Open 9 am - 5 pm
Dr. Matt O'Connor stands in Shedd's Animal Hospital wearing a blue Shedd polo.

Dr. Matt O'Connor

Head Veterinarian

In addition to maintaining the health of Shedd’s animals, Dr. Matt O’Connor brings his veterinary skills to rescue efforts with the Animal Response Team.


Ph.D., veterinary medicine, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
M.S., preventive veterinary medicine, University of California, Davis.

“As much as I love working with animals, I love working with people even more. At Shedd we have a common goal in providing the animals with the best care possible, but as a part of the team, I'm there for the aquarists and trainers, too, and that's what means the most to me.”

Dr. Matt O’Connor oversees the care of 32,000 animals at the aquarium, from mammals to fishes.

In addition to his animal care responsibilities, Dr. O’Connor is a leader in veterinary education, overseeing the aquarium’s teaching partnership with the Illinois Zoo and Aquatic Animal Residency program among Brookfield Zoo, the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine and Shedd.

The Chicago-area native has also contributed to a wide spectrum of research and field work. Just before joining Shedd, he was called upon for his expertise on a critically endangered turtle species, hundreds of which were found on the island of Palawan in the Philippines in deplorable conditions by smugglers. His knowledge led to a successful recovery and release effort.

Dr. O’Connor has four years of experience in private practice treating exotic animals, and he spent three years overseeing the care of the 700 species at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium as a resident veterinarian. He holds a Master of Preventive Veterinary Medicine Degree from the University of California, Davis. He earned his pre-veterinary and veterinary medicine doctorate degrees from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.