The three main academic routes at Stanford University send a student to law, business or medical school. While at Stanford as an undergraduate, Joe Herzog was on the path to medical school. An epiphany crossed that path and convinced him to be a doctor of many species rather than one.
Veterinary school at the University of Wisconsin–Madison introduced Joe to the animals of America’s Dairyland. Not wanting to spend a lifetime in rubber boots, eating cheese curds, Joe became a small animal emergency vet. As an ER vet, he was willing to see any animal that could be brought into the emergency clinic, including exotics.
A desire to see “all creatures, great and small” led Joe to a part-time gig at the Santa Barbara Zoo and then the San Francisco Zoo. It was there that his patients really qualified as exotic. His largest patient was an African elephant that weighed approximately 3000 kg. His smallest was a 5g Jackson’s chameleon.
An odd, memorable case from Joe’s internship involved a female mixed-breed dog that had been hit by a car. She came in with inspiratory dyspnea and no breath sounds in the caudal thorax. Dogs like that often have a pneumothorax, which requires expedient thoracocentesis. The chest tap easily yielded 12 mL of watery tan fluid. There were a few different things he expected from a chest tap; tan watery fluid was not one of them. Quickly to radiology to reveal: pregnancy and diaphragmatic hernia!
Joe moved to Oahu in 2007, when spouse Brenda Machosky became a Professor of English at UH-West Oahu. He no longer stays up all night to take ER cases. But, to spice-up the routine cases of skin, ears, ears and skin, Joe teaches an online Medical Terminology course at Windward Community College. He taught Pharmacology and Large Animal Clinical Procedures in the Vet. Tech. Training Program for several years prior.
As a cancer patient himself for the past 5 years, Joe has special regard for his cancer patients and their owners. He has surgically removed cancerous growths from some of our affected Green Sea Turtles. He monitors the healthy young sea turtles at the Mauna Lani Hotel and prepares them for their annual release every 4th of July, which is Turtle Independence Day.
Music and biking provide a welcome distraction from the work world. Joe sings with the Windward Choral Society. He also sang in the chorus for the Hawaii Opera Theatre production of Romeo and Juliet last year. He bikes 100 miles on a Sunday in late September with the Honolulu Century Ride. Now working part-time at Surf Paws Animal Hospital in Hawaii Kai, he relishes the opportunities to treat multiple species, and still avoids cheese curds.
Joe Herzog, DVM