handling but also about bird behavior. He has a strong interest in parrot enrichment and in creating low stress veterinary visits. If it’s bird behavior you want to know about, then Steve is your man.
With her unique interests, such as barrel racing horses and collecting sneakers, Jasmine is truly one-of-a-kind. Originally from Queens, Jasmine has lived in Mount Kisco for over 20 years and has owned all types of exotic pets, from African gray parrots to hamsters to leopard geckos. She decided in high school that animals were her calling, so she began working in veterinary hospitals as a teenager. No matter how busy she gets answering phones, typing on the computer, or speaking to clients, Jasmine has a smile on her face. She is the ultimate multitasker whose goal it is to educate every pet owner who comes to the Veterinary Center about preventative care for their invaluable animals.
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.
Originally from Mount Kisco, NY, Zenia has had a passion for animals since she was born. She has cared for more pets (over 200!) in her life – including chinchillas, snakes, turtles and pigeons - so far than most people do in a lifetime. Zenia first came to the Veterinary Center as a high school volunteer, and we loved her so much that she has stayed on with us as a veterinary assistant. Whether restocking our supplies, helping the veterinarians, or lending at hand at the front desk, Zenia is always busy. Now that she has completed high school, Zenia is hoping to gain experience by working at the Veterinary Center so that she can go on to apply to veterinary school.
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.