Archived News

Paying it Forward Through Mentorship


February 25, 2016

Three generations of UC Davis veterinarians team up to help the sea turtles at the Marathon Sea Turtle Hospital.

Three generations of UC Davis veterinarians team up to help the sea turtles at the Marathon Sea Turtle Hospital.

Dr. Doug Mader, ’86, had a strong affinity for horses when he first entered the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. After working as a blacksmith for several years, Mader planned to pursue a career in equine medicine, but a fateful accident with a drunk driver changed all that.

Multiple surgeries affected Mader’s physical strength required for handling horses so he started working with the late Dr. Murray Fowler in the exotics program. He eventually became triple board certified in Canine/Feline, Reptile/Amphibian and Herpetology and now owns Marathon Veterinary Hospital in Florida, where they see companion animals, exotic pets and wildlife.

Each year, Mader takes on three or four UC Davis veterinary students through internships and preceptorships. Recently, Jennifer Norman, Class of 2016, spent a month under Mader’s mentorship getting valuable hands-on experience with a mix of companion animals and wildlife.

“We offer a real variety of patients for students while they are here,” Mader said. “They get to see high-end care in a private practice with a high case load and a fast-paced environment. They’re also exposed to the business side of running a veterinary practice.”

Mader established his clinical practice in 1998. In addition to pets, the practice serves the health of animals in the County Zoo, Key West Aquarium, the Dolphin Research Center and Theater of the Sea. Mader also volunteers time as the staff veterinarian at the Marathon Sea Turtle Hospital for the past 20 years. His hospital sponsors four-week preceptorships for senior veterinary students throughout each year, and Mader offers continuing education classes and open-attendance "grand rounds" for employees of veterinary hospitals in the Keys. He gives presentations on canine, feline and exotic animal medicine and surgery at professional conferences, domestic and international, several times a year.

“I love to teach and I had great professors at UC Davis; the best way to pay it back is to pay it forward,” said Mader, who received the school’s prestigious Alumni Achievement Award in 2009 for his contributions to the welfare of animals as a teacher, researcher, author and practitioner. “I’ll always bleed Aggie blue.”