Dr. Katherine Baine Featured in Newspaper Article
Animal Emergency & Specialty Center’s avian & exotic veterinarian, Dr. Katherine Baine, was recently featured in this Knoxville article:
Avian and exotic veterinarian Katherine Baine never quite knows what to expect from her day when she wakes up each morning. She might perform an ultrasound on a koi fish or stitch up a hedgehog.
Baine accepts patients of just about any species, with the exception of primates and venomous snakes, at Animal Emergency Specialty Center in West Knoxville. Her days are filled with animals most people never get to experience up close, such as rats, ferrets, spiders, parrots and snakes. Trying to treat such a wide range of animal species can be tricky, but that is why she enjoys it.
“It’s something different every day. Everybody’s anatomy is very different. Their lifestyles are very different. Some of the parrot species can live longer than most of our companion species. I have some parrots that I see on a regular basis that are older than I am, and that’s definitely very humbling,” she said. “Then there are some species that tend to get overlooked, maybe have shorter life spans, like rats. I like being able to help them, to make them feel better.”
Vets with Baine’s qualifications are in such high demand that the center recently expanded its exotics department to include a room for minor procedures, surgery and endoscopy. She and her technician also travel to Chattanooga every Thursday to see patients.
Owning and caring for a nontraditional pet can be a challenge, partly because Baine is one of just a handful of vets in the area who welcome exotic and avian patients. Julie Kamp-Williams, aquarist at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, was thrilled to discover that Baine, who is board certified in avian practice, could treat her Blue Front Amazon Parrot, Stitch.
“Most people don’t know how to handle a bird, how to hold them to do an exam. When Stitch gets really cranky and nasty, he can be a little scary. He needs someone who’s not afraid of him, who knows how to hold him correctly, who won’t injure him. He’s very different than a dog or a cat in that way,” Kamp-Williams said.
The two women met about four years ago when Baine performed evaluations on the aquarium’s penguins as part of her residency at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine. They discovered they both own parrots, though Baine’s Penelope is a Yellow Naped Amazon. Kamp-Williams had been searching for a qualified vet for Stitch, who is currently 15 years old. She said with Baine’s help Stitch should achieve his full life expectancy of about 75 years or so.
Baine said helping animals has always been a passion of hers. She said she grew up wanting to be a vet. “I can remember in kindergarten when they said draw a picture of what you want to be when you grow up, it was definitely a veterinarian.” She chose to specialize in avian and exotic species in part because of her experiences in veterinary school at North Carolina State University.
“Because (working with avian and exotic pets is) a challenge, it’s always fun and interesting,” she said.
To date, the penguins at Ripley’s Aquarium have been the most unusual animals she’s been able to work with. As a child, she never would have guessed that was in her future. “Every little girl wants to work with penguins, but I didn’t anticipate that would actually happen.”