Interview with Exotic Pet Vet Dr. Mark Landesman


Dr. Landesman received his undergraduate degree from SUNY Buffalo, and his veterinary degree from the Universite de Liege in Brussels, Belgium. After being a practice owner for 12 years, Dr. Landesman is proud to have merged with the Bregman Veterinary Group

We took a few minutes to sit down with Dr. Landesman, exotic pet veterinarian at the Midbrook Animal Hospital. Please read through the interview below and let us know what you think about our exotic pet vet!

Q-What is your official title at the Bregman Vet Group?
My official title is Staff Veterinarian at the Bregman Vet Group.

Q-Which location do you work out of?
I mostly work out of the Midbrook Animal Hospital located at 1899 Coney Island Avenue in Brooklyn.

Q-When did you first start working at Midbrook Animal Hospital?
I first  started working at Midbrook Animal Hospital about 2 and a half years ago. 

Q-What was your experience like at the Universite de Liege in Brussels?
My experience in Brussels was wonderful. I was there for 5 years studying. The Universite de Liege Veterinary Faculty in Brussels is an excellent school and I am very fortunate to have studied there. Aside from being an excellent institution to study at, the city is beautiful, food was great and the beer was even better!

Q-What makes you different than most of the staff?
What makes me different than most of the staff at the Bregman Vet Group is that in addition to cats and dogs, I also work with exotic pets including birds, small mammals like rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, etc. and reptiles. 

Q-What type of exotic animals do you work with?
I work with exotic animals such as birds, reptiles and small mammals. 

 Q – What is a “day in the life of Dr. Landesman” like?
It’s interesting… I’ve come to find that as we say exotic people keep exotic pets! It’s been a lot of fun meeting the owners of these exotic pets and witness the level of devotion and love that they have for their pet. The average person doesn’t understand the bond that an exotic pet owner has with their pet, especially birds, because of their level of intellect. My day, aside from general practice is getting to witness interesting scenarios between an exotic pet owner and their beloved pet.

Q – You have quite the resume, with experience at Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital of the ASPCA developing surgical expertise, North Shore Animal League, Bide-A-Wee and the Humane Society of NY. Can you tell me about your experiences?
One of my first jobs out of school was at the Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital of the ASPCA developing surgical expertise. It was here that I truly became a better veterinarian because of the variety of animal cases that we dealt with on a daily basis. This multifaceted hospital is comparable to Bellevue Hospital for human medicine in the sense that they both help those in need who are less fortunate and have a large diverse case load. It was a memorable experience being there and definitely shaped me as a veterinarian.

Q – What is your favorite part about working with exotic pets?
My favorite part about working with exotic pets is the challenge it poses. Exotic pets are less communicative than canines and felines, so exotic pet vets have to be familiar with a greater number of features and symptoms to treat them properly. Birds, for example, have a natural tendency to hide their illnesses to protect themselves from predators. Since they mask their symptoms, their illness is usually discovered later rather than sooner. A lot of our patent’s owners are extremely devoted to their pet and know what to look for, but sometimes this isn’t enough. Since exotic pets are “exotic,” they have very specific requirements. These owners often don’t understand the nutritional husbandry and housing needs the pet has, which oftentimes lead to illnesses and deficiencies. This challenge of educating the pet owners and caring for the exotic animals is a challenging part of working with exotic pets.
Q – How many pets do you have?
I have two pets, both rescues. My cat is now the sweetest, most socialized feline after being feral when I rescued him; and my dog was a pathologically frightened puppy when I rescued him and is now one of the most outgoing and friendly dog I’ve come across, so it’s been a lot of work with them. I don’t have any exotic pets, though – they are even more work!
Q – Out of all the experiences you’ve had, which is your favorite?
My favorite experience is really getting to meet the owners of exotic pets and witnessing their dedication and love for their pets first hand. Our patients’ owners often are the most dedicated and will go the extra distance to ensure their pet is healthy. For example, recently I had a cockatiel come in. He is 10 years old, and has been brought up by his owner since he was an egg! His owner has nursed him; hand fed him, cared for him and loved him like a child for all of these years. He now has a paralyzed posterior digestive tract, and this owner milks out his waste to keep him comfortable. Now that is love! Another example is a turtle that was brought in not too long ago. He had lots of fluid under his skin, and we weren’t sure if it was liver, heart or kidney related. X-rays are very difficult to perform with turtles because of their hard shells, but CT scans can be costly. The pet’s owner decided to do the CT scan because all he wanted was the best for his turtle. We were able to find out that it was liver related, prescribed antibiotics and protectants for the turtle and today he is doing well. It’s experiences like this that are very rewarding as a veterinarian.

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