Dr. Suzanne Topor was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois and attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She knew she wanted to be a veterinarian at the age of 11 and never wavered from that goal. She grew up with many different pets including dogs, birds, reptiles and fish. Dr. Topor graduated from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine in 1982. After practicing in the Chicago area for a year, she decided to make the big move to Florida in order to include more birds and other exotic species in her caseload (and escaping the cold winters didn’t hurt either). After working at a practice in Tampa for almost 10 years honing her skills and building up a clientele of birds and exotic pets, Dr. Topor struck out on her own and opened Livingston Animal and Avian Hospital in Lutz. She says, “My clientele is about 30% dogs, 30% cats, and 40% avian, small mammal and reptile species which is a nice mixture of all the animals I love and that most people have as pets. I find that treating all of these different species keeps me sharp because I am able to apply comparative anatomy and physiology across species while learning and respecting their differences”. In 1994, Dr. Topor became an avian specialist when she passed the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners exam to be certified in avian practice. She re-certified in 2004 as ABVP requires their diplomats to go through a rigorous process to maintain their skills and credentials.
Dr. Topor has been active in many professional organizations and community service projects during her career. She served as president of both the Hillsborough County Veterinary Medical Society and the Hillsborough Animal Health Foundation which is the community service and education arm of our veterinary family. She also served on the board of the Association of Avian Veterinarians (an international organization) starting as Public Relations chair in 1995 and was elected President of AAV for the year of 1999. As AAV conference chair in 2000, Dr. Topor maintained her commitment to helping educate other veterinarians about birds and decided to stay on as AAV Lab Coordinator for the conference committee. She held this position for 10 years, helping to plan conferences from 2000-2009. She was awarded the AAV President’s Award in 1996 for her work on the PR committee and again in 2010 for her work as Lab Coordinator for AAV. “My years serving AAV taught me so much about education and conferences and also afforded me the opportunity to meet lifelong friends with whom I can network for my entire career”, says Dr. T. Dr. Topor also continues to do her share of local community service by supporting several rescue organizations for dogs and birds. She has participated in the Great American Teach-In every single year since moving to Florida in 1983 by bringing in animals to school and talking to the kids about careers in veterinary medicine. She says, “If we can teach children to love, respect and care for animals appropriately at a young age, then we can help make them into responsible adults no matter what field they choose to pursue”. Dr Topor has an 12 year old daughter and has also been a Girl Scout Leader for the past 5 years, again demonstrating her commitment to raising a generation of confident, courageous and compassionate women.
Dr. Topor does try to find some time for recreational pursuits and enjoys boating, scuba diving, skiing (both water and snow), reading and crafts. To sum it up, she says, “It has been a privilege to be a veterinarian and get to work with animals every day as well as get to know their families. Our pets provide us with so much and ask so little in return. It truly is unconditional love and they do things that make me smile every day. You can never stop learning about them. I know I will never be bored!”