Meet Our Veterinarians and Staff
Dr. Laurie Hess, DVM, Diplomate ABVP (Avian Practice)
Avian & Exotic Pet Veterinarian
Owner & Medical Director
Dr. Laurie Hess is board-certified by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners in avian (bird) medicine and served as the President of the Association of Avian Veterinarians from 2009-2010. She is also an active member of the Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians and the Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians.
After graduating summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa from Yale University, Dr. Hess received her veterinary medical degree from Tufts. She then completed a one-year internship and a two-year residency in avian and exotic pet medicine and surgery at the world-renowned Animal Medical Center in New York City.
Dr. Hess has lectured both nationally and internationally about exotic pet care and has published numerous articles and book chapters on birds and other exotic species.
She is especially interested in exotic pet nutrition. In the late 1990s, she completed groundbreaking nutrition research on the importance of pelleted diets in birds. She presented these findings both in Europe and in the U.S. and later published the research in 2002.
Dr. Hess is a guest exotic pet expert on Animal Planet’s exotic pet series “Little Pets 101” and “Peculiar Pets 101.” She has also appeared on Animal Planet in Drs. Foster and Smith’s TV series, “Faithful Friends,” and has been a guest on the “Martha Stewart Show,” discussing the importance of educating yourself about exotic pets before you get one. Dr. Hess has also appeared on CBS’s morning show, “The Doctors,” where she discussed exotic pets for people with allergies, and on Fox TV’s “Inside Edition,” where she discussed bird behavior. In addition, Dr. Hess has been a guest on both the WPIX Morning News in New York City and on the Fox morning show, “Good Day NY,” where she highlighted the benefits of exotic animals as pets. Dr. Hess has been a featured veterinarian on CBS’s popular news magazine show, “48 Hours,” and she appeared weekly as the “Exotic Pet Vet” on the New York/New Jersey/Connecticut cable station, RNN TV. Dr. Hess also discusses bird health on her monthly radio show, “Bird’s Eye View,” on www.petliferadio.com and makes guest appearances regularly on radio stations throughout the U.S. and Canada discussing exotic pet issues.
Dr. Hess has written several articles about exotic pets in syndicated columns nationwide and in well-known exotic pet magazines such as Bird Talk, Birds USA, and Critters Magazine. She also blogs regularly about exotic pet topics on well-known pet websites, including www.Vetstreet.com and www.birdchannel.com. She is a senior editor of the Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery, as well as a guest editor of the Journal of Exotic Pet Medicine, Veterinary Clinics of North America (Exotic Animal Series) and of Exotic DVM Magazine. She also has been published in internationally recognized veterinary journals including the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association and Veterinary Record.
Learn More About the Book!
Dr. Amanda Marino
Dr. Amanda Marino is originally from the Mahopac, NY. She began her veterinary career working as a veterinary assistant at South Putnam Animal Hospital in high school. She then went on to receive her undergraduate degrees in animal and poultry sciences and agriculture and applied economics from Virginia Tech. After graduation, she spent a year in the Adirondacks of upstate New York participating in research with the common loon. Dr. Marino attended veterinary school at Oklahoma State University. She completed a 1-year rotating internship at Ocean State Veterinary Specialists in East Greenwich, RI, as well as a specialty internship in exotic pet medicine at Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists in Houston, TX. While in veterinary school and her internships, she had also completed rotation at the Wildlife Center of Virginia, the Bronx Zoo, the Houston Zoo and Mystic Aquarium. She returned to Ocean State Veterinary Specialists to practice as an emergency doctor before coming to the Veterinary Center for Birds and Exotics to complete a two-year specialized avian medicine and surgery residency. When not at work, Dr. Marino spends time with her rabbit, Reginald (Reggie), her chinchilla, Milton, and her mixed breed dog, Shep. She also enjoys anything outdoors and traveling.
Dr. Alison Cummings
Originally from Kentucky, Dr. Cummings graduated from the University of Louisville where she played intercollegiate polo. She received her veterinary medical degree from the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine and then went on to complete a small animal rotating internship at the New England Animal Medical Center outside of Boston, as well as a zoo medicine internship at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo. Alison also worked at the at the Louisville Zoo and Cincinnati Zoo and has done veterinary filed work in South Africa, Costa Rica, Mongolia, and China. She lives with her partner, Haroldo, who is also a veterinarian, along with their sugar glider (Zipper), two society finches (Weasley and Peeps Rutherford Toro III), and three cats (Firecracker, Itty Bitty Kitty, and Cadenza). When she is not being a veterinarian, Alison enjoys traveling, hallmark movies, musical theater, dancing, outdoor activity and scrapbooking. If you visit the Veterinary Center, be sure to ask Alison about all the amazing species she has had the opportunity to work with!
