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North Hills Monthly

All Pet Animal Hospital Unique in Treating Exotics, Birds, Reptiles and More

Jun 30, 2019 09:59AM ● By Hilary Daninhirsch

Dr. Edward Bennett with a macaw (owner of macaw Kenny Sprouse with That Guy With The Bird) and Dr. Cailyn Pease with an iguana (owner of iguana Susan McHale) with All Pet Animal Hospital. Photo courtesy of Dena Koenig Photography

Dr. Edward Bennett’s love of animals dates back to childhood: by the age of eight, he knew he wanted to become a veterinarian, and he never deviated from his chosen path.

Growing up in Highland Park, Dr. Bennett lived in bike riding distance to the Pittsburgh Zoo and within walking distance of a nature museum. A naturalist, he practically lived at the nature museum and went on nature walks. As he got older, he spent summers working with the zoo animals and shadowing the zoo veterinarians, which laid the groundwork for his lifelong ambition.

“I thought I was going to go into zoo medicine, but then I thought I’d miss the dogs and cats too much,” said Dr. Bennett, who has been at the helm of All Pet Animal Hospital on Route 8 in Gibsonia for the past 20 years. Plus, he said, zoo veterinarians are often too entrenched in management, while he prefers hands-on care with the animals.

“In high school we had a special apprenticeship program in senior year for one semester. A lot of kids were interns for senators in D.C. or did other special volunteer work. I took math and Latin in the morning and then went to the vet hospital to work with a veterinarian,” he recalled.

After attending both the University of Rochester and Penn State for his undergraduate degrees, he earned a third undergraduate degree at the University of Georgia before attending veterinary school. He practiced in Savannah for several years, working primarily with dogs and cats. But, despite the warm climate, blue skies and proximity of the beach, the pull of family and home compelled him to return to his Pittsburgh roots.

After several years at Northview Animal Hospital, where he worked with many exotic animals, he purchased All Pet Animal Hospital in 1998.

The name ‘All Pet’ is fairly literal. While about 70 percent of his practice consists of canine and feline patients, 30 percent of his patient load is made up of exotics—small mammals such as guinea pigs, rabbits, hamsters, ferrets and more, and birds and reptiles. The only animals not seen are horses, pot-bellied pigs and primates.

While some veterinarians in the area do care for small mammals, it’s rare that they will see small mammals and reptiles and birds. “I really love reptiles; I used to raise and breed leopard geckos and mantella frogs,” said Dr. Bennett. “I also raised Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos.”

He explained that in the past, exotics never got too much attention in veterinary school, but that is slowly changing. Exotic pet owners are now seeking treatment for their pets, whereas before, primarily because of a lack of resources, owners of exotics had to care for their pets on their own.

Dr. Cailyn Pease shares Dr. Bennett’s interest in exotics, as well as a love for cats and dogs. And like Bennett, she knew at a very young age that veterinary medicine was her calling. 

A Shaler Township native, University of Pittsburgh alumnus (B.S. in Biology; B.A. in Music) and recent graduate of University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine (mixed animal major), Dr. Pease joined the practice last month.

“To combine my lifelong love for animals with the complex diversity of medicine is a dream come true,” she said. 

Pease joined a staff of two other veterinarians, Dr. Carolee Switalski and Dr. Gunther Lill and many long-term employees, several of whom have been with the practice for close to 20 years. 

“All Pet is providing me with a truly great opportunity; I not only get to care for dogs and cats, but also the exotic animals that are such a passion of mine,” said Pease. “Being in such a caring and devoted hospital and having a strong mentor in Dr. Bennett is really important for me. Dr. Bennett and his team have well exceeded my expectations.” 

Dr. Bennett is equally delighted about Dr. Pease’s arrival. “She is brilliant,” he said, adding that she was the valedictorian at Shaler High School. “She has a lot of experience working with animals. I think our personalities will blend well, and her excitement is a good fit for our practice.”

 All Pet Animal Hospital is accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). Accredited hospitals undergo inspections by AAHA veterinary experts who evaluate the practice on approximately 900 standards of care; only 12 to 15 percent of all veterinary practices in the U.S. and Canada are AAHA accredited. All Pet Animal Hospital also maintains membership in several specialty organizations, including the Association of Avian Veterinarians.

At All Pet Animal Hospital, Dr. Bennett and his staff offer state-of-the-art technology in treating their furry, feathery and scaly clientele, and he regularly keeps up with the latest medical advancements for all of the species that come through the door. “Taking a blood sample from a bird or reptile is very different from taking blood from a dog,” he explained.

He also invests time in taking continuing education classes and consulting with other veterinarians via website groups or in person. “It’s great to be able to consult with other specialists, because you don’t feel as isolated,” he said.

For example, he took special training from a dental specialty practice to be able to offer dental surgery. “Dentistry has become an increasingly important service for dogs and cats because infections due to dental disease are a leading cause of infection of the heart, liver and kidneys,” he said. 

Dr. Bennett also has a strong interest in dermatology and treats many pets for allergies, a holdover interest from his time in Georgia, where skin allergies are extremely prevalent. He has also been performing minimally invasive laparoscopic spay surgery for the past 11 years.

Dr. Bennett will also make referrals to other practices as needed. “There are a lot of people who are really seeking alternative medicine. I tend to be more focused on scientifically established Western medicine, but I am very open to these alternatives and readily refer clients to other vets who have more expertise in alternative medicine,” he said. He also consults with specialists for more complicated and unusual cases.

Another component of the practice is its willingness to accommodate emergencies.

“We always try to get our patients seen when they have emergencies; even though we’re usually booked up, somehow we’ll manage—we will stay late or work through lunch to get our clients seen,” he said, adding that with Dr. Pease on board as a full-time associate, he’ll be even better able to accommodate client emergencies.

It is this combination of the latest technology, passion for veterinary medicine, compassion for his animal clientele and their owners, and a broad service line that draws patients from all over the region. People bring their pets from Ohio, West Virginia and other parts of Pennsylvania for this high standard of care.

All Pet also has a presence in the community in its support of the West Deer Dog Shelter. “We do discount work for this small local dog shelter to help these shelter pets, and we really try to promote awareness of the shelter in fun ways,” Dr. Bennett said.

His veterinary philosophy is taken from a favorite quote and perhaps sums up his entire veterinary career: “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

To learn more about All Pet Animal Hospital, visit https://www.allpet.org or call 724-444-6600.