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Exotic Animals Abroad and at Home

Exotic Animals Abroad and at HomeFora graduate of both Tufts’ undergraduate and veterinary schools,a worldly and varied schooling led to a rewarding position asone of three vets on staff at a small Texas clinic.Medford/Somerville,Mass.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [12.01.04] EricBrum traveled around the world learning how to be a veterinarian.But when he looked for a place to settle down, the Tufts graduateand Fulbright Scholar decided to become one of three vets in chargeof the Foskey Veterinary Clinic in Orange, Texas

“Heseemed like such a nice guy and his experience was so diverse,”Dr. Jason Foskey, owner of the clinic, told the Orange(Texas) Leader. “He had been to Africa and hadbeen over to Brazil. And even though we don’t have a lotof those animals over here, the owners of the exotic animals wedo have – they wanted medicine as good as the people overin Houston and San Antonio and Austin get.”

The 26-year-old Brum– a Providence, R.I., native who studied in Brazil, Mozambiqueand South Africa after earning both his undergraduate and doctoraldegrees at Tufts – knew he wanted a clinic where he couldput some of these unique lessons to use – and he found itat the four-year-old Foskey Clinic.

“My interestsare in a variety of species but particularly in exotic speciesas well as in cats and dogs, so I was looking for a thoroughlymixed practice,” he said. “It’s actually hardto find this kind of practice, because they’re giving wayto specialized practices.”

Through his diversestudies, Brum learned to be flexible in his approach to diagnosis.

“Thefirst thing you got from it is there are many ways to look atthe same problems,” Brum told the Leader. For example,he explained that quick action is imperative for birds becausetheir rapid heartbeats means illness can quickly threaten theirlives.

Revisiting old policies– even those concerning the care of less exotic animals– has led to successful advancements in treatment.

“Historically,we were basing our cats’ dietary needs on the needs of dogsand not recognizing there was a significant difference,”Brum explained. When the amino acid taurine was found to be anessential part of a healthy feline diet, the cats’ dietswere supplemented accordingly. Since then, the incidence of thedisease has diminished, the newspaper reported.

In addition to theresearch aspect of his job, Brum enjoys the role of education.He discussed the risks for puppies contracting a disease calledparvovirus, which attacks the lining of dogs’ stomachs andprevents them from absorbing needed nutrients.

“Wesupport them during the period they have the virus,” Brumtold the Leader. “If you can keep their hydrationup and keep them healthy enough we let the virus run its courseand we have a 60 percent success rate in treating them.”

Prevention, of course,is a vet’s favorite prescription.

“That’swhy we encourage immunization,” he explained. “Andhere [in Southeast Texas], if you don’t do it, there’sa very good chance you dog will contract parvovirus.”

Brum knows teamwork– at Tufts, he was a defensive end on the football squad– and he puts that mindset to work to help maintain theclinic’s 24-hour, seven-day-a-week emergency call service,where one of the three vets on staff can respond to the emergencyneeds of animals.

For clinic owner Foskey,Brum’s devotion and experience complements the clinic’scomprehensive approach to veterinary care.

“We’llsee any patient that comes through the door,” he told theLeader.


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