Clay Hilton is an Associate Professor and Director of the Veterinary Technology Program in the Department of Animal, Rangeland and Wildlife Sciences at Texas A&M University-Kingsville. Starting at an early age he was fortunate enough to have had the Everglades and mangrove coasts of South Florida and the mountains of western North Carolina to fuel his love for the outdoors. Clay has a Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Biology (1988) from Auburn University, where he also earned his Master of Science in Zoology-Wildlife Ecology (1994). During his research, Clay used the helminth parasite faunas of 10 species of bats in Alabama to infer ecologic relationships within and among the bats. He earned a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (1997) from Auburn University and completed an internship in Large Animal Medicine and Surgery (1999).
Clay has worked in a variety of clinical and educational settings, including The Montgomery Zoo, The Abilene Zoo, Auburn University's College of Veterinary Medicine, Big Sky Country Veterinary Clinics and the Emergency Veterinary Clinic of Abilene. Prior to arriving at TAMUK, Clay was the Vice-President of Animal Care & Conservation at Birmingham Zoo, Inc.
Clay is a Veterinary Advisor to the Canid / Hyenid Taxon Advisory Group of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and is an AZA Accreditation Inspector. He is heavily involved with the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians (AAZV) where has chaired two committees, served on the Board of Directors, chaired sections and presented papers at annual meetings, was an Associate Editor of the Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine for 3 years, and is an inaugural member of the AAZV’s Leadership Forum. He is a past member of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees at Samford University, Auburn University and University of Alabama-Birmingham and is a current member of the IACUC at TAMUK. In December 2013, Clay received his certification in Nonprofit Executive Leadership after completing a year-long course of study through the Alabama Association of Nonprofits.
Clay is a member of the Advisory Board of the Wildlife Veterinary section of the Wildlife Disease Association, The Wildlife Society, the American Veterinary Medical Association (Veterinary Feed Directive Committee), Texas Veterinary Medical Association (Cervid Health Committee), American Quarter Horse Association and the Elephant Manager’s Association. Select awards have been from the Tennessee Valley Authority for his work with gates used in caves that house endangered bats and from the Alabama Veterinary Medical Association for valuable service to the profession. He also teaches a wildlife capture and anesthesia course for Animal Control Officers, USDA/APHIS/Wildlife Services biologists, veterinarians and veterinary students.
Clay’s wildlife veterinary interests include disease interactions at the human/wildlife/domestic animal interfaces, anesthesia and immobilization and biotoxicology. When he is not being academic, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Becky (with whom he often has to share his hunting and fishing spots), his step-daughters Kendra and Jessica, and his horse, Bug.