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Introducing the “Veterinary 8,” our largest intern class ever. We’ve been thinking we “should’ve had a V8” for a while now (haha) … and we are so happy they have arrived! The V8 interns look forward to working with clients, patients and members of the Bay Area veterinary community during their time here. Read a little about the new interns below:

 


 

dr. espitia with sookie

dr. espitia with sookie

1-Dr. Andrew Espitia graduated with his DVM from the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in 2015. Before vet school, he was a research assistant in various labs at UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco, and also worked as a veterinary assistant in general and emergency practice for two and a half years at the SF SPCA. Dr. Espitia was vice president of his class at UC Davis and involved with the Feline Medicine Club, Canine Medicine Club and SVECCS. He is interested in emergency medicine and looks forward to working in the fast-paced environment at VCA SFVS. In his spare time, Andrew enjoys exercising at the gym, spending time with his couch potato border collie, and shopping for new and exciting bow ties.

 


 

dr. gopisetty with chibita

dr. gopisetty with chibita

2-Dr. Viru (Viranjini) Gopisetty is a 2015 graduate of the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. Originally from India, she moved the San Francisco Bay Area in 2004 and worked as a research coordinator at the UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine before she decided to go back to school to earn her DVM. She volunteered at the SF SPCA and the SF Children’s Zoo before vet school. Dr. Gopisetty is passionate about geriatric medicine and shelter medicine, and she hopes to work internationally in the future. In her free time, Viru loves organic gardening, cooking, watching independent movies, and going to the beach with her husband, Sri, and their wonderful golden retriever, Sasha.

 


 

dr. johnston with sid

dr. johnston with sid

3-Dr. Claire Johnston grew up in Humboldt County and attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where she received her B.S. in animal science in 2011. She graduated from Western University of Health Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine in May 2015 and is excited to continue her studies at VCA SFVS and pursue her interest in internal medicine. Not only does Dr. Johnston enjoy small-animal medicine, but she also loves working with cows and horses. In her free time, Claire enjoys baking (particularly cupcakes), hiking and traveling, and she is currently working on acquiring her scuba certification.

 


 

dr. johnston with henry

dr. johnston with henry

4-Dr. Jayson Johnston was born on the sunny island of Guam and grew up in the overcast city of Seattle. He graduated from the University of Washington in 2011, where he studied biology and aquatic and fishery sciences. Next was veterinary school, which took him to the greater LA area, where he graduated from Western University of Health Sciences in 2015 with his DVM. Dr. Johnston is interested in internal medicine, ophthalmology, pain management and exotics. Outside the hospital, Jayson enjoys camping, cooking, flipping large rocks in tide pools, cutting his sandwiches diagonally and, most importantly, Sunday Funday.

 


 

dr. rogers with mojito

dr. rogers with mojito

5-Dr. Erika Rogers was born and raised in Lima, Peru, where she obtained her veterinary degree in 2007. She moved to San Francisco in 2008 to continue her education with a focus on small-animal medicine. She was a veterinary technician for a few local practices in the city while working on validating her license through the American Association of Veterinary State Boards Program for the Assessment of Veterinary Education Equivalence (AAVSB PAVE). In the unique position of being a practicing veterinarian in Peru, Dr. Rogers only needed to complete one year at Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine to obtain her DVM license in the United States. Dr. Rogers has a professional interest in internal medicine, cardiology, dentistry and dermatology, and looks forward to studying these topics while at VCA SFVS. In her free time, Erika enjoys helping her husband develop and promote his start-up company, as well as hiking, wine tasting, and lounging at home with her cat, Jasper, and dog, Mojito.

 


 

dr. silverman with rufus

dr. silverman with rufus

6-Dr. Lauren Silverman is a 2015 graduate of Western University of Health Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine. Originally from Mountain View, she received her B.S. from Cal Poly Pomona with a major in animal science. Dr. Silverman is excited to be back in the Bay Area and to have the opportunity to enjoy and explore the beautiful city of San Francisco. She is thrilled to spend her first year out of school at VCA SFVS to pursue her interests in internal medicine, dermatology and neurology. In her free time, Lauren enjoys playing ultimate frisbee, biking around the city, and admiring the beautiful view of San Francisco from Bernal Heights with her 6-year-old mutt, Rufus.

 


 

dr. wallace with ziggy

dr. wallace with ziggy

7-Dr. Sarah Wallace was born and raised in the great state of New Hampshire (“Live Free or Die”). She attended Lafayette College (“Cur Non?”) in Easton, Pennsylvania, to attain her B.S. in biology. In May 2015, she graduated from Western University of Health Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine. In her free time, Sarah enjoys playing with her blind flame point Siamese cat named Sonar, quilting and reading. Sarah can’t cook to save her life but loves Mexican food. Sometimes her dreams are set to the theme song from the show Twin Peaks, and, someday, she would like to ride a bike down US-1 from Maine to Florida if she can find a comfortable enough bike seat.

