Dr. Mark Burgess

Dr. Burgess has focused on exotic pets since graduating in 1986, giving him extensive experience with these species that few practitioners can match.

  • Opened Southwest Animal Hospital in 1995
  • The practice consists of the highest ratio of exotic pets in any full-time veterinary practice in Oregon
  • Has discovered numerous new diseases of exotic animals, and is a published author both in medical journals and textbooks
  • Teaches exotic pet medicine at Oregon State University’s Veterinary School
  • Lectured at national and international medical conferences
  • Appeared in television and newspaper stories covering exotic pets & their medical problems
  • Featured in Ferrets Magazine as one of “Eight Great Ferret Vets” in the United States




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  • BS in Biology, Southern Oregon State College (now Southern Oregon University), 1982.
  • DVM, Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine, 1986.

Associations / Memberships

  • One of the original members of the Oregon Ferret Association
  • Member of the Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians
  • Member of the American Veterinary Medical Association
  • Member of Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians
  • Oregon Veterinary Medical Association
  • Portland Veterinary Medical Association
  • Member of American Ferret Association

• 3 year member of the “Wildlife Integrity Task Force” under jurisdiction of the Oregon Dept. of Fish & Wildlife; the task force included wildlife rehabilitators and biologists, academia, Fish & Wildlife employees, legal specialists, pet trade representatives, and veterinarians. The purpose of the task force was to determine which exotic species should be restricted from importation into Oregon due to potential risk to native wildlife.


  • Published article “Overview of Ferret Diseases” in Exotic DVM journal, 2000.
  • Published article in the American Ferret Association newsletter in 2001 introducing lymphoplasmacytic gastroenteritis (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) to the ferret- owning community in the U.S. Received $500 grant from the Oregon Ferret Association for research into development of immunohistochemistry.
  • Published article with Dr. Mike Garner, “Clinical Aspects of Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Ferrets” in Exotic DVM, May 2002, formally introducing this disease to the veterinary literature; article reprinted in final issue of Exotic DVM as one of 12 “Best of Exotic DVM” articles.
  • Contributed a chapter and additional materials in John Lewington’s textbook “Ferret Husbandry, Medicine & Surgery, 2nd ed.”, 2007. Subjects covered: “Gastrointestinal and Hepatic Diseases in the Ferret”, and “Disseminated Idiopathic Myositis in the Ferret”.
  • Contributed 6 chapters in the theriogenology (reproduction) textbook Management of Pregnant & Neonatal Dogs, Cats & Exotic Pets, covering reproduction and neonatology (management of newborns) in various exotic pet species (published in 2012).



  • Independently identified and (unpublished) described insulinomas (1987), estrogen secreting adrenal tumors (1988-89), and lymphoplasmacytic gastroenteritis (1995) in ferrets. Identified FIP-like systemic coronavirus in ferrets. Identified previously unreported neoplasms (cancers) in ferrets, including osteosarcoma, meningioma, and astrocytoma. Identified common pathogenesis for mesenteric lymphoma in ferrets, allowing prediction and prevention of tumor development. Identified pathogenesis of some megaesophagous cases in ferrets, leading to better treatments for this difficult disease.
  • Identified peas (included in some commercial foods) as being toxic to ferret kidneys, and determined that they are a primary cause of  life-threatening cysteine uroliths (bladder stones) in ferrets.
  • Received $500 grant from the Oregon Ferret Association to help develop immunohistochemistry testing for Aleutian Disease Virus in ferret tissue samples. Part of the study was to determine whether the virus played a role in development of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (lymphocytic gastroenteritis) in ferrets.
  • Received a $500 grant from the American Ferret Association, also applied to the preceding study on Aleutian Disease Virus.
  • Independently discovered and described (and named) Disseminated Idiopathic Myositis in ferrets, working with Dr. Katrina Ramsell and Dr. Mike Garner, 2003-4.

Clinics / Establishments

  • Established the Exotic Animal Practice, originally based in the Raleigh Hills Veterinary Medical Practices; working extensively with exotic species since 1986. Now based in Southwest Animal Hospital in Beaverton, Oregon (1995- present) where 95% of the case load is exotic pets. From its inception to the present date, Southwest Animal Hospital has remained the only full-time (40+ hours per week) veterinary practice in Oregon which focuses primarily on exotic pets.


