] Exotic Species Cancer Research Alliance (ESCRA)




We can always accomplish more when we work together. This is especially true when dealing with new and emerging fields and in areas where few people are experts. The field of oncology for exotic species is really in its infancy. When we compare what we know about cancer in humans, and even in dogs and cats, exotic animal veterinarians are often working in the dark. We are expected to extrapolate treatment protocols, prognostic information and diagnostic planning from humans, dog and cats, but have very little data to suggest that these extrapolations are appropriate.

Our patients deserve better. They deserve to have a dedicated team of clinicians, researchers, and others who are interested in discovering the basic biology behind their diseases, how they will respond to cancer therapies, disease markers and prognostic indicators and ways to improve treatment for species that are currently under-represented in cancer research.

Human research can benefit from our species. Few people realize that many of the advances in human cancer research were made by studying cancer-causing viruses in other species, including chickens. Many of the basic genetic alterations that cause cancer occur in genes that are highly conserved across a wide range of species, because these genes are important for essential biological functions.

  • Cancer research needs better, more faithful models
  • Many of the most powerful cancer genes are highly conserved
  • The NIH and other groups are recognizing the power of comparative oncology
  • Lessons from canine tumors have informed human cancer treatments
  • A whole world of cancer biology awaits in companion exotic and zoological species
  • Veterinary cancer therapy will only improve with advanced knowledge

Exotic Tumor Database


When it comes to treating cancer in exotic animals, we are limited by a lack of research and data. This is why collaboration is key in order to improve outcomes, further our knowledge, and lead to more innovative research.

In partnership with leaders in biomedical research, zoological parks, and colleges of veterinary medicine we are collecting the data necessary to improve cancer treatment outcomes in exotics and contribute to improving outcomes for all species.

How You Can Help:

Tell us about your cases. By sharing the type of species, diagnosis, treatment, and outcome, we will be able to better serve our patients and the field of comparative medicine.

For those practices utilizing the Zoo and Exotic Pathology Service (ZEPS) for histopathology, ZEPS will help you locate your tumor cases and provide you a list for submission to the database.

For additional information, email Dr. Drury Reavill at: Dreavill@zooexotic.com


Past Conferences

  • Stanford One Health 2016 logo
  • Stanford One Health 2016
    April 30,2016, Stanford, CA

    The Stanford One Health 2016 symposium aims to educate medical and veterinary professionals on cutting edge cross-species basic and clinical research that benefits both humans and animals.

  • 2016 Joint AAZV/EAZWV/IZW Conference logo
  • 2016 Joint AAZV/EAZWV/IZW Conference
    July 16-22nd, 2016, Atlanta, GA, at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta.

    AAZV is an umbrella organization that provides advocacy, collaboration and partnerships for combined efforts for sustaining and improving the well-being of wildlife in all habitats.

  • AAV ExoticsCon 2016 logo
  • ExoticsCon: 2016 International AAV, AEMV and ARAV Joint Conference
    August 27th - September 1, 2016, Portland, OR, at the Hilton Portland & Executive Tower Hotel.

    The Association of Avian Veterinarians (AAV), the Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians (AEMV), and the Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians (ARAV) will join together in 2016 to host Building Exotics Excellence: One City, One Conference.

Our Advisors

  • Ashley Zehnder, DVM, PhD, DABVP(Avian)

    Ashley Zehnder, DVM, PhD, DABVP(Avian)
    Founder | Stanford University

  • Jennifer Graham, DVM, DABVP(Avian), DACZM

    Jennifer Graham, DVM, DABVP(Avian), DACZM<
    Tufts University

  • Tara Harrison, DVM, MPVM, DACZM, DACVPM

    Tara Harrison, DVM, MPVM, DACZM, DACVPM
    North Carolina State University

  • Michelle Hawkins, DVM, DABVP(Avian)

    Michelle Hawkins, DVM, DABVP(Avian)
    Univ. of California-Davis

  • Joanne Paul-Murphy, DVM, PhD, DACZM

    Joanne Paul-Murphy, DVM, PhD, DACZM
    Univ. of California-Davis

  • Michael Kent, MAS, DVM, DACVIM, DACVR

    Michael Kent, MAS, DVM, DACVIM, DACVR
    Univ. of California-Davis

  • Ryan Colburn, DVM

    Ryan Colburn, DVM
    John Ball Zoo, Grand Rapids, MI

  • Cassondra Bauer, DVM, MS, ACVPM

    Cassondra Bauer, DVM, MS, ACVPM
    WIL Research, Ashland, OH

  • Catherine Pfent, DVM, PhD

    Catherine Pfent, DVM, PhD
    Lincoln Memorial University - College of Veterinary Medicine

  • Drury Reavill, DVM, Dipl. ABVP(Avian, Reptile and Amphibian), Dipl. ACVP

    Drury Reavill, DVM, Dipl. ABVP(Avian, Reptile and Amphibian), Dipl. ACVP
    Zoo and Exotic Pathology Service (ZEPS)

  • Dalen Agnew, DVM, PhD, DACVP

    Dalen Agnew, DVM, PhD, DACVP
    Michigan State University - Pathology

  • David Sanchez-Migallon Guzman, LV, MS, DECZM, DACZM

    David Sanchez-Migallon Guzman, LV, MS, DECZM, DACZM
    Univ. of California-Davis

  • Chris Bonar, VMD, Dipl. ACZM

    Chris Bonar, VMD, Dipl. ACZM
    Director of Animal Health at Dallas Zoo

Our Partners

  • Parrot Wellness Program
  • UC Davis Vet School
  • VetCompass
  • VMDB (Veterinary Medical Databases)
  • NCSU
  • Ghent University
  • ZEPS

Contact Us


Thank you for your interest in the Exotic Species Cancer Research Alliance! The form below will help us get you connected with other clinicians and researchers with similar goals. We would also love to be able to utilize your expertise to help advance research projects relating to cancer in exotic animals.