The Vets

Dr. Dan Johnson, DVM, Diplomate ABVP

Dr. Johnson earned his BS in Biology from North Carolina State University in 1988, and his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from NCSU-College of Veterinary Medicine in 1992. He worked in small animal and emergency medicine for 4 years before starting North Carolina's first all-exotics practice. Dr. Johnson serves as an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences at NCSU-CVM. He is Board Certified in Exotic Companion Mammal Practice by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (ABVP) and is past president of the Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians (AEMV). Dr. Johnson publishes and lectures nationally about avian and exotic animal medicine. His areas of special interest include surgery, orthopedics, zoological medicine, and exotic animal dentistry.

Dr. Christine Eckermann-Ross, DVM, CVA, CVCH

Dr. Christine Eckermann-Ross joined Avian and Exotic Animal Care after graduating from North Carolina State College of Veterinary Medicine in 2000. Prior to veterinary school, Dr. Eckermann-Ross earned a BS in Biochemistry and worked as a research specialist in Radiation Oncology at UNC/CH. Dr. Eckermann-Ross serves as an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences at NCSU-CVM, and has lectured at professional conferences on avian and exotic animal medicine and acupuncture. She is a certified veterinary acupuncturist and herbalist. She has special interests in avian medicine, acupuncture, herbal medicine, surgery, and oncology.

Dr. Salina Locke, DVM

Dr. Locke earned her BS in Biology from North Carolina State University and her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from The University of Georgia in 2011. During veterinary school she focused her studies on exotic animal medicine and has externed with many leaders in the field, at zoos and Georgia’s Poultry Disease and Diagnostic laboratory.

After graduation, she worked in small animal practice seeing exotics for 7 years, during which she also worked with us as a relief doctor. Two of those years she spent as medical director for a corporate practice. She currently is working on a research project on bald eagles.

Dr. Locke’s special interests include surgery, orthopedics, endoscopy, avian and zoological medicine, dentistry and avian cardiology.

Dr. Sara Sokolik, DVM, MPH

Dr. Sara Sokolik received her bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from the University of Minnesota in 2014, and went on to earn her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Minnesota in 2018. During her studies, she focused on both large and small animal species, devoting her clinical time to zoo animal medicine and management. She participated in research on various wild animal species, ranging from frogs to raptors to moose. After graduating vet school, Dr. Sokolik completed a rotating internship in medicine and surgery at a large hospital in Minnesota before moving east to complete a second internship at Cornell University specializing in exotic, zoo, and wild animal species. She has since fled south to warmer weather! Her interests are broad and include coming up with unique solutions to medical and surgical problems in all exotic animals. In 2021, Dr. Sokolik completed her Masters of Public Health degree focusing on transmission of disease between wolves and dogs.

Dr. Alissa Tepedino, DVM, CertAqV

Dr. Tepedino earned her B.S. in Biology from UNC-Chapel Hill, and her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Ross University in 2019. During veterinary school she began an ongoing research project studying pathology of hawksbill sea turtles, and completed externships in zoological, wildlife, and aquatic animal medicine. She is currently working towards becoming a Certified Aquatic Veterinarian through the World Aquatic Veterinary Medical Association. Dr. Tepedino’s special interests include oncology, aquatic and amphibian medicine, ophthalmology, and surgery. She completed her aquatic certification in 2021.

Dr. Ashley Emanuele, DVM, CertAqV

Dr. Emanuele earned her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2015. She received her B.S. in Marine Biology from Roger Williams University in Rhode Island, and has conducted research with octopuses, cuttlefish, and sea turtles. Dr. Emanuele became North Carolina’s first Certified Aquatic Veterinarian in 2018, a distinction awarded by the World Aquatic Veterinary Medical Association. Dr. Emanuele’s special interests include ophthalmology, nutrition, aquatic animal health, geriatrics, and pediatrics.