 


 

dr. wong with tiramisu

dr. wong with tiramisu

8-Dr. Jessica Wong was born and raised in beautiful San Francisco. She attended UC Santa Cruz, where she received her B.S. in neuroscience and behavior. She got her start with animals while volunteering at the local zoo and shelters before heading down to LA for veterinary school at Western University of Health Sciences. Dr. Wong is excited to continue her studies at VCA SFVS and pursue her interests in emergency medicine, shelter medicine and exotic companion animal medicine. In her free time, she loves cooking, baking and trying new foods with friends. She also enjoys hiking with her furry friend, Tiramisu, or relaxing at home with her ball python, Egg Tart.

Patient Story: Arnie

We met the adventurous Arnie when he needed surgery … after he’d jumped out his 4th floor window onto Geary on a Tuesday night! Arnie is quite the trooper, and we are happy to report that he is recovering nicely after this very scary experience.

arnie before his big night

arnie before his big night

Arnie’s human companion, Tiffany, shares a little more about Arnie and his high-flying adventure:

I adopted Arnie from the SPCA here in SF in May 2014. I knew he was the kitty for me when I walked into his cage and he came up to me and bit me.

Arnie loves to run pell-mell through the apartment, knocking things over as he does so. He’s a real hell-raiser. He also really enjoys eating houseplants. He protects me from the pigeons outside by keeping a very close eye on them. I suspect he thinks he will one day catch one. He has a LOT of kitten in him still, so he’s into everything. … He’s a very good boy though, very sweet when he wants to be. I call him my little Puddin’ Pie.

roar!

roar!

He doesn’t care for people food, at all, except for tuna of course. And sometimes spinach. He’s a weirdo. He LOVES playing in the bathtub after I take a shower. Takes toys in there and rolls around and has a general grand time of it.

He styles himself as quite the gangster, and is very tough and scary :)

More about that fateful night and the aftermath:

While I was in the kitchen, he pushed the screen out of the window (a custom screen I made, mind you) and jumped out the 4th floor window.

I ran onto Geary in my pjs, with no shoes on, screaming his name. Luckily some bystanders had seen him hide under a parked car and directed me to him.

I immediately took him to the emergency vet … The next day they had me transfer him to VCA, as he had badly broken both bones in his front leg, in several places. They said it was a complicated case.

Luckily, he only dislocated his jaw and they had been able to re-align it overnight. Dr. Watt was able to operate on him that day, thankfully. He now has “hardware” as they call it … pins/plates in his arm. Poor little guy is a real trooper.

the bear can wear the cone

the bear can wear the cone

The first night I brought him home was pretty rough — I really didn’t get to sleep, but he quickly got better and was able to get around on his own and eat and drink on his own.

sleeping it off

sleeping it off

He’s much better now and rarin’ to go! He wants OUT of the front room where I have been keeping him so he can’t jump up on things. He also wants to keep an eagle eye on those pigeons :)

i see you, pigeons

i see you, pigeons

Advice for other pet parents:

Screens do not keep motivated cats in. Lesson learned. My next step is to reinforce them with chicken wire and attach them to the wall with screws and hooks so that they cannot be moved by anyone but me. Also, I now have pet insurance.

Highly recommend VCA and Dr. Watt and Naomi. They have really provided excellent care and have been available for all my anxious questions.

Many thanks to Tiffany for sharing Arnie’s story and photos with us! We wish Arnie all the best and hope he is satisfied to just enjoy the view from now on.

Patient Story: Gus

Today’s patient story features the amazing … Gus!

bird-watching!

bird-watching!

This affectionate kitty came to SFVS with an obstructed, fluid-filled space in his brain, which resulted in fluid backing up and compressing his brain tissue. This caused Gus to have seizures and undergo a behavioral change.

SFVS veterinary neurologist Dr. Lisa Klopp used our onsite MRI to diagnose this condition. She then treated Gus by making a burr hole into his brain and letting the fluid drip out to equilibrate pressure.

We are so happy to report that Gus is now doing well!

Shannon, his human companion, shares a little more about this special guy:

Gus (or Gussie or even Guster if you prefer) is just a good-natured fellow. Never one to hiss and always one to cuddle, he is a vital part of our family.

ready for work

lookin’ sharp, gus!

