Medicine of Mammalian and Avian Species (MMAS) Symposium

October 22-23, 2022 hosted by the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine and the Purdue Veterinary Exotic Animal Club.

The two-day Medicine of Mammalian and Avian Species (MMAS) Symposium will open with a keynote lecture on Conservation of Bearded and Egyptian Vultures by Mr. Anton Vaidl and Dr. Helena Vaidlová of the Prague Zoo.  The MMAS Symposium will provide attendees with lectures covering basic medicine, handling, nutrition, intubation, anesthesia and many other topics for avian and small mammals.  

  • Wet labs will cover exotic Small mammal IO Catheter Techniques and handling, avian large Parrot PE, triage and radiology.
  • The keynote speakers are Mr. Anton Vaidl and Dr. Helena Vaidlová from Prague.
  • The Symposium is open to veterinarians, veterinary nurses, veterinary and veterinary nursing students, and undergraduates.
  • There are concurrent lecture tracks covering avian and exotic companion animal medicine.
  • Registration includes access to lectures, meals, keynote lecture, and available lecture notes. Wet labs are an additional fee.

Symposium Speakers

Antonin Vaidl

Dr. Antonin VaidlAntonin Vaidl has been a bird lover all his life. He moved to Prague Zoo to work as keeper, incubator attendant and assistant to the bird curator from 1995-2006.  In 2007 he worked as curator-consultant at the Birds International, Inc bird park in the Philippines.  After several months he came back and since 2008 has been the curator of birds in Prague Zoo.  Over the last 20 years, he has had the opportunity to work with more than 600 different bird species including about 80 parrot species.  During his work as curator, they began to breed Palm cockatoos, Pesquet’s parrots, Hyacinth macaws, Kea parrots, Blue-naped parrots, Golden shouldered parakeets, Yellow and black-bellied Jamaican amazons, Red-tailed amazons and other parrot species. The various collection of birds also includes difficult-to-breed fig parrots representing four species.  Antonin is the author of the zoological concept of a new biotope Parrot house for rare parrot species. Together, with his wife, they also wrote a comprehensive book on the issue of parrot breeding and veterinary care.  Antonin is also Chairman of the Bird Committee Czech and Slovak Zoos and he is a member of the IUCN working group for herons and Asian passerines.  He’s a member of the Advisory Board of Vulture Conservation Foundation and EEP Coordinator for Egyptian vulture and Rufous Philippines hornbill.  As a monitoring person he is responsible for Pesquet’s parrots, Apo-mount lorikeets and Yellow-billed Jamaican Amazons within the EAZA.  He publishes articles on the breeding of various species of birds and has presented his lectures in more than 20 countries around the world.

MVDr Helena Vaidlová

MVDr Helena Vaidlova Dr. Vaidlová received here MVDr (DVM) degree in 2004 from the University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences Brno, in the Czech Republic. She worked with small animals and exotic pets in private practices for four years in Liberec and Litomĕříce, both north of Prague, as well as with the collection at the Liberec Zoo. She has also spent time at the American Fondouk Animal Hospital in Morocco as well as at Birds International Inc in Manilla, Philippines. There she also worked with many wildlife rehabilitation and rescue stations for endangered species in the Philippines. Since 2008, she has created a specialized veterinary welfare clinic with her husband focused on birds, located in Prague. She provides veterinary care to the avian collection at the Prague Zoo several days a week. She is a Parrot TAG veterinary advisors of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria. She also has spent time working with Elephants at the Kuala Gandah Elephant Conservation Center in Malaysia and the Elephant Palace and Royal Kraal in Thailand. Outside of work, she enjoys her family with many animals at home.  


Dr. Levi Smith

Dr. Levi Smith Dr. Smith is an Indiana native and a second-year resident in Comparative Ophthalmology at Purdue University Veterinary Hospital. Dr. Smith graduated from Ball State University in 2016 with Bachelor’s degrees in zoology and Spanish linguistics. He then attended veterinary school at Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine, where he was the President-elect and President of the Veterinary Exotic Animal Club (VEAC) and was part of the founding committees for the MOAAR and MMAS Symposia, fostering many relationships with invited speakers that continue within the VEAC. In addition, he spent his summers and rotations during his clinical year at wildlife and exotic pet clinics around the country. Dr. Smith graduated from Purdue CVM in 2020 and then went on to complete a Small Animal Medicine and Surgery Rotating Internship at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, where he continued to do elective rotations with exotic animal species. Dr. Smith is very excited to be back at PVM and continue his passion for exotic animals by helping treat and study their ocular anatomy, physiology, and diseases. Dr. Smith hopes to continue work with exotic pets, zoological collections, and wildlife after completion of his residency.

