About Dr. Vanderlip

Dr. Sharon Vanderlip is a veterinarian who has provided veterinary care to domestic and exotic animals for 40 years. A frequent guest on radio and television, Dr. Vanderlip has received awards for her dedication to animal care.



  • Dr. Vanderlip has written more than 20 books, numerous articles on animal care, and authored peer-reviewed articles published in scientific journals.
  • Dr. Vanderlip’s books provide detailed information on the natural history, health care, housing, nutrition, intelligence, training, and reproduction of domestic and exotic mammals.


  • Dr. Vanderlip’s practice focuses on veterinary reproductive medicine and surgery for domestic and exotic mammals, including methods to improve animal health and fertility and eliminate genetic disorders.
  • Dr. Vanderlip has served as consultant for universities and research institutions and conducted seminars worldwide.


  • Dr. Vanderlip served as veterinarian for the University of California San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine. During this time she collaborated on research projects with UCSD, the San Diego Zoo, The Salk Institute, and Cornell University focusing on animal reproduction.
  • Dr. Vanderlip and co-researchers were the first to successfully induce estrus in non-ovulating canines using pulsatile GnRH and to publish results. Techniques and methods from this research were later used to help other animal species, including cheetahs, to successfully produce offspring.
  • Dr. Vanderlip has worked with a variety of rare and endangered species. She established a care and nutrition protocol which led to the first successful births in captivity of endangered Chinese Pangolins Manis pentadactyla . Data from Dr. Vanderlip’s publications and her pangolin photographs appear in scientific journals and books, including Walker’s Mammals of the World and Zoo and Wild Animal Medicine.

Preservation and importation of exotic equines

  • Chinese Pangolin Manis pentadactyla

    Dr. Vanderlip brought worldwide attention and public awareness to the plight of the endangered Poitou Ass and Mulassier Draft horse when she pioneered the importation of these rare animals into the United States from France in 1984 and 1985.

  • Dr. Vanderlip’s work and importations made world news when she  loaned her animals for display at the San Diego Zoo in 1984 and 1985, where they attracted several thousands of admirers and mass media coverage.

Humane legislation

  • Dr. Vanderlip worked with Senator Pete Wilson, Head of the Senate Agricultural Committee; and Dr. Werner Heuschele of the San Diego Zoo; to bring about needed updates, changes, and improvements in United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) equine disease testing methods. Their efforts resulted in USDA regulation changes to update disease testing methods in order to prevent the needless euthanasia of healthy imported equines that had false health test results.
  • Dr. Vanderlip’s leadership in promoting modern equine disease testing procedures and launching Poitou Ass preservation projects made it possible for zoological societies and private individuals to successfully import Poitou Asses, Chinese Kiangs, and other rare, endangered, and exotic equine species into the United States.

Rare breed preservation and advances in reproductive medicine

  • Dr. Vanderlip produced the first purebred Poitou Asses (1988, 1989) and the first Poitou Mule (1989) born in the world as a result of artificial insemination. These semen collections and artificial inseminations were performed by Dr. Vanderlip. “Sonette”, the first pure-bred mammoth Poitou Ass imported into the United States, is shown at six months of age with Sharon Vanderlip, owner.


Selected Awards

  • Dr. Vanderlip received the Prix Angelique award from the Courier de l’Oest, Poitou-Charentes, for bringing notoriety to that region of France and recognition to the plight of the endangered Poitou Ass.
  • The University of California School of Medicine awarded Dr. Vanderlip for her work and dedication to the humane care of animals.
  • The San Diego County Department of Animal Services gave Dr. Vanderlip a Certificate of Merit for providing medical care and surgical services to homeless shelter animals.
  • Dr. Vanderlip received the Annual Distinguished Service Award from The Collie Review in 1985, awarded to the person voted to have done the most for the benefit and improvement of the Collie breed.


  • Clinical Veterinarian for the University of California at San Diego, School of Medicine and researcher and collaborator in reproductive medicine with the Zoological Society of San Diego, the Salk Institute, and Cornell University (1981-1989)
  • Veterinary consultant for various research institutions, including The Salk Institute and Scripps Research Institute. Dr. Vanderlip also served as a surgical consultant for surgical equipment companies, helping train physicians in endoscopy and  the use of endoscopic equipment (1981-1994)
  • Owner and director of a general practice with emphasis on reproductive medicine and surgery (1990-1994)
  • Chief of Veterinary Services for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) (1994)
  • Consultant in canine reproduction for the Department of Comparative Medicine at Stanford University (1994)
  • Chief of Surgery at a major national research center, specializing in reproductive surgery (1995)
  • Owner and director of a practice dedicated exclusively to reproductive medicine and surgery for domestic and exotic mammalian species (1996 to present).
  • Director of an International Canine Semen Bank (2001 to 2016).

Recognition in books

  • In his book, Death of a Rat, genetics professor emeritus, Dr. William Stansfield, acknowledges Dr. Vanderlip for her humane care of animals and her professionalism while she served as Chief of Veterinary Services for NASA.
  • In Guy Fourre’s book, Ca N’existe Pas Ailleurs Qu’En Poitou-Charentes et Vendee, a chapter is written about Dr. Vanderlip and her successful efforts to save the Poitou Ass from extinction.
  • In Malcome B. Willis’ book, Genetics of the Dog, Dr. Vanderlip is recognized for her excellent studies and articles on the evolution of the Collie skull.


  • Dr. Vanderlip has raised rough Collies since 1977 under the name of Rainshade Collies. Dr. Vanderlip’s Collies were the first worldwide to produce offspring from chilled and frozen semen. Dr. Vanderlip’s Rainshade Collies are world renowned for their beauty, abilities, and genetic health clearances. www.rainshadecollies.com


  • When Dr. Vanderlip is not practicing veterinary medicine or writing books, you will find her visiting with her family, playing with her Collies, riding her spotted mule, or playing her bagpipes performing with her bagpipe band.

Email Dr. Vanderlip to schedule a seminar or veterinary services, or for consulting services.