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Shedd Welcomes New Veterinarian to Animal Health Team at the Aquarium

December 03, 2020

Karisa Tang stands in front of Shedd's historic bronze doors.

Shedd Aquarium’s A. Watson Armour III Center for Animal Health and Welfare announced the addition of Karisa Tang, DVM, MS, DACZM, to its decorated team of animal care professionals. As a staff veterinarian at the aquarium, Dr. Tang will be responsible for providing a complete suite of preventative medicine and veterinary care to the 32,000 individual animals at Shedd. Whether it’s a six-inch American bullfrog or a 700-pound sea lion, the animal health team ensures the highest standards of professional care and welfare.

Dr. Tang was first introduced to Shedd Aquarium as part of the Illinois Zoological and Aquatic Animal Residency (IZAAR) Program, in which the aquarium is one of three partners that provides advanced training to veterinarians who aspire to careers as specialists in zoo and aquarium clinical medicine. Once completing the three-year IZAAR program, these residents are routinely accepted to their dream jobs at zoos and aquariums across the country, and for Dr. Tang it led her back to Shedd.

During her residency at Shedd, Dr. Tang worked alongside the aquarium’s veterinarians as an integral member of the team by completing routine preventative exams, seeing patients, and performing surgical and medical procedures. In addition to seeing patients either at the onsite animal hospital or making house calls to their habitats, she also conducted original research and published scientific papers, which is a key pillar of Shedd’s role in innovating and furthering animal care knowledge and processes at the aquarium.

“While no two days are the same when caring for 1,500 species of animals, it is a privilege and honor to apply my knowledge and skillset to care for the residents at a world-renowned aquarium like Shedd alongside my trusted colleagues,” said Dr. Tang.

Dr. Tang joins the team with an extensive background in veterinary and aquatic medicine. She previously was a veterinarian at Minnesota Zoo for a year where she was responsible for providing veterinary care for more than 4,500 animals and 500 species. Prior to that, she also had training opportunities as a medical fellow at the Vancouver Aquarium and a rotating medical intern at VCA Emergency Animal Hospital and Referral Center. Dr. Tang earned her bachelor’s from the University of California, Los Angeles, a doctorate from the University of California, Davis, and received a master’s in veterinary clinical medicine from the University of Illinois. In addition, she is a Diplomate of the American College of Zoological Medicine (DACZM), which makes her a board-certified specialist and is one of fewer than 30 in the world focused on aquatic medicine.

“Dr. Tang will be a critical asset in furthering Shedd Aquarium’s first-priority of providing top-quality animal care and welfare,” said Dr. Bill Van Bonn, vice president of animal health at Shedd. “While people who visit the aquarium might be surprised to learn we have an onsite animal hospital, they might be even more surprised to hear that it’s a teaching hospital. It’s an incredible honor to host residents throughout the year, but this is an extraordinary privilege to now welcome Dr. Tang back to the aquarium to continue her career.”

For more information on Shedd’s animal hospital, visit Shedd Aquarium’s website.

VISUALS: High resolution photos are available for download:
Photo credit: ©Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez