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

NameViru (Viranjini) Gopisetty, DVM

dr. gopisetty with chibita

dr. gopisetty with chibita

Your position: 2015-2016 intern

Favorite part of your job? Getting to cuddle with all kinds of doggies and kitties! I especially love the old, cranky ones.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: I grew up in India and moved to the U.S. in 2004, when I met my husband. I have always loved animals, but it was not till after I moved to the U.S. that I was exposed to really high-quality veterinary medicine. I did research at UCSF for a while before deciding to pursue my one true passion in life and was very happy when I got accepted to the DVM program at UC Davis. I could not be happier with my decision and love every day at work! I hope to someday go back to India to work with the stray animals there and bring back my knowledge and skills to attempt to make their lives a little better.

Viru Gopisetty

What do you most want to gain from your internship at SFVS? I want to learn as much as I can from all the wonderful clinicians at SFVS and really grow as a veterinarian. I truly believe in a holistic approach to animal health care and hope to incorporate that in my day-to-day practice. I am especially interested in the care of geriatric animals and their quality of life.

A patient you’ll never forget? A very sweet miniature schnauzer from my senior year at vet school. He was the best patient I’ve had; he always greeted me with kisses every morning even though he was a very sick boy. Sadly he is no longer with us, but he will always be in my thoughts.

Exciting new developments you’d like to share with pet parents? I have been working with a few veterinarians in the rapidly growing field of physical rehabilitation for dogs. My own dog does rehab every week for her arthritis. I am amazed at the results and would like to put it out there that there are several options for dogs in pain from chronic arthritis other than just pain medications. Some of the modalities I have worked with are cold laser therapy, underwater treadmill, at-home muscle strengthening exercises and acupuncture. I believe that these modalities help to improve the quality of life of senior pets, and it would be great if pet owners could incorporate some of these modalities into the care of their animals.

Any animal companions of your own? A wonderful old lady golden retriever. She is the love of my life (other than my husband of course!).

What do you enjoy doing outside work? I love gardening — I have a little organic garden on my patio. Someday I want to be able to grow my own food and have a little farm with donkeys, goats and of course lots of dogs and cats (all rescues!).

Favorite animal-related activity in the Bay Area? Going to the beach with my dog and hiking in the Marin Headlands.

What book is on your nightstand? Margaret Atwood’s Stone Mattress

Favorite TV show? I am a big fan of British murder mysteries on Netflix!

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Introducing Dr. Maria Soltero-Rivera! A board-certified dentist, she is partnering with Dr. Molly Zacher to offer dentistry and oral surgery services at SFVS Monday to Friday. Our dentistry team operates on referrals from primary care veterinarians.

dr. maria soltero-rivera

dr. maria soltero-rivera

With only about 150 board-certified veterinary dentists in the country, we’re excited to welcome one to the team here at SFVS. Dr. Soltero-Rivera looks forward to working with primary care veterinarians in the community, patients and clients.

More About Maria Soltero-Rivera, DVM, DAVDC
Dr. Maria Soltero-Rivera received her DVM from Cornell University. After that, she returned to her native Puerto Rico for a year-long small-animal surgical internship at Veterinary Specialty Hospital in San Juan, followed by a small-animal rotating internship at Long Island Veterinary Specialists. A board-certified veterinary dentist, she recently has spent her time lecturing at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, which is where she completed her residency in dentistry and oral surgery. Clinical interests include diagnosis and treatment of oral tumors and oral and maxillofacial trauma repair.

“The ability to make a significant impact in the health and quality of life of a pet and the way they interact with their human companions makes my profession the best!” – Dr. Soltero-Rivera 

Maria-Soltero-Rivera-boats

When not working, she can be found playing at the beach with her 2-year-old, Aurora; her husband, Bernardo; and their two Chihuahuas, Olivia and Pickles. She also loves cooking, reading and running. Maria can probably spill the beans on her famous brother’s magic tricks after all those years of being his lovely assistant.

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

Name: Andrew Espitia, DVM

Your position: 2015-2016 intern

dr. espitia with sookie

dr. espitia with sookie

Favorite part of your job? Procedures! I love having the chance to work with my hands to repair wounds, place sutures, and search for foxtails.

"On the internal medicine service, we use scopes to visualize and take biopsies of different parts of the GI tract!" -- Dr. Espitia

“On the internal medicine service, we use scopes to visualize and take biopsies of different parts of the GI tract!” — Dr. Espitia

Hometown: Fremont, California

Education: undergrad — UC Berkeley, major: molecular & cell biology with honors; vet school — UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine

Work background: I worked in SF as a veterinary assistant at the SF SPCA for several years before heading to veterinary school. I also spent some time working in research labs for alcohol addiction in humans.

I actually decided to work in the veterinary field during undergraduate school when a dorm floor-mate and I were discussing careers. We decided to become veterinarians on a whim! That floor-mate since became a human nurse, but I stuck to the plan and I’m so happy with where I am now!

What do you most want to gain from your internship at SFVS? Confidence with my medicine to provide the best and most practical care for my patients and their owners.

What does your work day entail? It varies with what service I’m on: It can range from seeing stacked ER cases to helping with surgeries to going out to the community to provide basic veterinary care for pets of the homeless.

Your work-related super power? I wish I could make several copies of myself so I could be in multiple places at once — that would be amazing!

Any animal companions of your own? I have an 8-year-old female spayed border collie at home who loves to sit around and watch YouTube with me! We’re a definite match.

What do you enjoy doing outside work? I enjoy working out — I make it a point to frequent the gym every day I have an hour or two free. I’m a big video game nerd and love playing when I get a chance. I also enjoy listening to Korean pop music.

What book is on your nightstand? I’m really bad at keeping up with books — I’m addicted to YouTube!

What’s in your music rotation right now? All Korean pop music

 

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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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