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Natalie Antinoff, Speaker At The 2011 International Ferret Congress

A profile of International Ferret Congress 2011 symposium speaker Natalie Antinoff.

By Renee Downs
Posted: May 20, 2011, 8:30 p.m. EDT

In 2001 I moved to Corpus Christi, Texas, with 10 ferrets in tow. Looking around I found a wonderful vet, who also was the weasel doc at the local aquarium. Thrilled, I began using his services immediately. It wasn’t long, however, before he retired, leaving not only me, but the entire area without a ferret vet. Who would we call in an emergency?

Everything pointed in one direction — north. To Houston. The Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists (GCVS) was a wonderful specialty vet clinic with a wonderful ferret vet. Dr. Natalie Antinoff is the director and a staff veterinarian of Gulf Coast Avian & Exotics, a division of Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists.

With 10 ferrets one always needs treating, so I made an appointment for a few. And, as always, as I am leaving, something else crops up and I end up taking a few more than expected. On arrival I explained that I had brought more than planned and didn’t expect them all to be seen. Truth be told, I may have had all 10 with me. At some point, it is just easier to take them all than to split them up.

The front office staff very graciously said they would check and see if Dr. Antinoff would be able to look at a couple more than expected. She agreed. That was a nice surprise. They placed us in an exam room to wait for her. Shortly, Dr. Antinoff and an assistant arrived.

Walking into the room was a pretty young woman with happy eyes and a surgical mask. “Hi. I’m Dr. Antinoff. I hope you’ll excuse the mask. I am allergic to ferrets and it is particularly bad today.” Whoa! Allergic to ferrets? And you are a ferret vet? Yup. I had heard that she was allergic to ferrets, but it didn’t really register. And, here she was, having a bad allergy day and still willing to add to the number of little fuzzbutts she was examining. Impressed again.

After completing the visit, Dr. Antinoff surprised me again. I expected a high exam fee for each of the ferrets and also knew the lab fees and possible medications and injections would add up. But, she said to me, “I am going to charge you the group fee since I saw so many ferrets.” Huh? Group fee? I didn’t see that on the website! This vet was not only interested in the ferrets, but recognized the cost of quality care and worked to make it not be a burden to the owner. Will she ever stop surprising me?

That was the first of many experiences I had with Dr. Antinoff. And, now, you can experience her, too. An expert in ferret care, Dr. Antinoff also has vast experience with the treatment of cancers in ferrets. Within their practice is also an oncology clinic, keeping radiation and chemotherapy easily an active part of treatment. The IFC is pleased to provide you with the opportunity to hear Dr. Antinoff not once, but twice. Come join us as we learn more about “Lymphoma And Other Neoplasms.” And, then, to help you deal with them, she will also discuss “Chemotherapy And Other Cancer Treatments.”

Dr. Antinoff lectures locally and nationally and has authored articles and chapters in professional texts and journals. Online, she serves as a consultant for Veterinary Information Network, a resource for veterinarians by veterinarians. Proceedings from various presentations are available to all. To read some of her ferret wisdom, visit DVM360. After being awarded her doctor of veterinary medicine (DVM) from the University of Wisconsin in 1992, Dr. Antinoff completed an internship in small animal medicine and surgery, and a residency in avian and exotic pet medicine and surgery at The Animal Medical Center in New York. Prior to joining GCVS, Dr. Antinoff was in private practice in New York City.

Board Certified in avian practice, Dr. Antinoff serves on the Credentials Committee of that board. Additionally, she mentors veterinarians seeking avian board certification. Veterinary students spend time at Gulf Coast Avian & Exotics as part of their elective rotation. Dr. Antinoff is a member of the Harris County Veterinary Medical Association, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Association of Reptile and Amphibian Veterinarians, the Association of Avian Veterinarians, and the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners.

In 2003, she received the Texas Veterinary Medical Association’s Non-Traditional Species Practitioner of the Year Award. These awards are designed to pay tribute to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the field of veterinary medicine. Recipients are nominated by their colleagues and selected by the Awards Committee. She is also a finalist for the revered Lafeber Avian Practitioner Award.

Single, Dr. Antinoff spends her spare time rollerblading, bicycling and fixing up her house. As seems to be the case with most veterinarians, she shares her living space with several surrogate children, including two dogs, a cat and six birds.

For more information regarding the June 3 to 5, 2011, IFC Ferret Symposium in Phoenix, visit the IFC website.

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