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Our Team

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Get to Know our Doctors

Hilary Stern DVM DABVP

Hilary Stern DVM DABVP is the founder and owner of the Exotic Pet Clinic of Santa Cruz, the county’s first animal hospital devoted exclusively to the care of exotic pets.

Dr. Stern grew up in Massachusetts. After graduating from Yale University with a degree in history, she attended veterinary school at the University of California, Davis. During veterinary school, Dr. Stern was the president of the Avian and Exotics Club and spent her summers and externships working with birds, reptiles, small mammals, and wildlife.

Following graduation, Dr. Stern worked for a number of exotic pet practices in the Bay Area, focusing first on birds, then rabbits and small mammals, and finally reptiles. During her career, she has also worked with animal shelters, parrot and rabbit rescue groups, wildlife centers, and raptor rehabilitation facilities. She is a consulting veterinarian for The Rabbit Haven, Native Animal Rescue, and Mickaboo Companion Bird Rescue. She has created and worked at low-cost spay and neuter facilities for rabbits in Santa Cruz County, and participates in the training of veterinary students and veterinary nurses on the care of exotics pets and wildlife.

Dr. Stern has been active with the Association of Avian Veterinarians since her first year in veterinary school. While on its Education Committee, she helped create handouts for pet owners on parrot and chicken care. She is currently a Member At Large for the Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians and is on its Executive Committee. She is also a member of the Association of Reptile and Amphibian Veterinarians, the California Veterinary Medical Association, and the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Dr. Stern is board certified in Exotic Companion Mammal Practice by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (ABVP). There are about 30 boarded exotic companion mammal veterinarians in the world, and Dr. Stern is one of them. She is the only veterinarian in California with this certification. For more information, see American Board of Veterinary Practitioners | The Standard of Excellence in Veterinary Care (abvp.com).

Dr. Stern’s areas of special interest include surgery, internal medicine, exotic animal dentistry, and client education. She and her family share their home with a naughty rabbit, two parrots (one naughty, one not), seven chickens, and a bearded dragon with half a tail.

Catherine Deng DVM

Dr. Deng grew up in San Jose, California, and attended UC Davis for both undergraduate and veterinary school. During her years there, she fostered rabbits with Sacramento’s House Rabbit Society and volunteered at the California Raptor Center.

After graduation, she completed a small animal rotating internship in New Jersey and then an exotic animal internship in Arizona, where she worked exclusively with small mammals (rabbits, rodents, ferrets, hedgehogs, sugar gliders), reptiles, and birds.

In addition to clinical practice, she enjoys wildlife and shelter medicine. Outside of work, she enjoys indoor rock climbing, browsing libraries, balcony gardening, video games, and trying new foods! She has two bonded rabbits (Mantou and Nanaimo) that have traveled with her from coast to coast.

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