What is a Veterinary Specialist?
Just as in human medicine, some doctors choose to pursue higher education by specializing in a specific area of interest. To become a board-certified specialist veterinarian, these doctors had to complete a minimum of a one year-internship or equivalent training, and three to four years of intensive residency training in their specialty after they have completed vet school. In addition, to become a specialist, the veterinarians must successfully pass a rigorous series of examinations.
Department Quick Links
Dr. Domenico Bianco, DVM, Ph.D., DACVIM, Head of Internal Medicine Department
Dr. Bianco graduated in 1998 from the University of Torino (Italy) and completed a Ph.D. program in 2002 at the same institution. He met the requirements for practicing as a veterinarian in the United States in 2003 at Purdue University. He did his rotating internship in small animal medicine and surgery at the University of Columbia-Missouri, his residency in small animal internal medicine at the University of Minnesota, and became a diplomate at the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine in 2008. He authored several publications in peer-reviewed journals and lectured at many international meetings.
He loves all aspects of small animal internal medicine and his research is focused on hematology, coagulation, and immune-mediated diseases. His clinical interests include gastroenterology, nasal and pulmonary diseases, endocrinology, hepatology, nephrology, urology, and pancreatic diseases. He is skilled in abdominal ultrasonography, thoracic ultrasonography, laparoscopic biopsy techniques, gastroduodenoscopy, colonoscopy, rhinoscopy, tracheo-bronchoscopy, cystoscopy, vaginoscopy, bone marrow evaluation, and tracheal/urethral stenting.
He spends his free time with his family, friends, as much as he can. He loves going to the beach, playing soccer, alpine skiing, swimming, tennis, and travelling back home to Italy and any other fun places to discover.
Dr. Eloise Stikeman, BVMS, Practice Limited to Internal Medicine
Dr. Stikeman was born and raised in Toronto, Canada and received her undergraduate degree from the University of Toronto. She moved to Perth, Australia to attend veterinary school at Murdoch University and was a founding executive and President of the Murdoch Animal Welfare Society. Following graduation, she undertook a rotating medical and surgical internship at a private specialty practice in Connecticut before moving inside the Beltway to work as a generalist for two years. Drawn by a fascination of Internal Medicine’s unique ability to answer (almost) any question, she moved to Texas to pursue a specialty internship and subsequent Residency at the Center for Veterinary Specialty + Emergency Care. Dr. Stikeman has successfully completed all board examinations and is awaiting publication of her research paper to attain board-certification.
Dr. Stikeman is extensively trained in ultrasonography including echocardiography and enjoys all diagnostic endeavors. Her areas of clinical interest include intestinal diseases at large, protein-losing enteropathies in particular, as well respiratory diseases and pulmonary hypertension, endocrine disorders, and all aspects of feline medicine. While uncommon in Los Angeles she also enjoys fungal infections and has an extensive background in managing them from her time in Texas. Dr. Stikeman adores all of her patients and the chance working at MASH provides to meet the wonderful cats and dogs of the Los Angeles community!
When not at work, Dr. Stikeman is usually flying in the skies over Santa Monica working on her instrument training, at home studying aeronautical maps and world history (especially WWII), or can be found watching Blue Jays baseball and working on future travel plans. She also loves spending time with her two (giant!) cats Winston and Clementine, and visiting her sister and her cat, Ray Finkle.
Victor, RVT, Internal Medicine Dept. Manager
Victor was born and raised in Los Angeles. He has been working in the veterinary field since 2014. Victor obtained his Associates in Animal Sciences from Platt College and after graduating, received his RVT License. Victor has a passion for emergency and critical care medicine as well as anesthesia. He is interested in getting a VTS (Veterinary Technician Specialty) in the future. Victor rescued a husky mix, named Hazel, that came into MASH from Hope for Paws. When not working, Victor likes to binge watch television shows and would like to spend more time dancing.
Sandra, RVT, Internal Medicine
Sandra was born and raised in Inglewood. She graduated from Pierce College and received her RVT license in 2018. Sandra has been in the veterinary field since 2017. For now, she is venturing the field in hopes of pinpointing where she would like to integrate her passion for animals. She has three dogs, Benny the bulldog, Lucas the terrier and Zoe the Basset. In Sandra’s free time she likes to work out, go on bike rides, and spend time with family and friends.
Jace, Veterinary Assistant, Internal Medicine
Jace was born and raised in Santa Monica. He has been working in the veterinary field since 2000. Jace has worked in general practice, emergency and critical care, surgery, and oncology. Jace joined the MASH team in November 2018 and found that his passion lies in internal medicine. Jace plans on getting his RVT and then would like to pursue his VTS in internal medicine. He has a 15-year-old Italian Greyhound named Tula. Jace likes to be very creative, so in his spare time he enjoys making costumes and props for Anime Cosplay, building items and painting, as well as, playing video games and working on computers.
