Social media sensation and former Leawood resident Dr. Evan Antin shares his passion for animals.
Kansas City native and veterinarian Dr. Evan Antin has become an overnight celebrity: People magazine named him “Sexiest Beast Charmer” in December 2014; the website Bored Panda said he’s as “just as cute as his patients” and posted nearly 100 photos of him with creatures great and small; and national media outlets like Elle, Us Weekly and BuzzFeed have all crowned him the hottest veterinarian alive (he was a personal trainer and part-time model, after all).
With all the acclaim, Antin’s social media pages are blowing up: He has nearly 200,000 likes on his Facebook page and 370,000 followers on Instagram. Scroll through and you’ll see Antin posing with exotic and adorable animals, but be warned: Graphic (though educational) surgery videos are also in the mix of “pelfies” (puppy selfies) and photos of cuddles with kittens.
Antin, a Blue Valley North graduate, specializes in exotics, wildlife and small animals at Conejo Valley Veterinary Hospital in Thousand Oaks, California. He has traveled all over the world — from Tanzania to Australia and Indonesia — in search of exotic animals, volunteering at wildlife rehab sanctuaries along the way.
In between trips to the tropics, the 31-year-old heartthrob answered a few questions about his rise to fame, his upbringing in KC and his devotion to veterinary care.
435 Magazine: What’s the rarest or most fascinating creature you’ve ever encountered, and where was it?
Evan Antin: Tough question. I have a huge appreciation for so much wildlife. I suppose that one of my favorites would be the first spitting cobra I ever caught — this was on Komodo National Park in Indonesia. It spit right on my face, and I was in heaven.
435: You often handle dangerous exotic animals, such as snakes and alligators. Have there ever been any injuries or close calls as a result?
EA: I've been bitten by a few crocodiles, nothing over 6 feet, though, and nothing that caused any significant permanent damage luckily. I thank my lucky stars for that every day!
435: What are your favorite memories growing up in KC?
EA: My fondest memories of Kansas are visiting all my favorite natural areas like creeks in search of native wildlife — snakes, turtles, frogs, etc. I visit Kansas at least once a year, and every time I do I make time to do some herping (searching for reptiles in the wild.)
435: You already have a dog, a cat, a savannah monitor lizard and tropical fish as pets. Have you since expanded your animal kingdom at home? Is there an animal you’d love to have but haven’t found yet?
EA: I also have a mangrove snake now. I'm pretty busy these days, and as much as I'd love to add on to my family I'm not planning on acquiring new pets at the moment.
435: You’ve gained quite a following on your social media pages. What do you think draws so many people?
EA: I think the amazing animals I work with gain me a lot of followers, from huge lizards and snakes to raptors and of course puppies! Any post with puppies always does very well.
435: What’s the latest innovation in veterinary medicine? Any recent breakthroughs?
EA: I've been a big fan of some of the new drugs and anesthetic compounds to come out over the last couple years — they've made surgical and pain management options even better for many of the exotics I see.
435: Describe the most challenging or unusual patient you’ve treated. What was the outcome?
EA: Unfortunately, the most challenging of cases for many vets don't end well. I've had some extremely tough cases that I've collaborated on with specialists in multiple fields and can't find answers or adequate treatment for, and ultimately these patients don't make it. This is one of the hardships of being a veterinarian.
435: What advice do you have for someone interested in pursuing a career in your field?
EA: My best advice is to kick butt in school. Getting into a quality veterinary program is extremely competitive. I also strongly recommend getting quality and a variety of veterinary/animal experience. Getting experience also helps give those interested in vet medicine some insight to see if the profession is really a good fit for them. I also warn any potential vet student: Get ready for some serious school debt! Most importantly, follow your heart.
435: Now that you’re in the spotlight, what’s next for you?
EA: I hope to keep growing my social media and my role in the digital space as well as keep my sights set for a possible TV show down the road. I've got some amazing people behind me and an incredible boss at the hospital where I'm employed who supports all my goals and dreams!