A Breed Apart

Four Local Vet Superstars

(page 5 of 5)



Dr. Marilyn Koski’s 20-year career with exotic animals has taken her quite literally around the world (Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, Brazil, Australia and the Antarctic). During her time at Ocean Park, Hong Kong (1992-2000) she witnessed the success veterinarians were having with acupuncture. “They were using the same medicine I was, but then they would add acupuncture,” Dr. Koski says. “I thought, ‘I need to learn about this.’ My skepticism turned to interest and motivation to learn more.”

Learn more she did. Thanks to Dr. Koski, William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine now offers acupuncture treatment for exotic animals, as well as traditional companion animals like dogs and cats.

Dr. Koski is aware of the skepticism, and embraces it. “It’s not magic. It’s not spiritual. It is a method of treatment, and not every animal will return to normal function.” But the success stories are gratifying. Dr. Koski tells of a golden retriever facing surgery with a torn leg muscle returning to a full and active lifestyle; an old pet rabbit regaining use of an atrophied hind leg; as well as chemotherapy patients being relieved of nausea and loss of appetite. “I’m routinely surprised by some of the responses, because there’s still a part of me that questions it. But it shows you how much in the world there is to learn if you keep your mind open,” Dr. Koski says.

There’s no better place than the university for a brand of open mindedness like Dr. Koski’s – where students and colleagues alike benefit from the enthusiasm she has for life, learning and teaching. Says Dr. Koski: “It’s so motivating when you see the excitement in a student’s eyes when they do something for the first time. To see that joy brings you back to your moment of discovery. I’m also fortunate to work with so many gifted professionals; I feel like I learn something every day.” Proof that an open mind is perhaps the “gift that keeps on giving.”


Favorite charity: 4Paws Learning and Wellness Center
Perfect happiness is: An unstructured day hiking along the coast with my husband
Motto: The glass is always half full.
Guilty pleasure: Pampering my husband, family and friends with a wonderful homemade dinner and a great bottle of wine
Secret passion/obsession/hobby: Art projects of any type – mosaics, drawing, claywork and beadwork

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