Michael J. Topper, DVM, PhD, DACVP

Immediate Past President

AVMA Officers
Biographical Summary

Dr. Michael (Mike) J. Topper is a board-certified veterinary pathologist. He retired in 2017 after serving 12 years as Director of Clinical Pathology at Merck Research Laboratories, Merck & Co., Inc., in West Point, PA. After graduation from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine in 1980, he entered the US Army Veterinary Corps. His distinguished career in the Veterinary Corps included positions of increasing responsibilities ranging from clinical care of privately-owned animals and military working dogs, food safety and security, laboratory animal medicine, and medical research and development. His last assignment was as Director, Division of Pathology, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Washington, DC and he retired as a Colonel in 2002.

During his military career, he completed a three-year residency in veterinary pathology at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Washington, DC, and a combined three-year clinical pathology residency and PhD program in pathology at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine. He is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists (ACVP).

Dr. Topper has been a leader in organized veterinary medicine in many capacities at the state and national levels. He served as an Executive Committee Member of the District of Columbia Veterinary Medical Association (DCVMA) for many years and then as President in 1996. He went on to represent the DCVMA in the AVMA House of Delegates (HOD) from 2000 to 2005. Upon moving to Pennsylvania, he was elected by the Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association (PVMA) to serve as their representative in the HOD from 2007 to 2016, and also served on the PVMA Executive Committee and Board of Trustees. Dr. Topper was elected to the HOD’s House Advisory Committee in 2010 and served six years culminating as Chair in 2015. He has served on other AVMA committees in leadership positions to include the Governance Performance Review Committee, the Member Services Committee, and the Veterinary Leadership Planning Committee. He was a member of Veterinary Medical Assistance Team 2 and the National Veterinary Response Team 2 for over ten years. Dr. Topper was also very active with the ACVP. He served as Secretary-Treasurer (2010-2014), Councilor (2007-2009), Newsletter Editor (2001-2006), and as Chair of the Student Chapter Committee (2001-2005). He is an active member of the American Society of Veterinary Clinical Pathology, the Society of Toxicologic Pathology, and the American Association of Industrial Veterinarians.

In addition to the AVMA, ACVP, PVMA and DCVMA, Dr. Topper has been an active member of the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine Alumni Association. He served as a member of the Executive Board from 2004 to 2014, and President from 2010 to 2012. He was named as a Distinguished Alumnus in 2010. He has also served as a trustee of Eta Chapter, Omega Tau Sigma veterinary fraternity since 2000. He is active in his community, and serves as Chair, Board of Managers for the Indian Valley YMCA and as a member of the Board of Directors for the North Penn YMCA.

Dr. Topper has been married to his wife Kimberly, since 1976. Kimberly has also been very engaged in the support of veterinary medicine. She has served as President of the Auxiliary to the AVMA, President of the DCVMA Auxiliary, and Executive Director of the DCVMA. Currently, she serves as a director on the American Veterinary Medical Foundation and the Pennsylvania Veterinary Foundation. They have one very loved and spoiled cat, Beadie Boy, born 10 April 2006.