Infectious Diseases Laboratory, Small Animal Medicine & Surgery
Assistant Research Scientist, Co-Director of Infectious Diseases Laboratory

Aquatic Animal Pathology | Avian Pathology | Diagnostic Pathology | Histopathology | Infectious Diseases | Laboratory Animal Pathology | Wildlife & Exotic Animal Diseases | Wildlife Diseases | Wildlife Pathology | Zoonotic Diseases

Dr. Brittany McHale is co-director of the Infectious Diseases Laboratory, based in the Department of Small Animal Medicine and Surgery. Dr. McHale is also a faculty pathologist, a research scientist, and co-leader of the UGA Zoo and Exotic Animal Pathology Service team, which is co-managed by IDL and the Department of Pathology.

Her background includes work on a wide variety of species including, avian species, rodents (guinea pigs, rabbits, mice, etc.), pachyderms, ruminants (cattle, deer, goats), great apes, invertebrates (terrestrial and aquatic), fish, sea turtles, pandas, ferrets, swine, camelids, equine, and other megafauna, and coral species.

Research Interests

  • Diseases of wildlife and exotic animals
  • Investigating the gross and histopathologic changes associated with plastic ingestion in sea turtles and other animals
  • Gross and histologic cardiac changes in great apes with the Great Ape Heart Project
  • Identification of novel infectious disease agents

Educational Background

  • DVM, University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Pathologists
  • Fellowship, Veterinary Anatomic Pathology, University of Georgia, Tifton Diagnostic Laboratory (Tifton, GA)
  • Residency, Veterinary Anatomic Pathology, University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine (Athens, GA)


  • UGA Zoo and Exotic Animal Pathology Service (ZEAPS), co-leader of team
  • Reviewer for the Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine, 2023-present
  • Reviewer for the Journal of Wildlife Diseases, 2022-present
  • University of Georgia University Council, 2021-2022
  • University of Georgia Human Resources Committee, 2021-2022

Teaching Experience

  • Histopathology Seminar (VPAT 8000)
  • Biopsy Practicum I (VPAT 7020)
  • Biopsy Practicum II (VPAT 7021)
  • Biopsy Practicum III (VPAT 7022)
  • Necropsy Practicum I (VPAT 7010)
  • Necropsy Practicum II (VPAT 7011)
  • Necropsy Practicum III (VPAT 7012)
  • Onco-Pathology (VPAT Onco-Pathology)
  • Honeybee Elective (3rd-4th year students)
  • FYOS 1001: Guest lecturer, Disease Threats to Our Plant and Animal Kingdoms (undergraduates)
  • Supervision of DVM students and visiting students conducting research and independent studies

Selected Publications

Books (authored, co-authored or edited)

  • Schmidt R E., Struthers J D., Phalen D N., eds. Pathology of Pet and Aviary Birds. Third. Wiley; 2024. ISBN-13: 9781119650461 (Co-author of Chapter 2: Respiratory System.)

