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 have given 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 was published in 2019.

4.  I was involved with the North American Veterinary Conference (renamed Veterinary Meeting and Expo, or VMX, in 2017) for over 25 years, serving first as a speaker, then Reptile Program Chair for 4 years, Exotics Program Coordinator for 8 years, and finally Program Coordinator for the whole conference for 8 years.  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-workshops.  I am a speaker-of-the-year award recipient.

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 45 years.  We have two grown sons.  One lives in LA with his wife and 2 daughters and works for Netflix.  The other is a biomedical engineer who lives in Palo Alto with his wife.



Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Illinois, 1978 

Areas of Interest

Dogs and cats, reptiles and amphibians, 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, Australia.  September 2019

Veterinary Meeting and Expo, Orlando, February 2019

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, 2018


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