ACZM Newsletter 2018 Volume 2

President's Letter

Dear ACZM Colleagues;

I hope you have all had a productive summer. I wanted to take this opportunity to update you about the state of our College and some of the changes taking place. The ACZM is maturing as it reaches a membership of over 200 diplomates. Our members can be found in leadership positions throughout the national and international zoo, wildlife, non-domestic and exotic pet veterinary community: as university professors, zoo veterinarians, wildlife veterinarians, private practitioners and in governmental positions. The range of positions and the jobs that we do has always been very diverse and this is what makes our college so unique. The prestige of being an ACZM diplomate is something we should all be proud of as it means you’ve made a commitment to excellence in this field.

We are making some changes within our newsletter to highlight the diverse jobs, talents and activities of our membership. Look for a Diplomate Member Highlight in this edition that focuses on one of our ZCA diplomates who is setting the standard of care for companion exotics and is helping to shape future veterinarians through his active university practice and teaching. Additionally, in our newsletter we will highlight a different ACZM committee; its members, responsibilities and goals. I hope that these vignettes will spark your interest to get involved with one of our college committees and give you a better appreciation of what it takes to keep our member-driven organization running. Finally, we will be working to highlight in our newsletter research efforts and scientific advancements made by our members. Many of the prominent scientists working in these fields are our own fellow diplomates. We have much to be proud of in our college’s members and activities.

As we grow, the ACZM will continue to change and mature to meet the needs of its members and our profession. This year some of these important changes included working with an outside firm that specializes in test validation to ensure that our grading and passing score are determined by standardized methods. The changes adopted to improve the exam will go into effect in 2019. Also, our college voted to decrease our publication requirement for credentialing, We expect candidates planning to credential by both the experiential and residency routes to be able to focus on high quality publications to further the knowledge base of our varied field.

If you have comments or questions I encourage you to reach out to any member of your ACZM Executive Committee or the applicable committee chair. Remember we are a volunteer member-run organizationthat depends on your input, expertise and energy to improve and evolve to meet the needs of our College and veterinary specialty.

I hope we will see many of you at our annual meeting in a few months. This year it will be held on Sunday, October 7th at the venue for the combined AAZV, EAZWV and IZW meeting in Prague in the Czech Republic.


Kay A. Backues, DVM, DACZM

President ACZM

ACZM Mission Statement

A mission statement is the formal summary of the goals and values of an organization. Do you know what the ACZM Mission Statement is?

To learn more about the ongoing work of the ACZM, check out our website.


Continue to check the ACZM website for updated dates and ongoing activities.

The ACZM is 13 Diplomates Stronger

The ACZM Examination was given just a few weeks ago and the college has grown by 13 more members, Congratulations to these new Dips! This means that there are a mere 236 Diplomates of the American College of Zoological Medicine in the world! In the next issue, you will learn more about our newest Dips!

If your dream includes becoming a specialist in Zoological Medicine, learn more at our website.

ACZM Dip Spotlight: Joerg Mayer, DVM, MS, DABVP (Exotic Companion Mammal), DECZM, DACZM

Joerg Mayer is an ACZM Diplomate that especially enjoys working with Zoological Companion Animals such as this Moluccan cockatoo.

ACZM Diplomates work in a variety of industries and with a variety of species. Although often called "zoo vets", not all ACZM Dips work at a zoo, but can also be found employed by aquaria, government, academia, industry and private practice to name a few. Joerg Mayer is a leader in the field of Zoological Companion Animals and is currently employed in academia as an Associate Professor at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine. Read more about Joerg, his career path, and some more awesome images from his experiences here.

ACZM Leadership on the AAZV Executive Board

At the 2018 American Association of Zoo Veterinarians (AAZV) Business Meeting in Prague, Czech Republic, four ACZM Diplomates were sworn in to their new roles within the organization. The ACZM is proud to see its Diplomates performing such strong leadership roles within the Zoological Medicine community. From left to right the individuals present in the photo are:

  • Kelly Helmick DVM, Dipl ACZM (past AAZV President) is swearing in the new Executive Board.
  • Mike Adkesson, DVM, Dipl ECZM (ZHM), Dipl ACZM is the immediate Past President.
  • Julie Napier, DVM, is the new AAZV President.
  • Leigh Clayton DVM is the new AAZV President-Elect.
  • Jessica Siegal-Willott, DVM, Dipl ACZM is the new AAZV Vice President.
  • Michelle Davis, DVM, Dipl ACZM is the new AAZV Secretary.
  • Lauren Howard, DVM, Dipl ACZM is the new AAZV Treasurer.

