Wildlife Disease Association


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Wildlife Veterinary Section

Photo Credit: Peregrine Wolff bighorn sheep Ovis canadensis


The Wildlife Veterinary Section serves to enhance the contribution of veterinary medicine to the health, welfare, and conservation of wildlife.


Upcoming Events

Trilateral Wildlife Health Webinar Series

Key Date: Thursday, April 28th, 12 PM USA, EDT

Michelle Dennis, DVM, PhD, DACVP will present: “Disease in a Hard Shell: A Tough Case to Crack - Challenges to Investigating Mussel Mortality and Declines”

For the webinar link and more information please go HERE.

News and Announcements

2021 WVS Annual Section Report to Council HERE.

Grants and Awards

Wildlife Veterinary Section Grant

This grant will be available later in 2022.

The WVS offers a grant of up to $5,000. The purpose of this grant is to support activities that promote the health and welfare of free-ranging wildlife through research, application and dissemination of knowledge or capacity building. Proposals may include research, citizen science, or a specific activity that benefits education about wildlife diseases.

Click HERE for more information.

Wildlife Veterinary Section Travel Award

Given annually to a presenter at the Annual International Meeting who meets the following criteria: they are not eligible for one of the student awards, the topic of their presentation relates to the principles of veterinary medicine and wildlife conservation or disease management, and the individual is from one of the countries rated by the World Bank as middle, middle-low, or low income (LMIC). Application details coming soon!


Chair: Rebecca Hardman - Rebecca.hardman@myFWC.com

Affiliation: Wildlife veterinarian for Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission with focus on herpetofaunal, avian, and aquatic species

Bio: I received a BA in Ecology and Conservation Biology from Boston University and MS in Biology at Western Carolina University where my research focused on the natural history and distribution of herpetofaunal populations. I received my DVM and PhD at the University of Tennessee (UT) where I applied veterinary diagnostics and ecological analytical methods to field-based projects. I have also served leadership roles in the UT One Health initiative and the nonprofit, The Alongside Wildlife foundation. My overall goals are to provide data-based solutions for wildlife conservation that simultaneously promote sustainable healthy lifestyles of associated human populations. Recent projects have focused on comprehensive antemortem health assessments and mortality investigations of wild and translocated amphibian or aquatic species including hellbenders, green salamanders, and freshwater mussels. I am passionate about multidisciplinary collaborative teams as these complex wildlife health issue cannot be solved without them.

Secretary: Sandie BlackSandieB@calgaryzoo.com

Affiliation: Head of Veterinary Services, Calgary Zoo, Calgary, CA

Bio: Following a residency in Zoo and Wildlife medicine and pathology at the Toronto Zoo and Ontario Veterinary College I landed at the Calgary Zoo and have stayed here ever since- as Associate Veterinarian/Pathologist, then Associate Veterinarian and lastly Head of Veterinary Services. My work has encompassed clinical medicine and the development and implementation of several conservation breeding programs. My research interests have varied from diseases of wild sheep and goats, carnivore anesthesia to capture effects, health, and chronic stress of Narwhal.  I have been involved with wildlife health issues for national wildlife handling guidelines (CCAC), as an executive of the CAZWV, a board member for WDA, and member of the International Whooping Crane Recovery Team (current) as well as the Canadian swift fox and Vancouver Island Marmot recovery teams (past).


Treasurer: Julia Burco - Julia.d.burco@state.or.us

Affiliation: Veterinarian for Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Corvallis, OR

Bio: I have been a member of WDA for the past 15 years and the Wildlife Veterinary Section since its inception . Playing a more active role as treasurer is a perfect opportunity to share many of the experiences, I have learned early in my career and coordinate with other wildlife health professionals. I have diverse background in wildlife health; ranging from oil spill response and avian infectious diseases from my PhD work with the Wildlife Health Center at UC Davis to working with a diverse array of free-ranging wildlife and health issues in my current position as a state wildlife veterinarian for Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, where I have worked for the past eight and a half years. I am very passionate about training students, biologists, and the public in techniques for monitoring and evaluating wildlife health and currently organize our busy externship program for 4th-year veterinary students interested in wildlife medicine.


Communications: Michelle Kneeland - mkneel02@gmail.com

Affiliation: Wildlife Veterinary Services for Maine Dept of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife and Ricketts Conservation Foundation.

Bio: I am a wildlife veterinarian with experience working across state and federal agencies, non-profits, academia, and zoo/exotics clinical practice.  I focus primarily on free-ranging wildlife health through field research, captive-rearing/reintroduction, and pathology.  I currently split my time between New England and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, providing veterinary services for the Maine Dept of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife and Ricketts Conservation Foundation. I recently founded WildlifeHealth.org, an online networking and resource sharing platform for wildlife health professionals and students.


Student Representative: Daniella Guzman - Guzman.143@osu.edu

Affiliation: Student, Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Columbus, OH

Bio: I am an economist and third-year veterinary student at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine. I am pursuing a career in zoo medicine and policy. In addition to my interest in zoological medicine, I am also exploring an interest in reproduction and ex situ conservation. I love organized veterinary medicine and am excited to bring my student perspective to the table! 



October 2016: Notes from the Chair (PDF)

March 2016: WVS ByLaws (PDF)

Advisory Board of the Wildlife Veterinary Section
Gerardo Acosta-Jamett: Gerardo.acosta@uach.cl 
Mark W. Atkinson: matkinson@wcs.org
Marc Cattet: marc.cattet@usask.ca 
Walt Cook: wcook@cvm.tamu.edu 
Cindy Driscoll: cdriscoll@dnr.state.md.us 
Colin Gillin: colin.m.gillin@state.or.us 
Sonia M. Hernandez: shernz@uga.edu 
Clay Hilton: clayton.hilton@tamuk.edu 
Chris Walzer: chris.walzer@vetmeduni.ac.at

Special Thanks to the following members for their additional donations in support of the section:
Patricia Latas
David McRuer
Kay Mehren
Anna Meredith
Erica Miller
Felicia Nutter
Emi Saito
Jennifer Showers

Wildlife Veterinary Section Social Media Facebook (for Members only)