Meet the NorthStar VETS Team: Matthew Grootenboer, VMD

Dr. Matthew Grootenboer, VMD is a member of the Avian and Exotics team at NorthStar VETS. In this blog post and video below, he talks about how he got into veterinary medicine, the kinds of cases he sees and the biggest challenge he faces in his work.

How Dr. Grootenboer got into Veterinary Medicine
We caught up with Dr. Grootenboer, who was checking out one of his chinchilla patients. “The patient I’m seeing today is a chinchilla, a rodent originally from South America. They are built for cold weather and high altitudes, which is why they are so fluffly. They live about ten years and make really good pets. We’re seeing this guy because he’s ten, and so he’s getting older. He belongs to one of the employees here at the hospital.” Dr. Grootenboer sees all the pets that are not dogs or cats and he brings a wealth of experience to the team at NorthStar VETS.

Dr. Grootenboer went on to tell us more about himself. “I wanted to be a veterinarian since I was very young. When I was about ten years old, I lost my pet cat, and that triggered my desire to help animals of all kinds. As I got older, I started working for zoos, which led me into exotic species. I went to veterinary school at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, then did an exotics-specific internship down in Florida at Broward Avian and Exotics Animal Hospital, and then that brought me here.”

The Biggest Challenge for Dr. Grootenboer
Treating so many different animals makes Dr. Grootenboer’s job especially difficult. “We’ll see your typical small rodents such as rats, mice, chincillas, guinea pigs, rabbits, ferrets, and others. We’ll also see birds and reptiles of all different kinds, but when I say that, I mean parrots in addition to other birds like chickens. Things you wouldn’t immediately think of as pets. Occasionally, we’ll see amphibians as well.”

“Exotics is its own specialty, but what’s odd about that is that other specialties include just surgery, or just internal medicine, but our specialty is everything other than dogs or cats, so it’s extremely broad.”

One of the most unusual cases Dr. Grootenboer has seen
Dr. Grootenboer is still surprised by some of the patients he sees. “One of the crazier pets that I’ve worked with in veterinary school was a tarantula. It came in through the Emergency room after being in a house fire, and was covered in smoke. Tarantulas actually breathe through their skin, so the treatment was as simple as dusting him off so that he could breathe again.”

What Dr. Grootenboer loves about being an Avian and Exotics Veterinarian at NorthStar VETS
Dr. Grootenboer works alongside more than 40 other veterinarians at NorthStar VETS to treat all of your pets. “I love working here at NorthStar VETS, I think it’s a great environment for me to continue to gain experience. I get to work with the other specialists so if there’s a particular surgery I have planned, I can work with the Surgeon on that, and I have Radiology to corroborate my findings. It’s really great to be able to simply go down the hall and ask opinions of brilliant people.” Dr. Grootenboer and the team at NorthStar VETS are available 24 hours a day to help you and your pets. “My favorite part about being an avian and exotics veterinarian is the variety of it. It’s kind of why I wanted to move away from dogs and cats and get into exotics because my days are never the same and I never know what’s coming in next.”

Learn more about the Avian and Exotics service at NorthStar VETS

Matthew Grootenboer, VMDMatthew Grootenboer, VMD
Dr. Matt Grootenboer attended veterinary school at the University of Pennsylvania and graduated in 2015. He went on to complete an internship in small animal medicine at Oradell Animal Hospital. From there, he traveled to Florida to complete an internship in exotic animal medicine at Broward Avian and Exotic Animal Hospital where he appeared on the National Geographic TV show Dr. K’s Exotic Animal ER. He has returned to his home state of New Jersey to continue working with exotic companion animals at NorthStar VETS. An extension of his passion for exotics is his interest in zoo animals and wildlife. He has worked with a variety of unusual species throughout his career, including kinkajous, kangaroos, and giraffes. Dr. Grootenboer is a firm believer in the idea that all animals are equally important no matter how small or short-lived and to their parents these pets mean as much as a dog or cat would.

He lives in Princeton, NJ with his cat Penny, rat, and hamster. When not working, Dr. Grootenboer likes to stay active whether that means going to the gym or for a bike ride/hike. He also likes to play the drums in his spare time. Each fall Dr. Grootenboer becomes a bit difficult to reach on Sundays as he cheers for his favorite football team, the Miami Dolphins.

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One Response to Meet the NorthStar VETS Team: Matthew Grootenboer, VMD

  1. Irene C Herbert says:

    Yes, he is a great Vet. I will add that he is compassionate. North Star is very fortunate to have him on their team. He has taken good care of my ferrets.

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