Gus loves to chase his feather toy and will carry the pole up and down the stairs meowing at a rather high volume until we put down what we are doing and play. He also loves to watch the birds out the window and loves to partake in each and every tuna-flavored meal.

cuddles, please.

cuddles, please.

At only 2.5 years old, he has had all the pampering and love a kitty deserves, but unfortunately also a rough medical journey. With the care and skill of Dr. Lisa Klopp, we are lucky to be able to spend more precious years with Gus. We are so thankful for her and the rest of the VCA team that have taken such good care of Gus.

Thanks to Shannon for sharing these photos and background on Gus. We are very grateful for our clients and patients! Have fun with that feather toy, Gus.

Would you like your dog or cat to be featured in our Patient Stories series? Please email us for information. We look forward to hearing from you.

Learn a little more about the veterinarians and staff at VCA SFVS in our staff spotlight series!

Name: Melissa Bucknoff, DVM

Your position: Criticalist

dr. bucknoff with a courageous feline friend

dr. bucknoff with a courageous feline friend

When did you join VCA SFVS? October 2014

Favorite part of your job? I love working with people who love animals.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: I was born and raised on the East Coast, and I’m enjoying exploring SF, my new home. I love to travel and read. An afternoon on the beach with my dogs and a book is my favorite place to be.

What does your work day entail? My days are spent working with critically ill patients that are hospitalized at SFVS, as well as those that come in through the ER. (Learn more about emergency/critical care at SFVS.)

I’m also here to support sicker patients that undergo anesthetic procedures; I assist with pre- and post-procedure monitoring and care. I work closely with the other specialists at SFVS in a collaborative manner to provide the optimal diagnostic and treatment plans for our patients. The days can be unpredictable, which means there is never a dull moment, and always more to learn!

The patient you’ll never forget? The patients I never forget are the ones that teach lessons you can’t find in books and have changed the way I approach the next patient that may have a similar problem. These patients teach me things I can’t hear with just my stethoscope. Often, these are the same patients that have beaten the odds and have a good outcome.

Favorite patient success story? One of the most memorable cases I’ve managed since I’ve been at SFVS was a young cat, who had a string stuck under her tongue. That string had torn through several segments of intestine, causing her to have a grim prognosis and require intensive management for almost two weeks in the hospital. Against the odds, she went on to make a complete recovery, which is a testament to what the right amount of dedication from owners and medical caregivers can accomplish. On paper, this cat shouldn’t have survived. This case also brought every one of her doctors, nurses and support staff together as a team.

Your work-related super power? I’m told I am able to maintain focus in a crisis, and I do enjoy multitasking in the midst of a busy work environment. But I don’t wear a cape or anything ;)

Any animal companions of your own? Tessa, the one-eyed Shih Tzu, and Tramp, my Carolina hound dog mix. Having pets makes us better caregivers because we have all been on the other side of the medicine at some point.

tessa and tramp!

tessa and tramp!

What do you enjoy doing outside work? I love going to the beach with my dogs and reading rock biographies. I also enjoy attending both veterinary and human medical conferences to network and keep up with emerging research and technology. There is so much we have in common with our human medical counterparts, and it is an exciting time for this type of collaboration. (Read more about the One Health initiative.)

kisses!

kisses!

What are you currently reading? Wild Tales, a biography on Graham Nash

What’s in your music rotation right now? I like a variety of music … classic rock, British rock, folk rock and Broadway show stoppers, whatever the mood calls for.

Favorite TV show? The Mindy Project (which I feel may be loosely based on my life); The West Wing, a classic favorite. I saw the Puppy Bowl this year, which is apparently a Super Bowl for dogs, but instead of footballs they take squeaky toys into the end zone!

Dermatology Is Back!

We are excited to welcome the return of dermatology services at VCA SFVS with the arrival of Laura Wilson, DVM, DACVD. Starting May 5, Dr. Wilson will be at our hospital Tuesdays to Fridays. She looks forward to working with the primary care veterinarians in our community and meeting patients and clients!

dr. laura wilson with her pooches, bailey and talulah

dr. laura wilson with her pooches, bailey and talulah

Read more about Dr. Wilson:

A native Californian, Dr. Laura Wilson received her veterinary degree from the University of California, Davis in 2006, where she developed a love for dermatology. She completed her dermatology residency in the high-paced private practice atmosphere of the Animal Dermatology Clinic in Tustin, California. Dr. Wilson is passionate about all things dermatology, especially getting to know her clients and working with them to provide the best short- and long-term plans to remedy their pets’ dermatologic diseases. She loves the challenge of tailoring treatment plans that a pet will tolerate at home, keeping in mind any emotional, financial or physical limitations of the client. Dr. Wilson is a team player, both with her veterinary colleagues … and on the volleyball court! She was a Division I varsity volleyball player and track team member at the College of William & Mary, and continues to be as active as she can. When not treating dermatologic diseases, she loves to mountain bike cross country, practice Pilates and yoga, stand-up paddle board, and restore her 1965 Volvo.

