Midwest Bird & Exotic Animal Hospital Staff

The Veterinarians

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Dr. Betsy Clarkson

Dr. Betsy Clarkson, DVM - Partner

Dr. Clarkson was born and raised in Southwest suburban Chicago, where she enjoyed living with dogs, cats, fish and various small rodents, rabbits and other exotic pets. She obtained her BS in Animal Science from the University of Illinois in 1994 and went on to complete her doctorate in veterinary medicine at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine in 1998. While in veterinary school, she enjoyed volunteering at the U of I Wildlife Ward, a student run wildlife rescue and rehabilitation clinic, where she first started learning about bird, rodent, rabbit and reptile medicine, guiding her toward a career in exotic pet medicine. She also completed an externship at The Animal Medical Center in Manhattan, NY. Dr. Clarkson spent her first two years after graduating in Charlotte, North Carolina as a veterinarian at a dog and cat general practice. She returned to her family and friends in Chicago in May 2000 to pursue her interests in exotic and emergency veterinary medicine at Midwest Bird & Exotics and at another emergency hospital in the Chicago area.

She joined the the team at Midwest Bird & Exotic Animal Hospital in September 2000. In October 2004, she partnered with Dr. Poliakoff in purchasing the practice from Dr. Nye (one of their mentors) and Dr. Brown. She enjoys seeing exotic pets at both MBAEH and Midwest Animal Emergency Hospital, and has a particular interest in the areas of emergency and critical care medicine for exotics and cat and dogs, plus dentistry and surgery. In her spare time, Dr. Clarkson enjoys her 2 dogs and guinea pigs, traveling, gardening, reading and can often be found sampling some of Chicago's restaurants and nightlife searching for the best sushi.

Dr. Dianne Poliakoff

Dr. Dianne Poliakoff , DVM - Partner

Dr. Dianne Poliakoff completed her DVM degree at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine in 1998. During her studies at U of I, Dr. Poliakoff, a native of Chicago, decided to pursue her interest in exotics. In 1994 she spent time volunteering at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. She completed an externship at Midwest Bird & Exotic Animal Hospital in her 4th year of vet school. While attending U of I, she dedicated 4 years of service to the University of Illinois Wildlife Medical Clinic. It was here that she was able to experience hands-on training in surgical procedures, medical treatment, and rehabilitation of wildlife which included rabbits, rodents, bird and reptiles. During Dianne's senior year she was given the award for "Outstanding Achievement in Emergency and Critical Care". Once she had completed her doctorate, Dianne came to work at Midwest Bird & Exotic Animal Hospital. During this time she also worked in at Family Pet Animal Hospital (an exceptional can and dog hospital in Lincoln Park area of Chicago) and full time at Animal 911 Emergency.

In October 2004, Dianne and her colleague Dr. Betsy Clarkson decided to purchase Midwest Bird and Exotic Animal Hospital from Drs. Nye and Brown. In her spare time, Dr. Poliakoff enjoys piloting planes and scuba diving, and can often be found with Dr. Clarkson sampling some of Chicago's restaurants and nightlife searching for the best sushi .

Dr. Kathleen Wilson, DVM

Dr. Kathleen Wilson, DVM

Dr. Wilson was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois where she grew up with dogs most of her life. She earned her undergraduate degree in Animal Science from Tuskegee University, and completed her DVM from there in 2003. While in veterinary school, Dr. Wilson was most interested in behavioral medicine and the human animal bond. Upon graduation, she went on to complete an internship in small animal medicine and surgery at VCA Berwyn and Franklin Park Animal Hospitals in Illinois, where she gained much experience and interest in emergency medicine. After completing her internship, Dr. Wilson spent the next two years working as a small animal general practicioner and an emergency veterinarian. She joined Midwest Animal Emergency Hospital in December of 2006, and has been enjoying the experience of treating dogs, cats, and exotic animals. Dr. Wilson shares her life with her dog Alexander and in her spare time she loves to travel. Her motto is: There is a whole world out there just waiting for me to explore!!!

Dr. Alison Kihn, DVM

Dr. Alison Kihn, DVM

Dr. Allison Kihn is a native of the Chicago suburbs.  She attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for both her undergraduate degree in bioengineering and for veterinary school, from which she graduated in 2013.  Exotics and zoo species have been her passion from the start.  While in school she spent six years caring for injured wild animals at the Wildlife Medical Clinic.  She was also a zoo keeper for farm and Australian animals, and volunteered at a big cat rescue. 

After veterinary school she completed a rotating small animal medicine and surgery internship at the VCA Sacramento Veterinary Referral Center.  Dr. Kihn joined the staff at Midwest Bird and Exotic Animal Hospital in July 2014.  She is thrilled to have returned to her home city, and to be able to provide emergency care for critters of all types. 

In her spare time Dr. Kihn is an avid horseback rider and enjoys board games and watching movies.  She shares her house with Ivy the border collie, Clark Kent the great dane, Louis the french bulldog, and Igby the ball python.

Dr. Alia Habhab, DVM

Dr. Alia Habhab, DVM

Dr. Alia was born in Yonkers, New York and was raised with her two brothers and sisters in Phoenix, Arizona.  She and her siblings were raised surrounded by a variety of animals.  Their daily chores consisted of taking care of the farm animals (cows, sheep, chickens, and ducks) and  pet animals (lots of cats, bunnies, and a parrot).

Alia grew up knowing she was going to be a veterinarian.  She was accepted into Ross Veterinary School in 2010 and finished her clinical year at Purdue Veterinary School.  She completed a one year externship at Animal House of Chicago before starting at Midwest Bird & Exotic Animal Hospital.  In her free time she enjoys spending time in the city, running, and spending time with her cat Maynard.

Veterinary Staff

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