Patricia Dennis

Adjunct Assistant Professor

Dr. Pam Dennis is the veterinary epidemiologist at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and an assistant clinical professor with Ohio State University Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine. Her shared position is a partnership between the two institutions, and is the basis for the Epi-Zoo program. The mission of the program is to assess the health, diseases and environment of captive and free-ranging wildlife populations, to improve and monitor the health and well-being of these populations, and to provide research, education and outreach opportunities in wildlife health. Her research runs the gamut from cardiovascular health of great apes in zoos to antimicrobial resistance in fecal coliforms of urban white-tailed deer populations. We use a wide variety of methods and techniques to examine health, and are always exploring new ways to answer our health questions. Collaboration is essential to our success, whether we are working with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), our international conservation partners, or local museums and universities.


Contact information:



Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
4200 Wildlife Way
Cleveland, OH 44109


Selected publications:

Krynak, R. Oldfield, P. Dennis, M. Durkalec, and C. Weldon. (2015) A novel field technique to assess ploidy in introduced Grass Carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella, Cyprinidae). Biological Invasions 2015: DOI 10.1007/s10530-015-0856-9

Dubey,J,P; Dennis,P,M; Verma,S,K; et al. “Epidemiology of toxoplasmosis in white tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus):

Occurrence, congenital transmission, correlates of infection, isolation, and genetic characterization of Toxoplasma gondii.” VETERINARY PARASITOLOGY. Vol. 202, no. 3-4. (May 2014): 270-275.

Grace Fuller, Kristen E. Lukas, Christopher Kuhar, Patricia M. Dennis. “A retrospective review of mortality in lorises and pottos in North American zoos, 1980−2010.” Endanered Species Research. Vol. 23, (Mar 2014): 205-217.

Less,E,H; Bergl,R; Ball,R; et al. “Implementing a Low-Starch Biscuit-Free Diet in Zoo Gorillas: The Impact on Behavior.” ZOO BIOLOGY. Vol. 33, no. 1. (Jan 2014): 63-73

Less,E,H; Lukas,K,E; Bergl,R; et al. “Implementing a Low-Starch Biscuit-Free Diet in Zoo Gorillas: The Impact on Health.” ZOO BIOLOGY. Vol. 33, no. 1. (Jan 2014): 74-80.

Mueller, J.E., Dennis, P.M., Willis, M.A., Simone, E.A., & Lukas, K.E. “Seasonal and diurnal variations in African elephant (Loxodonta africana) and black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) behavior in a northern climate zoo.” International Journal of Comparative Psychology. Vol. 26, no. 4. (Sep 2013): 304-323.

Nolting, J., Dennis, P.M., Long, L., Holtvoigt, L.E., Brown, D., King, M.J., Shellbarger, W., Hanley, C., Killian, M.L., & Slemons, R.D. “Low pathogenic influenza A virus activity at avian interfaces in Ohio zoos, 2006-2009.” Avian Diseases. Vol. 57, no. 3. (Sep 2013): 657-62.

Fuller,Grace; Kuhar,Christopher,W; Dennis,Patricia,M; et al. “A Survey of Husbandry Practices for Lorisid Primates in North American Zoos and Related Facilities.” ZOO BIOLOGY. Vol. 32, no. 1. (Jan 2013): 88-100.

Kuhar,C,W; Fuller,G,A; Dennis,P,M. “A Survey of Diabetes Prevalence in Zoo-housed Primates.” ZOO BIOLOGY. Vol. 32, no. 1. (Jan 2013): 63-69

Nielsen,Brian,D; Vick,Mandi,M; Dennis,Patricia,M. “A Potential Link Between Insulin Resistance And Iron Overload Disorder In Browsing Rhinoceroses Investigated Through The Use Of An Equine Model.” JOURNAL OF ZOO AND WILDLIFE MEDICINE. Vol. 43, no. 3. (Sep 2012): S61-S65

Murphy HW, PM Dennis, W Devlin, TP Meehan, I Kutinsky. “Echocardiographic parameters of captive western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla).” journal of zoo and wildlife medicine. Vol. 42, no. 4. (Dec 2011): 572-9

Dorsey,Candice; Dennis,Patricia; Guagnano,Gregory; et al. “Decreased Baseline Fecal Glucocorticoid Concentrations Associated With Skin And Oral Lesions In Black Rhinoceros (Diceros Bicornis).” JOURNAL OF ZOO AND WILDLIFE MEDICINE. Vol. 41, no. 4. (Dec 2010): 616-625.