Patient Story: CheChe

Today’s patient story features CheChe, a little guy with big courage and a huge heart. CheChe has IMHA, short for immune-mediated hemolytic anemia. Below, his human companion Tricia shares his story.

From Tricia:

CheChe came into our life over nine years ago. He’s a smart little buddy who enjoys eating, first and foremost. He’s fiercely loyal to his family and feels strongly about order and will give you a loud bark to remind you if you’re breaking one of his house rules.

don't break any of cheche's house rules!

don’t break any of cheche’s house rules!

Over three years ago, CheChe was diagnosed with IMHA, a difficult-to-treat blood disease. Miraculously our little guy survived a difficult round of blood transfusions, numerous drug combinations and many nights in the hospital.

Sadly CheChe was hit with another hemolytic episode in the summer of 2014. Our regular vet told us that this time we should see a specialist and was very concerned that CheChe could not beat the odds, not this time.

Luckily we met Dr. Winnie Ybarra at VCA SFVS. Dr. Ybarra immediately changed Chech’s drug treatment and we started the long process.

Dr. Ybarra’s instincts, experience and ability to communicate the various options clearly to us no doubt saved CheChe’s life. We learned how to check his heart rate from home and became pros at detecting a possible turn of events. She was sensitive to CheChe’s 6-pound size, managing drugs amounts to fit his tiny frame.

cheche with hiro, his loyal partner in crime

cheche with hiro, his loyal partner in crime

Today Chech is still on drugs and may continue for the rest of his life, but he’s strong and happy, eating as fiercely as ever and showing no signs of drug reactions.

IMHA is a difficult disease, but VCA SFVS has given us the best shot possible.

cheche2

cutest reindeer

Many thanks to Tricia for sharing these photos and CheChe’s story with us. Dr. Ybarra and the staff here are honored to be on sweet CheChe’s care team!

Related resource:

Would you like your dog or cat to be featured in our Patient Stories series? Please email us for information. We look forward to hearing from you.

Learn a little more about the veterinarians and staff at VCA SFVS in our staff spotlight series!

Name: Naomi Mansfield

Your position and department: Service coordinator for the surgery department

When did you join VCA SFVS? January 2007

Favorite part of your job? My favorite part of my job is getting to cuddle with adorable dogs and cats all day, and getting to decorate their casts.

naomi with a guide dogs puppy who came in for an orthopedic exam

naomi with a guide dogs puppy who came in for an orthopedic exam

Tell us a little bit about yourself: I grew up in Arizona. We always had a lot of animals growing up. When I was very young we had a farm, and when we gave up our farm we still had 11 animals around the house — dogs, chinchillas, birds, a rabbit, a hamster and a ferret. I have always loved animals more than anything and knew from a very young age that I wanted to work with them.

Aside from my passion for animals, I love to draw. I spend most of my free time using the program MS Paint to create what I call Bitcats, in which I draw the beloved pets of my friends interacting in whimsical environments. They can be seen at http://www.bitcats.tumblr.com/

What does your work day entail? Most of my job revolves around preparing people for what to expect before, during and after a pet’s surgery. I create all of the instructions for at-home care and act as the go-to person for any questions that pet parents have during the process.

The patient you’ll never forget? Mojo, a very sweet boxer who comes in to see us

Favorite patient success story? There is a dog name Maya that was going to have to have an amputation due to a very large wound on her leg. Dr. Phil Watt was amazingly able to repair the wound with a skin graft, and after extensive bandaging to protect the wound, it completely healed and she did not have to have an amputation!

Your work-related super power? Bandage art. I love creating little cartoons on the casts of dogs and cats who have surgery.

Alice

naomi created this cast for a kitty named alice! (“oh my ears and whiskers …”)

 

more "naomi originals," shared by dr. hammer

more “naomi originals,” shared by dr. hammer

Any animal companions of your own? I have an 8-year-old grey cat named Banjo that I’ve had since he was a kitten. He is very sassy and always wears a little bandana around his neck.

What do you enjoy doing outside work? Drawing and spending time with my wonderful friends. I also volunteer with the penguins at the Academy of Sciences.

What are you currently reading? The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

What’s in your music rotation right now? I really love old Jamaican ska and rocksteady.

Favorite TV show? Once Upon A Time

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