Dr. Whitney Johnson

Dr. Whitney Johnson Dr. Whitney Johnson graduated from Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2016. After graduation, she spent four years in private practice, gaining experience in the case management of not only small animals, but many exotic species and wildlife. Following private practice, she worked as the veterinary intern at Assiniboine Park Zoo and then Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo before accepting the position as Staff Veterinarian at The Toledo Zoo & Aquarium.

Dr. Tracey Ritzman

Dr. Tracey Ritzman Dr. Ritzman is a native of northern Ohio and lived in North Carolina while in middle and high school.  Dr. Ritzman obtained her undergraduate degree from North Carolina State University College with a Bachelor of Science in Zoology and completed her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from N.C. State College of Veterinary Medicine in 1995.  Dr. Ritzman is board-certified by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners in both Avian and Exotic Companion Mammal practice.  The board certification process involves many years of additional training after veterinary school in medicine and surgery for the specific species, and a rigorous examination process. Dr. Ritzman is one of only two dual board-certified veterinarians for avian and exotic mammals in western North Carolina. 

Dr. Ritzman’s clinical work focuses on non-traditional animals such as birds (companion and wild), exotic mammals (ferrets, rabbits, rodents, chinchillas, guinea pigs), reptiles, and fish. Her interests include avian and exotic medicine and surgery, endoscopy, and nutrition. She supports the veterinary community through teaching in avian and exotic animal medicine. She is a speaker at both national and international veterinary meetings and enjoys teaching veterinary students and technicians in her specialties.  In her free time Dr. Ritzman enjoys spending time with her family, taking her rescue dog on walks, and playing the piano and the English handbells. 

Dr. Ritzman is an associate veterinarian at Carolinas Veterinary Care Clinic in Huntersville, North Carolina. She also provides medical and surgical veterinary care for the magnificent birds of prey, both resident and wild rehabilitation raptors, at the Carolina Raptor Center in the Charlotte area.  

Dr. Ritzman, her husband and their son live in Huntersville, North Carolina. 

Dr. Michelle Borsdorf

Dr. Michelle Borsdorf Originally from Vancouver, Canada, Dr. Borsdorf obtained a BS in Biology from Simon Fraser University and then earned her DVM from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan in 2014. After graduation, she completed a small animal rotating internship at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a specialty zoo, exotic, and wildlife internship at Texas A&M University, and a zoological companion animal residency at North Carolina State University. Dr. Borsdorf founded the Avian and Exotics service in October 2019 at the BluePearl Pet Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri. In 2020, she achieved board certification and is a proud Diplomate within the American College of Zoological Medicine. Dr. Borsdorf is excited to grow in her new position as a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Zoological Medicine Service at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Dr. Lorraine Corriveau

Dr. Lorraine Corriveau Dr. Lorraine Corriveau attended Purdue University to obtain her Bachelors and DVM degree through 1999. She is a Diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners as well as in the American Board of Laser Surgery. She practiced in the private sector for a couple of years before returning to Purdue in 2001 to be a clinical instructor in primary care service of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital with a focus on exotics.

Dr. Steve Thompson

Dr. Steve Thompson Dr. Steve Thompson is a graduate of The Ohio State University College of Veterinary

Medicine. He leads the Small Animal Primary Care and exotic pet rotations for 3rd and 4th year DVM and VN student rotations and is affiliated with Purdue’s Center for the Human – Animal Bond and Center for Animal Welfare Science. He has authored chapters on implanting radiotransmitters in snakes, and pharmacotherapy for phobias. He has been board certified by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners in the canine and feline practice specialty. He is involved with several conservation organizations and has provided veterinary care in wildlife cooperatives with the US Fish & Wildlife service as well as the Ohio, Michigan and Indiana DNR related to Peregrine Falcons, Whooping Cranes, River Otters, Hellbender salamanders and Timber Rattlesnakes.

Dr. Angela Lennox

Dr. Angela Lennox Dr. Lennox is a graduate of Purdue University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. She is a board certified veterinarian through the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners in both Avian and Exotic Companion Mammal Medicine, as well as through the European College of Zoological Medicine in Small Animal Medicine and has practiced exclusively exotic animal medicine since 1991. She is a former president of the Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians and current owner of the Avian and Exotic Animal Clinic of Indianapolis. Dr. Lennox is also an adjunct professor at Purdue University where she teaches various exotic animal medicine topics to veterinary medicine and veterinary nursing students.