  • Guest lecturer at the Western Ferret Medical Symposium in Reno, NV in 1991; presented overview of ferret endocrine diseases, in particular my clinical findings regarding insulinomas and adrenal tumors.
  • Guest lecturer at the Fourth International Conference on the Effects of Oil on Wildlife in Seattle; presented a case study on the rehabilitation of 40 western pond turtles exposed to a diesel fuel spill near Yoncalla, Oregon in 1993.
  • Guest lecturer for the Oregon Ferret Association, the Willamette Valley Herpetological Society, the Northwest Herpetological Society in Seattle, the House Rabbit Society, and the OMSI Reptile Show in Portland, OR.
  • Lecturer for the Portland Veterinary Medical Association continuing education series, discussing common diseases of exotic pets for local veterinarians; Continuing Education credits applied
  • Guest lecturer at the Ferret Veterinary Medical Conference in Portland, OR, in November 1999; presented an overview of ferret digestive tract disease and hepatic disease, introducing lymphoplasmacytic gastroenteritis as a previously unrecognized disease of ferrets.
  • Guest lecturer at the first annual IVUSS ultrasound conference in Tahoe, NV, USA, August 2002. Presented lecture “Ultrasound in Ferret Medicine”, an overview of the clinical uses of ultrasound in ferrets.
  • Guest lecturer at the American Ferret Association (AFA) national medical conferences in San Jose, Calif, Oct. 8, 2005; and in Pittsburg, PA Oct 6-7, 2006. Subject: Gastrointestinal and Hepatic Diseases of the Pet Ferret.
  • Lecturer at International Ferret Congress meeting in June 2007, in Portland, Oregon; presented overview of ferret digestive and liver diseases
  • Appeared on the Judge Judy show in December 2006; expert witness for a case involving turtles with shell rot.
  • Guest lecturer at the Oregon Veterinary Conference, March 2009: topic was Reptile Husbandry Problems in the Pacific NW, and also Reptile Nutritional and Digestive Disorders.
  • Guest lecturer at the Oregon Veterinary Conference, March 2010: topic was Handling and Procedures on Ferrets.
  • Guest lecturer at the Therio/ACT Annual Conference and Symposia in Seattle, Sept. 2010. Topic was Common Reproductive Pathologies in Reptiles.
  • Guest lecturer at the Oregon Veterinary Conference, March 2013: topics included ferret nutrition, prevention of ferret insulinomas & adrenal tumors, and venipuncture & injection sites in exotic pet species.
  • Guest lecturer at the 2018 national ExoticsCon conference; presented lectures on treatment & prevention of shell deformities in tortoises, surgery on ear abscesses in rabbits & rats, and surgery on prolapsing uterine cancers in rats & hedgehogs.


  • Licensed to rehabilitate wildlife in Oregon: all mammals (except marine), and reptiles & amphibians
  • National veterinary accreditation, 1986 to present
  • Received Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Oregon State University in 1986; licensed to practice Veterinary Medicine in Oregon, 1986 to present

Educational Courses

  • Instructor for the exotic animal medicine section of the National Board for Veterinary Technicians preparation course (held at Mt. Hood Community College, Oregon, 1994 & 1995).
  • Presented the Turtle Care and Rehabilitation Course, 8 hours, at Portland State University, 1995. The class was for wildlife rehabilitators, zoo personnel, veterinarians, biologists, etc.
  • Instructor for the Exotic Pet Medicine Course in the Veterinary Technician Curriculum at Portland Community College, Portland, Oregon, USA, 2004 to present.
  • Instructor for the Special Animal Medicine courses for junior and senior veterinary students at Oregon State University’s School of Veterinary Medicine, Corvallis, OR, USA, 2004 to present.
  • Our practice regularly mentors students in exotic animal medicine as part of their school curriculum, including students from Portland Community College’s veterinary technician program, Central Oregon Community College’s veterinary technician program, Oregon State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, and Western University’s (Calif.) College of Veterinary Medicine.

Fiction Author

  • Wrote and published fictional novel, “Battle for Eden”.
  • Wrote and published fictional novel, “Dog Daze and Cat Naps: A Vet Student’s Odyssey”.
  • Wrote and published fictional novel, “Dark Angels”, 2017.
  • Published short story “Outside Looking In” featured in the science fiction anthology “Yondering.”

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