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May 22, 2014

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RIP Murray Fowler DVM

It is with a heavy heart that that we inform you that a great icon of the Camelid industry, the zoologic and wildlife services and the veterinary profession has passed away. Dr. Murray Fowler died on May 18 after a short illness. He was a professor and a friend, a colleague and a collaborator, a spearhead and a teammate, an adviser and an investigator, a thinker and a listener. Dr. Fowler had more impact on the Camelid industry than any other person. He will continue his legacy in the hearts and minds of the innumerable owners, veterinarians and caretakers he has taught and influenced.

In the 30 years I have known Murray he was always enthusiastic, energetic, helpful and honest. He always had time to talk and was interested in the person, not just the subject. He was one of those people you met who made a lasting impression due to his goodness and genuineness.

Dr. Murray Fowler has been someone who has had an impact on the industry; someone who has helped promote llamas in a positive way; someone who supported the industry as a whole, not just their area of interest; and someone who committed himself to improving the industry for llamas and for llama owners.

As CAL-ILA indicated when they established the Murray Fowler award “Murray Fowler has singlehandedly done more for the care and management of camelids than anyone since the Incas”. Prior to his interest in llamas, Dr. Fowler was world renowned for his work in wild animals. One of Murray’s first books was “Zoo and Wild Animal Medicine” (first published in 1978 and is now in the 7th edition). It was one of the few books back then that even mentioned llamas. When the very first get together of llama owners met in Bend, Oregon in summer of 1980 Dr. Fowler was there. When the very first llama Vet Conference was held in Yakima, WA in 1985 he was there. Dr. Fowler has been at every llama related veterinarian conference along with every llama conference he could possibly attend to be there for the llamas and their owners.

There are many veterinarians who have been instrumental in the research of llamas and the education of llama owners. But Dr. Fowler was first! He was there for every owner who had a question. He has been instrumental in supporting documentation for changes in legislation to facilitate interstate movement of camelids He was always excited to see new types of cases and try to figure out new conditions. Without Dr. Fowler in the beginning, we would not have the multitude of veterinarians who have done so much for the education, research, and welfare of llamas.

Dr. Fowler was Professor Emeritus of Zoological Medicine, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis. He was the veterinarian for the Sacramento Zoo for 24 years, and he started the first veterinary school program that dealt specifically with captive and free-ranging wild animals. An award-winning author and teacher, he was a diplomat of the American College of Zoological Medicine, The American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, and American Board of Veterinary Toxicology.

Dr. Fowler was an expert in Camelids, zoo animal medicine and surgery as well as veterinary toxicology. He was the author, co-author or editor of 18+ books and about 217 professional papers. He was the author/editor of Zoo and Wild Animal Medicine, now in 7th edition, The Medicine and Surgery of South American Camelids, the Restraint and Handling of Wild and Domestic Animals, both in their 3rd editionsand The Alpaca Book. He has published his autobiography, Murray, From Hummingbirds to Elephants and Other Tales. He devoted his time to writing, editing and speaking at conferences and workshops around the world. Dr. Fowler was one of the most sought after experts of zoo animals and medicine in the world.

It will be difficult to be at a conference or meeting to look around and not see Murray's friendly face amongst the participants. His kind words, his humble advice, his positive outlook on life and his keen perspective will always be missed. May we continue his work, his passion and his service to those things he held so dear in life.