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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 non traditional species 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 graduation in Charlotte, North Carolina as a veterinarian at a dog and cat general practice. She returned to her family and friends in Chicago in June 2000 to pursue her interests in exotic and emergency veterinary medicine.
She joined the team at Midwest Bird & Exotic Animal Hospital in September 2000. In October 2004, she partnered with Dr. Poliakoff in purchasing the practice from Drs. Nye and Brown, and in 2005 they opened Midwest Animal Emergency Hospital in conjunction with MBEAH so that they could provide 24 hour exotic care as well as emergency care for dogs and cats after normal business hours. She enjoys seeing patients at both MBEAH and MAEH, and has a particular interest in the areas of emergency and critical care medicine, as well as dentistry and surgery. In her spare time, Dr. Clarkson enjoys spending time with her husband, traveling, SCUBA diving, downhill skiing, wine tasting, gardening and can often be found sampling some of Chicago's fine restaurants and nightlife.