Peer-reviewed Journal Articles

  • Orbay-Cerrato ME, Nilsen RA, Gottdenker N, McManamon R, Elbert JA, Stilwell JM, Ard MB, Ritchie BW, McHale B. Detection of skunk adenovirus-1 in domestic ferrets (Mustela putorius). Vet Pathol. 2024 Jan;61(1):135-139.
  • Ellis JS, Ritchie BW, McHale B, Rao S, Sadar MJ. Surveillance for Avian Bornavirus in Colorado and Wyoming, USA, Raptor Populations. J Wildl Dis. 2023 Nov 4.
  • Nicole Gottdenker, Rafael Ramos,Hassan Hakimi, Brittany McHale, Sam Rivera, Bryce Miller, Elizabeth Howerth, Caitlin Burrell, Justin Stilwell, Rita McManamon, and Guilherme Verocai. Angiostrongylus cantonensis Infection in Brown Rats (Rattus norvegicus), Atlanta, Georgia, United States, 2019–2022. Emerging Infectious Diseases. 29.10 (2023): 2167-2170.
  • Ji-Hang Yin, Seth Oster, Brittany McHale, Rachel Neto . Naturally occurring psittacid herpesvirus-3 and probable adenovirus co-infection in an Indian ringneck parakeet (Psittacula krameria) in the United States. Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation. 2023 Nov;35(6):772-776.
  • Bonwitt, Jesse, Madison Riethman, Derel Glashower, Hanna N. Oltean, Ron Wohrle, Brian Joseph, Brittany McHale, and Branson Ritchie. “Application of environmental sampling to investigate a case of avian chlamydiosis in a pet store and breeding facility leading to mass bird exposures.” Zoonoses and Public Health (2023).
  • Chong DLA, McHale B, Garrett KB, Yabsley MJ. Fatal Systemic Haemosporidiosis in a Free-Ranging Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus). J Wildl Dis. 2023 Jan 1;59(1):207-211.
  • McHale B, Banovic F. Topical Imiquimod Therapy for Localized Solar Dermatitis in a Dog. Top Companion Anim Med. 2022 Sep-Oct;50:100673. doi: 10.1016/j.tcam.2022.100673. Epub 2022 May 27. PMID: 35636719.
  • Rissi DR, McHale BJ, Miller AD. Primary nervous system lymphoma in cats. J Vet Diagn Invest. 2022 Jul;34(4):712-717. doi: 10.1177/10406387221090281. Epub 2022 Apr 20. PMID: 35442117; PMCID: PMC9266499.
  • Oliveira LB, McHale BJ, Verocai GG, Rissi DR. Subcutaneous and cardiopulmonary dirofilariasis in a dog. Can Vet J. 2021 Aug;62(8):854-856. 2021.
  • Von Stade D, McHale BJ, Gerhold R, Williamson LH, and Howerth EW. Pathology in Practice. May;258:(10):1083-1085. 2021.
  • Siepker CL, Dalton MF, McHale BJ, Sakamoto K, Rissi DR. Neuropathology and diagnostic features of rabies in a litter of piglets, with a brief review of the literature. J Vet Diagn Invest. 2020 Jan;32(1):166-168. doi: 10.1177/1040638719898687. Epub 2020 Jan 9. PMID: 31916501; PMCID: PMC7003231.
  • Balducci JJ, Barber RM, McHale BJ, Stanton JB, Ryan CA. Cladophialophora encephalitis in an alpaca. Can Vet J 61(2):142-146 Feb 2020.
  • Seise I, Pilz ZA, Kusi MY, Bogan B, McHale BJ, Gato WE. Dietary ingestion of 2-aminoanthracene (2AA) and the risk for type-1 diabetes (T1D). J Environ Sci Health A Tox Hazard Subst Environ Eng. 2020;55(14):1638-1645. doi: 10.1080/10934529.2020.1830651. Epub 2020 Oct 14. PMID: 33377427.
  • McHale B, Callahan RT, Paras KL, Weber M, Kimbrell L, Velázquez-Jiménez Y, McManamon R, Howerth EW, Verocai GG. Sparganosis due to Spirometra sp. (cestoda; Diphyllobothriidae) in captive meerkats (Suricata suricatta). Int J Parasitol Parasites Wildl. 2020 Oct 18;13:186-190. doi: 10.1016/j.ijppaw.2020.10.005. PMID: 33134078; PMCID: PMC7591330.
  • Trenholme HN, Sakai DM, Berghaus LJ, Hanafi AL, Knych HK, Ryan CA, McHale B, Banovic F, Quandt JE, Barletta M, Reed RA. Effect of Meperidine on Equine Blood Histamine, Tryptase, and Immunoglobulin-E Concentrations. Front Vet Sci. 2020 Dec 23;7:584922. doi: 10.3389/fvets.2020.584922. PMID: 33426016; PMCID: PMC7786019.
  • McHale B, Armién AG, Clarke LL, Rissi DR. Embryonal central nervous system tumor in the brain of a goose. J Vet Diagn Invest. 2019 May;31(3):385-389. doi: 10.1177/1040638718799390. Epub 2018 Sep 11. PMID: 30204056; PMCID: PMC6838706.
  • McHale B, Blas-Machado U, Oliveira FN, Rissi DR. A divergent pseudoglandular configuration of cutaneous plasmacytoma in dogs. J Vet Diagn Invest. 2018 Mar;30(2):260-262. doi: 10.1177/1040638717735868. Epub 2017 Nov 20. PMID: 29153038; PMCID: PMC6505876.
  • Rissi DR, McHale BJ, Armién AG. Angiocentric astrocytoma in a cat. J Vet Diagn Invest. 2019 Jul;31(4):576-580. doi: 10.1177/1040638719847239. Epub 2019 Apr 25. PMID: 31018782; PMCID: PMC6857018.
  • Édouard O. Maccolini, Philippe J. Dufresne, Sophie Ann Aschenbroich, Brittany McHale, Julie-Hélène Fairbrother, Christian Bédard, and Julie A. Hébert. A Disseminated Cryptococcus gattii VGIIa Infection in a Citron-Crested Cockatoo (Cacatua sulphurea citrinocristata) in Québec, Canada. Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery 2017 31 (2), 142-151.
  • Nagata K, McHale B, Sladakovic I, Gutti JR, Mayer J. Total Body Irradiation for the Treatment of Lymphoma in a Guinea Pig (Cavia Porcellus). Journal of Exotic Pet Medicine 2017.

Additional publications by Dr. McHale can be found at PubMed.

Selected Presentations

  • Teal with leukemia and Sarcocystis, AAZV Pathology Workshop, in-person, Oct 2022
  • What’s the buzz, Disease of honeybees, CL Davis Invertebrate Course, virtual, April 2022 (invited guest speaker)
  • Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease in Georgia, AAZV Pathology Workshop, Oct 2021
  • Sparganosis in Meerkats in the southeastern US, Neuro-mystery session ACVP, in-person, Nov 2019
  • Skunk adenovirus in three domestic ferrets with pneumonia, AAZV Pathology Workshop, in-person, Oct 2019
  • Presented a PowerPoint on Herpesviral conjunctivitis in a cat, SEVPAC Annual Meeting May 2018
  • Presented a neuropathology mystery case “Wild Goose Chase” and Presented a poster titled “Primary CNS Lymphoma in Cats,” American College of Veterinary Pathologist Annual Meeting November 2017
  • Presented a PowerPoint on Spontaneous coffee senna poisoning in cattle, SEVPAC Annual Meeting May 2016
  • Presented a poster titled “Divergent Morphology of Plasma Cell Tumors,” American College of Veterinary Pathologist Annual Meeting November 2016
  • Won top three of 160 posters with a poster titled “Necrobacillosis in Two White-tailed Deer Fawns,” Endivet Conference October 2016
  • Presented a PowerPoint on Pseudomonas aeruginosa bronchopneumonia in a goat, Midwest Association of Veterinary Pathologist Annual Meeting August 2014

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