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Shedd Aquarium Expands Animal Health Team with Two New Veterinarians

November 14, 2023

A Magellanic penguin chick, covered in baby down and small enough to fit in an adult's hand, rests on a soft white towel as a veterinarian holds a stethoscope to its back.

Shedd Aquarium adds two new veterinarians to its to its decorated team of animal care professionals at the A. Watson Armour III Center for Animal Health and Welfare. The addition of the two new doctors will ensure the highest standards of animal care and welfare providing a complete suite of preventative exams and veterinary care to the animals at the aquarium. Shedd’s animal health team can be thought of as the equivalent of 1,500 specialists—one for each animal species at Shedd.

Dr. Anthony Cerreta, who completed his residency at the aquarium, has now joined full-time as an associate veterinarian to continue seeing and treating patients. Dr. Cerreta was 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. Now, he leads the veterinary student externship program, serves as a mentor in the IZAAR program and is an adjunct professor at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. In addition, Also, he is a Diplomate of the American College of Zoological Medicine, which makes him a Board Certified Specialist in Zoological Medicine TM and one of only about 400 people with this distinction.

Further, Dr. Cerreta looks to advance the aquarium’s pioneering work in aquatic animal care through a wide variety of research and field work, which is a key pillar of Shedd’s role in innovating and furthering animal care knowledge and processes at the aquarium. Previously, he participated in field research efforts by performing comprehensive health assessments on bottlenose dolphins at Sarasota Dolphin Research Program and giant tortoises in the Galapagos National Park. Additionally, he has conducted original research and published scientific papers for aquatic animal medicine, including a study on the efficacy of adding antifungal medicine to an earthworm for consumption by endangered turtles.

Dr. Megan Strobel also joins Shedd as an associate veterinarian to help oversee the care of the aquatic animals at the aquarium, from mammals to fishes. In this role, she will serve as an integral member of the animal health team by completing routine preventative exams, seeing patients and performing medical procedures. In addition to seeing patients either at the onsite animal hospital or making house calls to their habitats, Dr. Strobel will also continue to publish scientific papers and conduct original research. Further, she also serves as a mentor in the IZAAR program.

There is an extensive amount of medical knowledge required to care for so many species of animals at an aquarium, and Dr. Strobel has extensive knowledge and background in Shedd’s resident species. Additionally, she previously was a veterinarian at National Aquarium where she cared for thousands of animals, from birds and reptiles to sharks and dolphins, and provided medical care and emergency response for the on-site sea turtle and seal rescue and rehabilitation program. Prior to that, she also served as a relief veterinarian at Georgia Aquarium and a veterinary fellow at Vancouver Aquarium.

“The addition of Dr. Cerreta and Dr. Strobel furthers the aquarium’s first priority of providing top-quality animal care and welfare, which is paramount to enabling our mission and connecting our millions of guests to the aquatic world,” said Dr. Karisa Tang, vice president of animal health at Shedd Aquarium. “The commitment to the health and wellbeing of animals extends beyond our four walls and both of these new additions exemplify the ways we can care, conserve and act to protect aquatic life.”

Shedd’s animal health team is comprised of veterinarians and veterinary technicians who work in a state-of-the-art, full-service hospital at the aquarium. The medical team works together with Shedd’s caretakers to monitor the health and behavior of the animals to alert them of even the slightest changes. Through regular exams and checkups, the animal health team can collect baseline data for animals in the aquarium’s care. Knowledge is shared through scientific publications and peer conferences reaching an international community of veterinarians and biologists.

VISUALS: Visit the following link to download high-resolution images of Dr. Anthony Cerreta and Dr. Megan StrobelPhoto Credit: ©Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez