Mike Bannasch, BS, RVT

Program Coordinator

Michael Bannasch, BS, RVT has served as UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program coordinator since the program’s inception in January of  2000.  

Mike began his veterinary career in earnest at the age of 15 working as veterinary assistant, groomer, kennel manager, and janitor at a family owned veterinary clinic outside of Detroit, Michigan.  Mike moved to the Washington D.C. area in 1991 where he worked as a veterinary emergency and critical care technician at a state of the art specialty practice while completing his undergraduate degree in Biology at George Mason University.  Upon graduation Mike accepted a one-year position with the National Institutes of Health, Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NIHLBI) where he served as a research assistant on various projects including the investigation into the genetic causes of familial hypertension and atherosclerosis.

In 1998 Mike moved to Davis to accept a 75% position in the UC Davis  Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital's Small Animal ICU.   In addition to his position in the ICU Mike worked in Dr. Niels Pedersen’s laboratory along side UC Davis’ first veterinary genetics resident Danika Meltallinos, DVM, PhD.  Together, Danika and Mike published papers on the evolution of the Y chromosome in dogs and on hyperuricosuria,- a genetic condition of significance in the  Dalmatian  dog.  In January 2000 Mike accepted the position of program coordinator of the world's first shelter medicine residency program. In 2001 Mike and Danika were married and they continue to reside happily together on their hop and barley farm along side one remarkable small boy and  too many fish, dogs, chickens, ducks and hopefully one day soon too many sheep, goats and pigs!

Mike sought out the position of program coordinator primarily because of the two very special dogs he adopted from animal shelters. Mike selected Gretchen in 1984 and Gromit in 1994 from two different shelters in vastly different parts of the county.  Upon adoption, both dogs had to overcome significant shelter acquired disease.  Gromit's condition was so severe that he required hospitalization for several days post adoption.  Fortunately, both dogs recovered and went on to become vital family members.  Gretchen was eventually kidnaped by Mike’s parents and forced against her will to live   her remaining years chasing rabbits and sleeping by the fire of a northern Michigan lakeside cottage.   Gromit went on to become a world-class multi-state torturer of all members of the US Postal service, and was elected California dog of the year an unprecedented 10 years in a row. Gromit removed himself from the running for this exclusive award on November the 6th, 2009 in a day that will live in infamy.  California has since retired the award in deference to his greatness.   

Mike understands the pivotal role that veterinarians play in maintaining the physical and mental wellbeing of sheltered animals.  As program coordinator Mike works with students, faculty, and residents  to provide world-class training in the field of shelter medicine.  Mike co-authored a chapter on infectious disease in the first ever textbook on shelter medicine for use by veterinarians and staff.  In addition Mike has co-authored several papers on infectious disease in animal shelters.   As a front line team member Mike is often the first point of contact for shelter’s seeking assistance with emergency shelter population management issues and for shelter professionals seeking the latest information on improving the long term health and well being of homeless animals.   

Mike is dedicated to the team mission to continually increase the number of homeless animals leaving shelters alive and healthy while simultaneously working to end the supply! 

Contrary to popular legend, Mike is not a doctor.

Selected Publications: 


Drazenovich TL, Fascetti AJ, Westermeyer HD, Sykes JE, Bannasch MJ, Kass PH, Hurley KF, Maggs DJ.
Effects of dietary lysine supplementation on upper respiratory and ocular disease and detection of infectious organisms in cats within an animal shelter.
Am J Vet Res. 2009 Nov;70(11):1391-400.

PA Pesavento, KF Hurley, Bannasch MJ, S. Artiushin, and JF Timoney
A Clonal Outbreak of Acute Fatal Hemorrhagic Pneumonia in Intensively Housed (Shelter) Dogs Caused by Streptococcus equi subsp.zooepidemicus
Vet Pathol 45:51–53 (2008)

Pesavento, PA , Bannasch MJ, Bachmann R, Byrne BA, Hurley KF.
Fatal Streptococcus canis Infections in Intensively Housed Shelter Cats.
Vet Pathol. 2007 Mar;44(2):218-21.

Bannasch DL, Bannasch MJ, Ryun JR, Famula TR, Pedersen NC.
Y chromosome haplotype analysis in purebred dogs.
Mamm Genome. 2005 Apr;16(4):273-80.

Bannasch, MJ, Foley, JE
Epidemiologic evaluation of multiple respiratory pathogens in cats in animal shelters
J Feline Med Surg. 2005 Apr;7(2):109-19.

Bannasch DL, Ryun JR, Bannasch MJ, Schaible RH, Breen M, Ling G.
Exclusion of galectin 9 as a candidate gene for hyperuricosuria in the Dalmatian dog.
Anim Genet. 2004 Aug;35(4):326-8.

Lynelle R. Johnson, DVM, PhD, DACVIM,Heather E. Clarke, BS, Michael J Bannasch, BS, Hilde E. De Cock, DVM, PhD, DACVP
Correlation of Rhinoscopic signs of inflammation with histologic findings in nasal biopsy specimens of cats with or without upper respiratory disease
JAVMA, Vol 255, No. 3, August 1, 2004

Foley, JE, Bannasch, Michael. (2004) Infectious Diseases of Dogs and Cats. In Miller, Lila & Zawistowski, Shelter Medicine for Veterinarians and Staff (1st ed., pp. 235-284). Ames, IA

Foley JE, Rand C, Bannasch MJ, Norris CR, Milan J.
Molecular epidemiology of feline bordetellosis in two animal shelters in California, USA. Prev Vet Med. 2002 Jun 25;54(2):141-56.