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.

Our Veterinarians

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

Dr. Ravich 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 Blue Pearl 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 and a two-year residency at the Veterinary Center this summer. She has a special interest in bird and exotic animal behavior.

Dr. Ravich 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.

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.

Ashley Brendle
Practice Manager

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.

Click on the headers below to read more about our team!

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Our Veterinary Support Staff

Danielle D'Amato
Licensed Veterinary Technician
Head 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.

Kate Marcantonio
Licensed Veterinary Technician

With her love of teaching, Kate decided early on that she wanted to work in the veterinary field in some capacity to help others with their pets. As a teenager, Kate solidified her decision to work in veterinary medicine after she spent time volunteering in several animal shelters in upstate New York. Thus, when she had the opportunity to become a licensed veterinary technician at SUNY Delhi, she jumped at the chance. During her training, Kate gained experience with exotic pets of all kinds and loved to work with a wide variety of exotic pet species. Kate is excited both to hone her technical skills at the Veterinary Center and to help foster relationships between people and their pets. When she isn’t working with other people’s pets, she is likely working with their children in the pool as a CPR-certified lifeguard and swim instructor.

Angela Macchia
Receptionist

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.

Lauren “LB” Berger
Receptionist

With a bachelor’s degree in business economics, LB always adored animals but didn’t realize until recently that her real passion lay in working in an animal hospital setting where she could employ her excellent business management and communication skills. After working for several years in management in the music industry, LB had her first taste of work at a veterinary hospital in 2013, and she was hooked! She knew that the animal hospital environment was where she belonged. With her attention to detail, great ability to multi-task, big smile, and warm demeanor, LB is at the Veterinary Center’s front desk to welcome clients and their unique pets and to ensure their needs are met.

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.