At the graduation party her family hosted for her when Dr. Erica Tolar received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree (DVM), from the University of Illinois’ College of Veterinary Medicine, a party attendee said to her, “When did you know that you wanted to become a veterinarian?” Unhesitatingly Dr. Tolar responded, “I really can’t remember ever wanting to be anything else but a veterinarian!” Her very first love of animals were of course for her family’s menagerie of cats, dogs, ferrets, birds, and fish. However, a new animal passion was ignited when she was only seven years old. That was when Dr. Tolar took her first riding lesson and that was when her true and lasting passion for horses and all things equestrian began. Eventually, she and her family moved to a large horse boarding and training farm in the Chicago suburbs. Dr. Tolar has continued riding American Saddlebreds almost daily since that very first childhood riding lesson, and she has shown Saddlebred horses competitively across the Midwest and Kentucky. Some of her awards and titles include: Reserve World Champion Country Pleasure Driving-Driver Thirty years and Younger, World Champion American Hackney Horse Society Youth Medallion Hackney-Harness Pony Pleasure Driving, and World Grand Champion American Saddlebred Three Gaited Country Pleasure Jr. Exhibitor Championship.
Dr. Tolar’s journey to become the founder, owner, and chief of staff of Bluegrass Veterinary Vision was in itself visionary! Visionary because it required her undertaking long and uncompromising educational and professional paths targeted towards providing extraordinary and advanced animal ophthalmology care. The educational journey in itself required many years of study, highly placed internships, participation in diverse research programs, and an intellectual curiosity that is surpassed only by her fierce work ethic. Dr. Tolar’s education includes: BS degree from Lewis University, BS and DVM degrees with highest honors from University of Illinois, Internship University of Tennessee, Ophthalmology Residency University of Illinois; and finally the distinction of becoming a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists. Dr. Tolar’s professional expertise and reputation in small animal and equine corneal diseases has led to her being invited to speak at many veterinary conferences in the USA, and Germany. Dr. Tolar has been published in several major veterinary journals including: the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, and the Equine Veterinary Journal. Dr. Tolar is a member of: American Veterinary Association (AVMA), American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists, International Equine Consortium, Kentucky Veterinary Medical Association, Greater Louisville Veterinary Medical Association, American Saddlebred Horse Association; American Sloughi Association.
Dr. Tolar has 3 Sloughi dogs, 4 American Saddlebred horses, and a bare eyed cockatoo. She volunteers her time with the Louisville Zoo where she is a member of the Foundation Board. In this volunteer role with the zoo she has worked on many species including: a lion, snow leopard, orangutan, babirusa, ferret, python, flamingo, swan, bongo antelope, sea lions, grey seals, polar bear, Colorado River toad, wallaby, tiger, gorilla, emerald dove, fruit dove, red tailed green rat snake, screech owl, and a tree frog...to name a few! In her spare time, Dr. Tolar enjoys both cooking and baking with her specialties being smoked ribs, waffles, and carrot cake. She also loves to travel domestically and internationally, and has been to 5 of the 7 continents of the world.