Dr. Wright, whose career included work at zoos in Philadelphia, Miami, Phoenix and Washington, D.C., owned Wright Bird and Exotic Pet House Calls, a mobile practice based in Mesa, Ariz. The practice had just passed its one-year anniversary when he died.
A 1988 graduate of the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, Wright co-authored the 2001 manual "Amphibian Medicine and Captive Husbandry” and was credited with more than 300 scientific and nonscientific articles on exotic pet medicine. He contributed to Reptiles magazine, a sister publication of Veterinary Practice News.
He was named Exotic DVM of the Year in 2008 and was a two-time Exotic Speaker of the Year at the North American Veterinary Conference.
Wright shared clients with Todd Driggers, DVM, who operates the Avian and Exotic Animal Clinic in Gilbert, Ariz.
"If he needed to borrow my surgical suite, I made that available to him,” Dr. Driggers said. "I started out in mobile practice, so I identified where he was at.”
Driggers learned a lot from Wright through their interaction and his papers.
"He was spontaneous and intelligent,” Driggers said. "He gave great lectures and had keen insights into things. He forced you to think about things in ways you hadn’t thought of before.”
Wright had preceptorships at the National Zoo and at Miami Metrozoo before entering private practice in Miami. He later served as curator of the Philadelphia Zoo’s amphibian and reptile collection and as an adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania department of clinical sciences.
Moving to Arizona, he worked at the Phoenix Zoo and co-founded Arizona Exotic Animal Hospital, which he left to start his mobile practice.
He is survived by his wife, Marlene.
The couple had no children, "unless you consider skinks and tortoises and whatnot,” Driggers said.
Wright confirmed as much in a profile he wrote for the website iFrog.
"My wife and I share our home with a rabbit, three parrots, owl finches, snakes, lizards, toads, tarantulas, darkling beetles and a sheltie,” he stated.
A memorial service is scheduled for Nov. 9 in Phoenix. Details were pending.