Vernon Hills Animal Hospital

1260 South Butterfield
Mundelein, IL 60060


Dr. Stephen Barten


I was one of those kids who had every kind of animal for a pet. Now that I’m grown up I still have a house full of animals and have passed that love of animals to my sons.  While in college and deciding on a future career, it always was going to be something to do with animals.  It was only later that I settled on veterinary medicine, and I never considered becoming a physician or dentist.

Boy, did I make the right choice!  I love seeing all my patients every day.  Sometimes my job can be challenging but there’s nothing like a puppy or kitten fix, or getting a smile and kisses from a sweet senior pet, to put any problem in perspective.  I have a special place in my heart for my reptile patients, always beautiful and fascinating.  We hand out far too many treats to our dogs (cats rarely take them) - and buy them in bulk from big box stores – but those wagging tails make it all worthwhile.  

I’m way into photography and probably have taken a photo of your puppy or kitten for our Newest Patients page on this site or our Patient of the Week album on our Facebook page. I really love traveling to photograph wildlife, and you can see some of my pictures on our Interesting Stuff page on this site or my photo sharing site

I do a little technical writing with articles (and photographs!) in a variety of veterinary textbooks, journals and magazines.  I also present continuing education lectures at veterinary conferences and veterinary schools and love the travel and meeting other people in our profession.

My most exciting animal experiences were cage diving with great white sharks at Isle Guadalupe, Mexico, and scuba diving in the Coooper 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.



Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Illinois, 1978 

Areas of Interest

Dogs and cats, reptiles and amphibians, client communication and service, clinical photography 

Personal Interests

Nature and wildlife photography, ecotourism, scuba diving  


Recently attended Continuing Education

Wisconsin Exotic Animal Veterinary Conference, University of Wisconsin Madison, March 1-2, 2014.  I gave 6 hours of lecture and taught a lab to veterinarians, technicians and veterinary students form 4 different vet schools, as well as sitting in on lectures by other specialists in exotics.

St, Matthews University, George Town, Cayman Islands, February 10-14, 2014.  I taught a week-long course on herpetological medicine to the third year veterinary students, but got to tour the islands and photograph the wildlife.  I also helped collect owl pellets on Cayman Brac as part of an ongoing study by Dr. Rosenthal, the dean of the veterinary school.

Iowa State University, College of Veterinary Medicine, Ames, IA, January 30-31, 2014.  I gave lectures and taught a lab to the third year veterinary students on herpetological medicine.

North American Veterinary Conference (NAVC) Orlando, January 18-22, 2014.   28 hours of continuing education over 5 days, plus entertainment by comedian Kevin Nealon and zoo personality Jack Hannah.   I taught a lab and I enjoy working with the NAVC board of directors, staff, and program chairs as Program Coordinator.  

North American Veterinary Conference (NAVC), Orlando, January 18-23, 2013. 6,000 veterinarians, 5 full days and evenings of continuing education, lectures, seminars and labs. This was my eighth year serving as the NAVC Exotics Coordinator, managing the Avian, Exotic Companion Mammal, Reptile, Zoo, Wildlife, and Aquatic Medicine Programs for the conference. I also presented a lecture on Ball Python medicine.  I was promoted to Program Coordinator for the entire conference and will coordinate a program consisting of over 350 nationally renowned speakers, 1,300 hours of continuing education and 30 hands-on laboratories.

Combined Conference: Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians, Association of Avian Veterinarians, and Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians, August 9-13, 20011, Seattle. Concurrent sessions, lectures, seminars and labs on exotic pet medicine.

NAVC Expedition to the Inside Passage of Alaska, with lectures on local wildlife, their conservation and medical issues.  My wife joined me and we had lots of wildlife photography opportunities!  Orcas, humpback whales, sea otters, and eagles galore!

North American Veterinary Conference Expedition Conference to the Ecuador Rain Forest and Galapagos Islands, June 12-26, 2010. My wife was able to join me as we studied and photographed the wildlife of these amazing places with a group of 30 veterinarians. See my photos in the "Interesting Stuff" section of this web site.

North American Veterinary Conference Expedition Conference to Churchill, Manitoba, October 29-November 4, 2009. Dr. B joined 22 other veterinarians to observe and learn about Polar Bears and other Arctic wildlife, including Arctic Foxes, Red Foxes, Moose and Wolves. He also learned about the sport of dog sledding, and got to participate in a dog sledding outing (at night, under a full moon, zero degrees F). They saw and photographed over 50 Polar Bears.

North American Veterinary Conference Expedition Seminar to Antarctica, February 15-25, 2008. Dr. Barten joined a group of 30 veterinarians who flew to Ushuaia, Argentina, the most southern city in the world at the tip of South America. After a short tour of Tierra del Fuego, they boarded a ship to cross the notorious Drake Passage to the Antarctic peninsula. They saw pods of Humpback Whales, Albatross, Penguins (Chinstrap, Gentoo and Adelie), Seals (Antarctic Fur, Crabeater, Weddell, and Leopard), and many seabirds. Lectures centered on the natural history and medicine of Antarctic creatures. The Drake Passage threw a storm on the way home that the crew rated an 8 out of 10 for severity, but he got home safely with hundreds of spectacular photographs.


Chicago Veterinary Medical Association

Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association

American Veterinary Medical Association

Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians

Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles

Chicago Herpetological Society

Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians