Vernon Hills Animal Hospital

1260 South Butterfield
Mundelein, IL 60060


Dr. Stephen Barten


Things you might not know about me:

1. My biggest hobby these days is wildlife photography.  I try to take several trips every year mainly to photograph wildlife where they live.  You can view my images at  I also post some of my images on our Interesting Stuff page on this website.  Some of my favorite images are of mountain gorillas, snowy owls, and jaguars.

2.  I love all animals but always have been fascinated by reptiles.  As a result I treat many reptile patients and often give continuing education lectures on reptile medicine at veterinary conferences and veterinary schools, both locally, nationally, and internationally.  I like to see them in the wild and go on "snake hunting" trips every year, but it's just to see them like birdwatching, not to do anything with them.

3.  I'm senior author for three chapters in the new third edition of Mader's Reptile Medicine and Surgery textbook, which will be published in 2018

4.  I've been involved with the North American Veterinary Conference (recently renamed Veterinary Meeting and Expo, or VMX) for over 25 years, serving first as Reptile Program Chair, then Exotics Coordinator, and for the last several years I have been the Program Coordinator for the whole conference.  It's the largest veterinary conference in the world, with over 17,000 attending, 400 speakers, 1200 continuing education lectures, and dozens of hands-on-laboratories.  I have have been a speaker for many years and won a speaker-of-the-year award there.

5.  I was a scuba diver for many years with over 300 logged dives.  My most exciting animal experiences were cage diving with great white sharks at Isle Guadalupe, Mexico, and scuba diving in the Cooper River in South Carolina for fossil shark teeth (I found a 5-incher!) and bumping into an 8-foot-long alligator in the murky, low visibility water.

6.  I've been married to my wife, Patty, a retired corporate executive, for 43 years.  We have two grown sons.  One lives in LA with his wife and daughter and works for Netflix.  The other is a biomedical engineer for Becton Dickinson and lives in San Jose with his fiancé.



Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Illinois, 1978 

Areas of Interest

Dogs and cats, reptiles and amphibians, client communication and service, internal medicine, clinical photography 

Personal Interests

Nature and wildlife photography, ecotourism, field herping


Recently attended Continuing Education

Association of Reptilian and Amphibian  Veterinarians Annual Conference in conjunction with the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians, Dallas, September 2017

Veterinary Expeditions with the Gorilla Doctors, Rwanda, Africa.  July 2017

Veterinary Meeting and Expo, Orlando, February 2017

ExoticsCon (Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians, Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians, and Association of Avian Veterinarians), Portland, September 2016

North American Veterinary Conference, Orlando, FL, January, 2016


Chicago Veterinary Medical Association, Life Member

Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association, Life Member

American Veterinary Medical Association

Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians, Charter Member

Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles

Chicago Herpetological Society, Past President