Large Animal Hospital Welcomes Four New Surgeons

horses in grass pasture

The University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine welcomes four new surgeons to the Morrie Waud Large Animal Hospital. Joseph Davis, Jordan Kirkpatrick, Kayla Le and Paul Merkatoris expand a dedicated, expert team of veterinarians offering specialty services to a wide range of species, including horses, cattle and more.

Below, learn more about these surgeons, who grow the hospital’s extensive capabilities in providing routine, specialized and emergency surgical procedures for both primary and referral clients.

Joseph Davis, Clinical Instructor
At the SVM through July 2022

Joseph Davis, Clinical InstructorDavis grew up on a small farm in Washington. After an undergraduate education at Montana State University, he worked at a referral equine hospital. He decided to attend veterinary medical school at Western University of Health Sciences in California, then completed a large animal internship at Washington State University and a surgical residency at Tufts University.

Growing up, Davis enjoyed biology, being outdoors and repairing things. He spent his childhood around a variety of large animals. The decision to pursue veterinary medicine was the perfect combination of his interests.

Davis hopes to utilize the state-of-the-art equipment and facilities at UW to provide cutting-edge, minimally invasive surgical procedures. Ensuring that patients have a comfortable recovery period so they can quickly return to their lives and routines is a priority for him.

He believes some of the most important aspects of large animal medicine are a good relationship and open communication between clients, referring veterinarians and UW Veterinary Care. With such values, UW’s veterinarians can provide excellent preventative medicine, catch diseases earlier in the process and maintain good continuity of patient care.

“I’m excited to be a part of the large animal team at UW and look forward to working with the veterinarians and clients in the community,” Davis says.

Jordan Kirkpatrick, Clinical Assistant Professor

Jordan KirkpatrickFor Kirkpatrick, horses have always been part of her life. Hailing from South Carolina, she competed in horse shows in her youth and recalls hoping to become a veterinarian as early as elementary school.

Kirkpatrick attended the University of Georgia for undergraduate and veterinary medical school, where she was also a member of the university’s national championship-earning NCAA varsity equestrian team. Following graduation, she completed internships at Chino Valley Equine Hospital and the University of Florida, followed by a large animal surgery residency at the University of Minnesota. Prior to joining the UW School of Veterinary Medicine, she served as a member of the large animal and equine surgery teams at the University of Minnesota and University of Illinois, respectively.

She credits a desire to alleviate patients’ complex conditions and support the equine athlete in spurring her path to specialize in large animal surgery. She is especially interested in sports medicine, lameness, rehabilitation and orthopedics, and translating knowledge gained through the treatment of human athletes for the benefit of equine athletes.

“I am excited to join the UW Large Animal Surgery team,” Kirkpatrick says. “I look forward to working with equine and food and fiber animal patients, as well as establishing lasting relationships with clients and veterinarians in the community.”

Kayla Le, Clinical Assistant Professor

Kayla Le, Clinical Assistant ProfessorLe is originally from Nebraska. While attending Kansas State University for undergraduate and doctorate of veterinary medicine studies, she particularly enjoyed surgery and working with large animals.

She completed internships at Louisiana State University, Cornell University and the Centaur Equine Speciality Hospital, and an equine surgery residency at Iowa State University.

Le focuses on minimally invasive surgeries, like transendoscopic laser surgery and laparoscopy. Transendoscopic laser surgery helps treat some equine upper respiratory tract conditions and laparoscopy allows veterinarians a window into the abdominal area and to perform surgical procedures. Le is also interested in emergency colic surgeries.

“I’m excited to join the team at the University of Wisconsin and hope to continue to see a wide variety of cases,” Le says.

Paul Merkatoris, Assistant Teaching Professor

Paul Merkatoris, Assistant Teaching ProfessorMerkatoris has strong ties to Wisconsin. He is from Brussels, a small town in southern Door County. He attended UW-Madison as an undergraduate student and received a degree in animal science. He then decided to continue his education at the UW School of Veterinary Medicine, graduating in the DVM Class of 2016.

He credits two childhood influences in his decision to pursue large animal medicine: riding horses and raising pigs. As a result, he was able to shadow equine veterinarians and ignite an interest in caring for farm animal species.

As a member of the surgery services, he is excited to use the equipment and facilities available at UW Veterinary Care. He notes that recent and upcoming planned upgrades at the clinic – including additional imaging space for horses and cattle, isolation suites, a covered outdoor arena and specialized surgery rooms – will help the team better serve clients and their animals.

“We are here to serve and support our clients,” Merkatoris says. “I want our clients to know that we appreciate the opportunity to care for their animals and their patience as we go through construction at our facility.”

Alisyn Amant


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