A staple on the NatGeo WILD network since 2014, the reality show Dr. K’s Exotic Animal ER follows exotic pet veterinarian, Dr. Susan Kelleher, as she cares for some pretty wild clients in South Florida. Fans love watching the doctor treating parrots, chameleons, tortoises and more at Broward Avian and Exotic Animal Hospital.
Find out more about this enterprising doctor, as well as her net worth.
Where did Dr. Kelleher grow up and get her degree?
Born and raised in Buffalo, New York, Kelleher received her Bachelor’s degree from Alfred University, also in New York, where she graduated with a double major in Chemistry and Biology in 1990. She earned her doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from The University of Tennessee.
“When I was a kid, I grew up in the suburbs of Buffalo,” she told Hollywood Soapbox in 2018, “but we were that house on the corner that had all weird pets. We had a pet chicken, a pet duck. I had rabbits. I absolutely knew from a very young age that that’s what I wanted to do.”
What Dr. Kelleher thinks of having exotic animals as household pets
As Dr. Kelleher said, she grew up around what was then considered “odd” pets: rabbits, ducks, chickens, gerbils, hamsters, guinea pigs, birds, and even snakes. This was normal for Kelleher and her family and she knew her destiny was to care for these animals. She discussed in 2018 the controversy surrounded the keeping of exotic pets as household companions.
“I would say [I] basically had a ‘come to Jesus’ meeting with myself a very long time ago,” she said in her conversation with Hollywood Soapbox at that time, “because I went through a period of time quite a few years ago, probably 15 years ago, where I was like, what am I doing? Why am I seeing these animals? . . . “
“But when I really sit down and think about it — they need medical care. They need an advocate. They need somebody to educate the owners about how to keep them healthy. . . I didn’t put them in the pet store and put them in this situation, but I’m to make sure that their domestic situation is the absolute best possible for their health, comfort and overall well-being.”
Dr. Kelleher’s net worth
The veterinarian’s net worth is $500,000 according to RealityStarFacts.
She told Parade in 2018 that her show is “pretty raw—it’s totally reality TV. None of it is scripted. It’s all out there, honestly!”
“The clients really appreciate a clinic that was devoting themselves to exotic animals only so that they were comfortable and had somebody that was devoted strictly to their care,” Kelleher said.
“I’m very grateful for the opportunity to educate people,” she continued, “and it makes me very happy to get feedback from fellow veterinarians as far away as Boston who say, ‘I had a client bring their Amazon [parrot] in for care because of something she saw on [your] show that alerted her that something was wrong with her bird.’ “