Have a fowl in need of stem-cell therapy? We know a guy who can help: Dr. Brian King of Mount Pleasant’s Pet Vet. In addition to being among several pros nationwide using human stem cells to heal animals, Dr. King is the resident vet for the Sewee Center’s red wolves and treats wild animals being rehabilitated through area nonprofits. You’ll also spot this musician at music and art events all over town.
CM: How did you start working with wildlife?
BK: When I first began at Pet Vet 22 years ago, it was one of the few vets in town that saw wildlife. Through my work there, I was introduced to Keeper of the Wild [which rescues and rehabilitates 3,500 to 4,000 animals a year]. Any injured mammal—raccoons, opossums, squirrels—in a couple-hundred-mile radius they pick up and bring to me before working with rehabbers to get the animal back into the wild. I’m also one of a handful of vets who’ll work on a skunk.
CM: You treat skunks?
BK: Yeah, I call it the ”skunk underground railroad”—they started carrying monkeypox, and the two biggest domestic breeders in Canada began euthanizing. Animals rights people broke them out and brought them to the U.S. I work with three people who rescue domesticated skunks from all over the country—among them, they have like 30.
CM: Why do you donate your expertise to groups like Keeper of the Wild?
BK: It’s very rewarding; I do it as a community service. Keeper of the Wild, whose board I sit on, is losing its home in St. George and scrambling to find a new location. If this group falls through the cracks, there’s no one to pick up the slack.
CM: When do you use stem-cell therapy?
BK: It speeds up the healing time, so surgery and wound cases mostly. I just did a stem cell treatment on a pet chicken who’d been attacked by a hawk. He’s probably the only chicken on the planet to get stem-cell therapy; the company I’m working with is new and was donating treatments while getting set up.
CM: Tell us about working with the Sewee Center’s endangered red wolves.
BK: It’s balm to my soul. The opportunity to see these beautiful animals is really exciting, and last year, they had a litter of pups; I get to watch two of them grow up.
CM: What instrument do you play in [rock/funk/jam band] Shonuff?
BK: Hand drums—so bongos, congas. We play around town at the Pour House, the Windjammer, and Home Team BBQ.
Born: In Memphis, Tennessee
Professional background: Began practicing at Pet Vet in 1993, right out of veterinary school at Mississippi State University, then bought the practice in 2005
Lives with: His wife, Elizabeth; daughters Bella (12) and Francesca (nine); one rescue dog; and two rescue cats
SEWE plans: While his kids love the wild animal events, Dr. King prefers to browse the art.