Dr. Rae Porter-Blackwell

Dr. Rae Porter-Blackwell Dr. Porter-Blackwell is a Northern California native who grew up trying to make friends with the neighborhood tree squirrels. During college, Dr. Porter-Blackwell did not see herself becoming an exotics veterinarian, but after volunteering at a local wildlife center grew a passion for avian medicine. In veterinary school, her goal was to become an Avian specialist, but after adopting her first rabbit, grew passionate about small herbivore medicine. Dr. Porter-Blackwell went on to complete a 1-year rotating internship in Southern California, a 1-year exotics specialty internship at the Arizona Exotic Animal Hospital, and a 2-year residency in Indianapolis at the Avian and Exotic Animal Clinic. Dr. Porter-Blackwell now works at AEAC as an associate veterinarian. When not guest-lecturing for veterinary schools such as Purdue, Michigan State, and the Romanian veterinary school, Dr. Porter-Blackwell, enjoys being outside, doing yoga, and drinking tea with her rabbits Clark and Eddie.

Dr. Jeff Toraason

Dr. Jeff Toraason Dr. Toraason was always amazed by animals as a boy and would spend much of his time at the zoo watching the animals or at home watching documentaries. As he progressed through school, he took every opportunity to learn more about animals. He became certain he wanted to become a veterinarian once he took a comparative anatomy in his undergrad years. He received his doctorate in veterinary medicine from Ross University in Saint Kitts, where he met his wife Lindsey. He completed his clinical training at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, then his rotating internship at Ocean State Veterinary Specialist in Rhode Island. Toraason then worked at an Exotic/Dog and Cat general practice for a short time before starting his residency at the Avian and Exotic Animal Clinic in Indianapolis. Outside of work he enjoys long walks with his wife and four dogs Ollie, Huey, Tiger and Petey, as well as a variety of sports, hiking and cooking. 

Dr. Crystal Matt

Dr. Crystal Matt Growing up in New Jersey, Dr. Matt spent nearly every day at a nearby lake, typically in search of frogs, fish, salamanders, or whatever else she could catch. Time not spent at the lake was usually occupied watching Steve Irwin, soaking up as much animal knowledge as she could. Her family moved to Noblesville, Indiana at the end of elementary school and she attended Indiana University in Bloomington for her undergraduate degree, where she began volunteering at a nearby wildlife rehabilitation center. This experience cemented her love for wildlife and introduced her to a passion for working with birds of prey. She attended veterinary school at Oklahoma State University and was heavily involved in the exotics program there. After veterinary school, she found herself back in the Midwest for a small animal rotating internship at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, followed by returning to the East Coast for an exotics specialty internship at Tufts University in Massachusetts. She is excited to be back in Indiana and close to her family and thrilled to be making the next step towards reaching her goal of being an avian specialist by completing a residency training program. Exotic animal medicine allows Dr. Matt to work with and help the beautiful species that have always fascinated her. Outside of work, she enjoys movies, ice cream, and taking her Beagle mix, Rex, for hikes in the woods.

Dr. Jeff Ko

Dr. Jeff Ko Dr. Jeff Ko is a board-certified anesthesiologist and professor of anesthesiology. He has been a faculty member at Purdue University for 17 years. Dr. Ko authored more than 100 scientific papers and two anesthesia handbooks. He has been actively involved in panda anesthesia with Dr. Wang and the faculty members at the Sichuan Agricultural University since 2017.

Dr. ChengDong Wang

Dr. ChengDong Wang Dr. ChengDong Wang graduated from Sichuan Agricultural University with a DVM and Ph.D degree and has been working at China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda for the past twenty years. He is in charge of panda health and disease prevention research projects. He is the team leader of panda veterinarians.

Dr. Sun Young Kim

Dr. Sun Young Kim Dr. Sun Young Kim is a veterinary clinician-scientist with a clinical specialty in small animal surgery and special interest in orthopedics. He graduated from Seoul National University in South Korea in 2000 and had clinical training in veterinary surgery at the same institution for 4 years. He obtained more clinical and research training at Michigan State University and the University of California-Davis from 2004 to 2008. Dr. Kim finished a rotating internship at the University of Florida in 2009, followed by a small animal surgery residency at UC Davis from 2009 to 2012. After his residency, he worked as a faculty surgeon in small animal orthopedics at UC Davis and MSU. He is currently teaching small animal orthopedics at Purdue University and his clinical interest is orthopedic trauma in various species. His research interests include biomechanics, such as motion analysis and mechanical testing, and 3D modeling and printing. He was heavily involved in the trauma management of zoo animals, wild birds, and companion avian and exotic pet animals at the institutions where he previously worked.   