Our Veterinary Support Staff
With a B.A. in management, Ashley moved back to New York after living in Chicago for the past four years. While growing up, she always showed an interest in animals, and when she was given the opportunity to work for a dog and cat hospital shortly after college graduation, she eagerly took it. At the Veterinary Center, Ashley is excited to apply her superb management and marketing skills to a specialty animal hospital. Her work at the Veterinary Center allows her to combine her passion for animals with her love for organization and event planning. Whenever there is an issue at the Veterinary Center, Ashley is the go-to person for problem-solving. When she’s not at work, Ashley enjoys spending time with her family and friends, sampling local craft beer, and photography.
Mary Ann Collins
Licensed Veterinary Technician
A lifelong Westchester County resident, Mary Ann attended SUNY Farmingdale as an “aggie” and planned on going into dairy farming. However, after she realized that cows were a 24/7 job, she turned her focus to small animals and exotics as a veterinary technician. After running a boarding kennel in Harrison, NY, Mary Ann returned to the veterinary technology world and worked in several small animal hospitals around Westchester and Connecticut where she gained invaluable experience working with birds and other exotic species. She lives in South Salem with her dog and two birds. When she’s not caring for all the needy wildlife that comes to her door, Mary Ann is at the Veterinary Center caring for all the exotic pets and helping us keep the hospital on track.
Licensed Veterinary Technician
Originally from Poughkeepsie, NY, Nina graduated from SUNY Ulster with a degree in veterinary technology. Nina has always loved exotic animals, growing up with birds and turtles, among other pets. She knew from childhood that she was destined to work with exotic animals and is thrilled to see so many different species every day at the Veterinary Center. Nina has three hermit crabs (Kevin, Bob, and Stuart), as well as a cat (Wilson) and a dog (Anabelle). When she isn’t chasing the doctors around the Veterinary Center to make sure they stay on track, Nina is either out hiking or doing crafts. The most laid back staff member at the Veterinary Center, Nina will be sure to greet you with a smile!
Licensed Veterinary Technician
A native of Mohegan Lake, NY, Jodi received her veterinary technical degree from SUNY Delhi. She has extensive experience working in the fields of veterinary emergency medicine, neurology, and surgery. Jodi is passionate about educating pet owners about their pets to ensure they are doing everything right. When she is not teaching pet owners about husbandry and nutrition, Jodi enjoys hiking with her dog Lyra and going to movies. If you’re at the Veterinary Center and have any question about how to feed or care for your exotic pet, be sure to ask Jodi!
Licensed Veterinary Technician
Born and raised in Brooklyn, Laura was always an animal lover. After earning a B.A. in anthropology at CUNY Hunter College, she bounced around for a few years between pet stores, a temporary position at the New York Aquarium, and pet food sales, until she finally decided to attend CUNY LaGuardia Community College’s vet tech program. She received her NY State license in 2014, and immediately began honing her skills in clinical practice, with the goal of eventually specializing in avian and exotic medicine. Laura was thrilled when Dr. Hess reached out to her and invited her to interview at Vet Center, and within a month she was preparing to move herself to Westchester along with her boyfriend, their two cats, a ferret, a rabbit, and two hamsters. Their fish stayed behind.
Originally from Mount Kisco, NY, Zenia has had a passion for animals since she was born. She has cared for more pets (over 200!) in her life – including chinchillas, snakes, turtles and pigeons – so far than most people do in a lifetime. Zenia first came to the Veterinary Center as a high school volunteer, and we loved her so much that she has stayed on with us as a veterinary assistant. Whether restocking our supplies, helping the veterinarians, or lending at hand at the front desk, Zenia is always busy. Now that she has completed high school, Zenia is hoping to gain experience by working at the Veterinary Center so that she can go on to apply to veterinary school.
With her unique interests, such as barrel racing horses and collecting sneakers, Jasmine is truly one-of-a-kind. Originally from Queens, Jasmine has lived in Mount Kisco for over 20 years and has owned all types of exotic pets, from African gray parrots to hamsters to leopard geckos. She decided in high school that animals were her calling, so she began working in veterinary hospitals as a teenager. No matter how busy she gets answering phones, typing on the computer, or speaking to clients, Jasmine has a smile on her face. She is the ultimate multitasker whose goal it is to educate every pet owner who comes to the Veterinary Center about preventative care for their invaluable animals.