Congratulations to our colleagues on their new leadership roles within the community!

ACZM Research Spotlight

Performing high quality research is in line with the Mission Statement of ACZM to "further the health and welfare of individuals and populations of ... animals". ACZM Diplomates lead research endeavors in the field of zoological medicine and work on a variety of species in both captive and free-ranging settings. In this issue, read about some of our amazing ACZM Diplomates and the research they are performing:

  • Michael Adkesson, DVM, Dipl ACZM, Dipl ECZM (ZHM) is flying to Peru to evaluate blood concentrations of environmental contaminants in penguins, learn more here.
  • Jennifer Flower, DVM, Dipl ACZM and Terry Norton, DVM, Dipl ACZM are working together to evaluate the stress responses in nesting loggerhead sea turtles, learn more here.
  • David Guzman, LV, MS, Dipl ACZM, Dipl ECZM (Small Mammal, Avian) is deciphering the different responses to opioid medications in different avian species, learn more here.

Bulletin Board

ACZM Awards

Mitch Bush, DVM, Dipl ACZM is the recipient of the 2018 Murray E. Fowler Lifetime Achievement Award. This award recognizes an ACZM Diplomate that has demonstrated exceptional commitment and contributions to the ACZM while making significant lifetime contributions that have advanced the discipline of zoological medicine. This award was created in honor of Murray E. Fowler, DVM, Dipl ACZM, who was also the award's first designee in 2014. The award was presented by ACZM President Kay Backues, DVM, Dipl ACZM at the annual ACZM business meeting in Prague, Czech Republic and was accepted by Scott Citino, DVM, Dipl ACZM.

Lori Westermoreland, DVM is the 2018 ACZM Student Manuscript Award recipient for her manuscript: "Altered acrylic acid concentrations hard and soft corals exposed to deteriorating water conditions" published in Facets in 2017.

Sharon Deem, DVM, PhD, Dipl ACZM and Krista Keller, DVM, Dipl ACZM are both recipients of ACZM Presidential Service Awards in recognition for their hard work and dedication to the ACZM.

External Awards/Accolades

Matt Allender, DVM, PhD, Dipl ACZM is the 2018 Reptile and Amphibian Veterinary Excellent award from the Association of Reptile and Amphibian Veterinarians. This annual honor is awarded to a veterinarian that is recognized for excellence in advancing the care of reptile and amphibian medicine and conservation. Dr Allender is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine and Founder and Director of the Wildlife Epidemiology Laboratory. His dedication to conservation and medicine of reptiles and amphibians is well documented in his research that focuses on emerging infectious diseases of free-ranging reptile and amphibian species. Check out his complete publication list on Pubmed.

Krista A Keller, DVM, Dipl ACZM is the 2018 Rising Star award winner from the Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine. This award recognizes an alumnus that is within 10 years of graduation who has already achieved early career success. Dr Keller is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine and Co-Director of the Wildlife Epidemiology Laboratory.


Like TedTalks? Sharon Deem, DVM, PhD, Dipl ACZM's TedTalkX on Conservation Medicine is available here. Check out Dr. Deem's website here for more information on future speaking events and all things conservation medicine.

The North American Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpes Virus Workshop will be held at Houston Zoo March 26-28th, 2019. Curators, managers, keepers, veterinarians, veterinary technicians, scientists, researchers, conservationists and students are all welcome. For more information contact Christine Molter, DVM, Dipl ACZM at cmolter@houstonzoo.org.

Are you a veterinarian or veterinary technician interested in improving your capabilities using endoscopy in a variety of species? Check out the Avian, Reptile, & Small Mammal Endoscopy, held at University of Georgia (Athens, GA) Fri, November 30, 2018 - Sun, December 02, 2018. This annual workshop is hosted by Steve Divers, DVM, Dipl ACZM and Joerg Mayer, DVM, Dipl ACZM

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Created with images by Joe Wroten - "Flamingo looking up" • Skitterphoto - "tadpole water drop leaf frog toad wet" • 70154 - "guinea turaco bird green crested" • skeeze - "green tree python snake macro close reptile" • Capri23auto - "bison buffalo horns" • Feliphe Schiarolli - "untitled image" • James Wainscoat - "Untitled" • cocoparisienne - "octopus suction cup suction cups squid animal" • David Clode - "E. T."

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