Event Schedule

Saturday, October 22, 2022

9:00 am – 9:45 am

  • Registration 

10:00 am – 10:50 am

  • Keynote Lecture:Conservation and Reintroduction of Bearded and Egyptian Vultures – Mr. Anton Vaidl and Dr. Helena Vaidlová

11:00 am – 11:50 am

  • Avian Track:Feather loss in the Avian patient: Diagnosis and Treatment – Dr. Tracey Ritzman
  • Mammals Track:Zoo Medicine and It’s Unique Considerations – Dr. Whitney Johnson

12:00 pm – 12:50 pm

  • Avian Track:Care and Breeding of Pigeons and Doves – Mr. Anton Vaidl
  • Mammals Track:Exotic Small Mammal Intubation, Anesthesia and Monitoring – PRE-LAB – Dr. Angela Lennox

1:00 pm – 1:50 pm

  • Lunch

1:30 pm – 2:50 pm

  • Mammals Track Wet Lab: Small Mammal IO Catheter Techniques – Cadaver Wet Lab – Drs. Angela Lennox and Lorraine Corriveau

2:00 pm – 2:50 pm

  • Avian Track: Macaws: Health and Nutrition for the Practitioner – Dr. Helena Vaidlová
  • Mammals Track: Reproductive Disease in Exotic Mammals – Dr. Rae Porter-Blackwell

3:00 pm – 3:50 pm

  • Avian Track: Avian Behavior and Handling Pre Lab – Dr. Crystal Matt
  • Mammals Track: Mobility Problems and Physical Therapy – Dr. Rae Porter-Blackwell

4:00 pm – 4:50 pm

  • Mammals Track: Keeping the Vision: Ophthalmic Examination Techniques and Common Conditions in Exotic Companion Mammals – Dr. Levi Smith

5:00 pm – 5:20 pm

  • Mammals Track: Off-campus Experiences and Networking – Dr. Levi Smith

4:00 pm – 5:20 pm

  • Avian Wet Lab: Large Parrot PE – Drs. Steve Thompson, Lori Corriveau, Helena Vaidlová, and Crystal Matt

5:30 pm – 6:20 pm

  • Avian Track: Conservation of the White-bellied Heron in Bhutan – Mr. Anton Vaidl
  • Mammal Track: The Use of Therapeutic Laser Treatment in Exotic Companion Mammals – Dr. Tracey Ritzman

7:00 pm – 8:00 pm

  • Social Networking Event – Walt’s Pub and Grill—1050 Kalberer Rd.  West Lafayette  47906

Sunday, October 23, 2022

8:00 am – 8:30 am

  • Registration

8:30 am – 9:50 am

  • Mammals TrackWet Lab: Small Mammal Handling Wet Lab - Drs. Lorraine Corriveau and Julia Becker

9:00 am - 9:50 am       

  • Avian Track:Wing Triage Techniques – Pre-Lab – Dr. Sun Young Kim 
  • Mammals Track: Waking Up a Sleeping Panda: Avoiding Panda-monium – Drs. Jeff Ko and Chengdong Wang

10:00 am – 10:50 am

  • Avian Track: Avian Radiology – Dr. Helena Vaidlová
  • Mammals Track: Rabbit Gastrointestinal Stasis Syndrome – Dr. Michelle Borsdorf

11:00 am - 11:50 am 

  • Avian Track: African Grey Health and Nutrition for the Practitioner – Dr. Helena Vaidlová
  • Mammals Track: Spaying in Exotic Companion Mammals – Dr. Michelle Borsdorf

12:00pm – 12:50 pm  

  • Avian Track: Psattine Artificial Incubation and Fostering – Mr. Anton Vaidl
  • Mammals Track: Urinary Diseases in Exotic Companion Mammals – Dr. Jeff Toraason

12:00 pm – 1:20 pm   

  • Avian Track Wet Lab: Avian Triage & Radiology Cadaver Wet Lab – Drs. Sun Young Kim and Steve Thompson

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm   

  • Lunch

Sponsored by:

Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine, 625 Harrison Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907, (765) 494-7607

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