Jennifer Whitaker is licensed as an LVT in the state of Tennessee. After her U.S. Army enlistment, she used her G.I. Bill to earn her Associate of Science degree in Veterinary Technology from the AVMA-accredited program at Globe University in Madison, Wisconsin – her home state. She completed her Bachelor of Applied Science in Veterinary Technology from Tarleton State University (a division of Texas A&M). Jen works primarily in surgery alongside her husband, Dr. Shane Whitaker; owner and surgeon at Highway 58 Animal Hospital in Chattanooga, Tennessee. She also travels with her husband as he gives lectures around the country on CT imaging and laparoscopic surgery, 2 passions that she shares. In addition to surgery and anesthesia, Jen maintains a wide variety of professional interests and endeavors that include reptile medicine, wildlife rehabilitation, and feline-specific medicine, nutrition, and behavior. She volunteered for several years in the Animal Health Center at Vilas Zoo in Madison, and interned as an LVT at the Chattanooga Zoo. Jen strives to continually add to her knowledge base by attending several different education conferences each year, researching a wide variety of topics, and utilizing her own experiences with both clinic patients and personal cases.
Outside the surgery suite, Jen greatly enjoys spending time with her husband and their two beautiful, intelligent, animal-loving daughters, Zoë and Holly. She loves to snuggle up with her beloved cats while playing Fortnite, Minecraft, or Skyrim, and playing at the dog park with her AKC Doberman, Leia. Jen and her husband are also avid reef keepers and maintain 3 saltwater reef tanks with a beautiful assortment of corals and fish – the vast majority of which are captive bred/propagated or sustainably harvested. Many of Jen’s professional interests cross over into her personal world. She has spent nearly her entire life rescuing and rehabilitating abandoned/stray pets (primarily cats) and injured wildlife; a passion learned and inherited from her mother, who in turn inherited it from her father, and so on. Jen has maintained a successful feline behavior consulting service for the past 14 years, and spent over 10 years breeding a large collection of different snake species and genetic color/pattern variants. She has contributed to many discussions on reptile medicine and husbandry, and contributed to the breakthrough discovery (and subsequent journal publication) on Ball Python Nidovirus.
Jen is greatly devoted to educating pet owners and the general public on a variety of topics related to veterinary medicine and animal health. Over the past several years, she has written numerous articles and shared them on different forums, Facebook groups, and other social media. The success of these articles spurred her to utilize her training as an Army journalist/public affairs specialist to create a blog, where she can share her knowledge and education in a centralized location with a broad worldwide audience of pet owners and animal advocates.