Dr. Summer Hedges grew up on a farm in rural Indiana; living with and showing cats and dogs in 4-H. She earned a degree in Biology at Knox College in Illinois and completed externships with a focus on lion and tiger nutrition and enrichment at Peoria Zoo. This work, along with her research in animal behavior, earned Dr. Hedges a T.J. Watson Fellowship to travel around the world to research zoo conservation. She worked with Scottish wildcats in the U.K., tigers in Southeast Asia, and ocelots in Belize. Upon her return to the U.S. she became a zoo curator in Louisiana and later accepted a research position with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Dr. Hedges is inspired by the work of her mentors, Dr. Sophia Yin and Karen Pryor, advocates for understanding animals and their behavior so that we can better care for, appreciate and enjoy our time with them. With their encouragement, Dr. Hedges entered North Carolina State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine to pursue her childhood dream of becoming a veterinarian. She practiced in Raleigh, Wake Forest, and Garner before purchasing Raleigh-Durham Veterinary Hospital from Dr. Stephanie Dalrymple in February 2020.
Dr. Hedges is dedicated to helping you provide the healthiest and happiest lives for your pets. She has a Low Stress Handling Silver Certification and is a Fear Free℠ Certified Veterinarian. Her medical interests include behavior, soft tissue surgery, dentistry, and complex internal medicine cases. To facilitate the highest level of care for patients, Dr. Hedges brings board-certified radiologists and surgeons to the hospital for ultrasounds and orthopedic surgeries and consults with specialists in nutrition, cardiology, dermatology and neurology.
Away from the hospital Dr. Hedges is interested in nature and the environment. She is an avid birder, sponsors bee colonies, loves hiking and camping, and photographs wildlife with her husband. She has fostered cats for Safe Haven for Cats. Dr. Hedges’ own pets have faced endocrine diseases, cancers, injuries, orthopedic and emergency surgeries, dental disease, and other medical crises. Dr. Hedges knows how it feels to be worried about a loved family member and will do as much as she can to help you to keep your pet happy and healthy!