Growing up in Carmel, Sara knew she was destined for a career working with animals. Originally a client of the Veterinary Center, Sara was affectionately referred to by the Center’s staff as the crazy exotic pet lady, as she had five birds, two guinea pigs, two dogs, and a rabbit. Sara is perfect in her spot at the front desk at the Center because she has a sweet and gentle demeanor, is extremely patient, and is always laughing. If you have a problem of any kind at the Center, Sara will be sure to solve it for you. When she isn’t solving problems, you can find Sara outside with her camera taking photos of nature. If you’re at the Center on a weekend, stop by the front desk, and share a laugh with Sara!
Zach is our superstar volunteer! When we saw how well he took care of his pets and his obvious passion for working with animals, we asked him to join our team. Zach comes to us with uniquely extensive experience working with animals—he has volunteered more than one-thousand hours at a nature center and has worked at a nature-based outreach education business. In May 2016, Zach won the Volunteer New York! Youth Leader Award for his outstanding volunteer service at the nature center. At school, Zach founded the Environmental Club and started a Zero-Waste Program while maintaining his grades. Zach is an aspiring veterinarian, and here at the Veterinary Center he is always busy with helping to keep us running smoothly. When not working on doing so, Zach can be seen observing appointments, procedures, and asking questions. He is currently working with Dr. Britton to research the blood proteins of raptors. His particular interests include zoo, exotic, and wildlife medicine.
Specialists We Work With
Marnin Forman, DVM, DACVIM
Dr. Forman is currently a staff internist at Cornell University Veterinary Specialists in Stamford, CT, and he visits the Veterinary Center for Birds & Exotics to perform abdominal ultrasound examinations. He is board-certified by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. Dr. Forman received his DVM from Texas A&M University Veterinary School and then went on to complete a rotating internship in small animal medicine and surgery at The Animal Medical Center in New York City. In addition, he completed both a fellowship in nephrology and a residency in internal medicine at the University of California, Davis. Dr. Forman then worked as a staff internist in a large private specialty practice where he was involved in collaborative studies with veterinarians at Cornell University, the Ohio State University, the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine, and Idexx Laboratories. In addition to his focus on gastroenterology, Dr. Forman is trained in endocrinology, pulmonology, immunology, hematology, critical care medicine, nutrition, and management of infectious disease. Dr. Forman has lectured throughout the United States on multiple internal medicine topics including pancreatitis, acute and chronic kidney diseases, liver disease and nasal disorders, Cushing’s syndrome, and diabetes mellitus.
Anthony J. Fischetti, DVM, MS, DACVR
Dr. Fischetti is head of the Diagnostic Imaging Service at The Animal Medical Center in New York City. He is board-certified by the American College of Veterinary Radiologists and has studied thousands of x-rays and CT scans from exotic pets of all kinds. He reviews both digital x-rays and CT scan results from the Veterinary Center for Birds & Exotics on an as needed basis and usually is able to report his findings to the Center’s doctors within 24-48 hours. He received his veterinary medical degree from Cornell School of Veterinary Medicine and then completed a rotating internship in small animal medicine & surgery at the University of Pennsylvania. He then achieved a master’s degree from The Ohio State University, where he stayed on to complete his radiology residency training. In addition to radiology, he has strong interests in MRI and CT scanning and abdominal ultrasonography.
Jean-Paul Petrie, DVM, DACVIM
Dr. Petrie is founder and owner of Hudson Valley Veterinary Cardiology, LLC, a mobile echocardiography company that services the tri-state area. He is a well-known board-certified veterinary cardiologist who visits the Veterinary Center for Birds & Exotics to see patients, as needed. He is board-certified by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine in Cardiology and has a specific interest in echocardiography. He received his veterinary medical degree from the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph in Canada. He then completed an internship at Michigan Veterinary Specialists and a post-doctoral fellowship in cardiac physiology and interventional cardiology at the Robarts Research Institute, University Hospital, London, Ontario, Canada. Dr. Petrie went on to complete a residency in cardiology at The Animal Medical Center in New York City and stayed on as a staff cardiologist in the Department of Medicine at The Animal Medical Center for 11 years. He continues to lecture both nationally and internationally, is actively involved in clinical research projects, and has published several articles and book chapters.