Claudia, Veterinary Assistant, Internal Medicine
Claudia was born and raised in Los Angeles. She has been in the veterinary field since 2000. She started as a kennel attendant and has worked her way up to a veterinary assistant. She has worked general practice, internal medicine and in orthopedics. She joined the MASH internal medicine team in September of 2018. Claudia plans on obtaining her RVT license soon. She has a 4-year-old Pit Bull named Nora, a 6-year-old Chihuahua named Consuela, and a 7-year-old cat named Gunther. In her free time, she enjoys hanging out with her dogs and playing guitar.
Jacky, Technician Assistant, Internal Medicine
Jacky was born and raised in Los Angeles. She has been working in the veterinary field since 2014. She started out in reception and worked her way up to be a doctor’s assistant/technician assistant. She joined MASH’s internal medicine team February 2019. Her goal is to become an RVT and she is currently in school to get her veterinary technician associates. In her free time, she like to practice guitar and drums, go to concerts, check out new brewers, watch sports (especially LA Kings), watch movies, go to Disneyland and play video games.
Margot, Doctor Assistant, Internal Medicine
Margot is originally from Miami but moved to Los Angeles 4 years ago. She has been working in the veterinary field since 2012. She started out in general practice, has a background in animal rescue and investigation, and now specialty. Her goal is to own a nonprofit animal sanctuary or welfare group for animals. She has a pit bill mix named Gypsy, a Jack Russell named Jax and a cat named Brixton. Margot is passionate about veganism and living a cruelty free lifestyle.
Max, Doctor Assistant, Internal Medicine
Max was born and raised in Los Angeles. She has been working in the veterinary field since 2016. Max started out in reception but found that she wanted to be more hands on with the animals, so she moved up to be a doctor’s assistant. Max joined MASH’s internal medicine team in March 2019. She has a 3-year-old Schnauzer mix named Cerberus (Cerbi for short), and a 1.5-year-old Havanese named Anubis. When not working, she likes to be in nature. She likes to hike, go for walks and drive around looking at nature.
Allyson, Internal Medicine, Customer Service Representative
Allyson is a Los Angeles native. She has been working in the veterinary field since 2017. Before joining the MASH team, Allyson worked at a dog hotel and has also worked at animal rescues as a receptionist. She has a degree in cosmetology and used to work on shoots. She plans on learning more about veterinary medicine through her work at MASH to find where her passions lies in the veterinary world. Allyson has three dogs: a pit mix named Moulder, a cattle dog mix named Moma, and a Chihuahua mix named Navie. When not at work, she loves to go out, try new places to eat, hike, hang with her dogs, and experiment with cooking/baking.
Aaron, Internal Medicine, Customer Service Representative
Aaron was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. He has worked with animals on the retail side since 2014, but he is extremely excited to learn the veterinary side. His main goals are to build a connection with the MASH clients and provide the best service possible. Aaron has three cats, a Tabby named Steven, an American Exotic named Bunny and a Tuxedo named Belka. In his free time, he loves to fish, go to concerts, and explore art exhibits.
Dr. Courtney Smith, DVM, DACVIM (Cardiology)
Dr. Courtney Smith is a native Oregonian who has spent time enjoying the rain as well as chasing the sunshine. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of California Santa Cruz. Following her time in Santa Cruz, she returned to Oregon to attend veterinary school where she developed a love of cardiology and alpacas. After training at a large specialty hospital in San Diego, she traveled North back to Oregon State University where she obtained a Master of Science degree and completed a comprehensive cardiology residency.
Dr. Smith gained extensive experience with echocardiography, electrocardiography, minimally invasive interventional cardiology, and pharmacology during her cardiology residency. She conducted research specifically looking at the treatment of a congenital cardiac disease called pulmonic stenosis. Dr. Smith enjoys working closely with families to provide the very best care and quality of life for her patients.
Dr. Smith moved to Los Angeles shortly after obtaining diplomate status in the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (Cardiology). She has called the South Bay home for the past 4 years where she can be found outside hiking, camping, gardening, and playing at the beach with her family. She shares her home with a French bulldog, Ruby, and two sphynx cat sisters, Minion and Blue, who couldn’t be happier with the warmer weather.
Dr. Jennifer Pierro, DVM, MS, DACVIM (Oncology), Head of Oncology Department
Dr. Jennifer Pierro grew up in Sydney, Australia and California. She did her undergraduate work in psychology at UC Berkeley. She then moved to Providence, Rhode Island, where she developed her passion for both basic science and clinical research during her graduate studies at Brown University. She went on to complete her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree at Purdue University, during which time she discovered her fascination with oncology and cancer biology. She completed an internship and medical oncology residency at University of Georgia. During that time, she was fortunate to have the opportunity to run clinical trials and bench top studies using feline cancer cell lines.
Dr. Pierro’s interests include feline mammary cancer, feline lymphoma, novel chemotherapeutics, and drug re-positioning. Most importantly, her focus is treating cancer while promoting quality of life. She is very excited to be joining the team at MASH, and to be starting the oncology program.
Dr. Avenelle Turner, DVM, DACVIM (Oncology)
Dr. Turner was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado and has always known she wanted to be a veterinarian. She attended Colorado State University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in microbiology in 1997, and then graduated from Colorado State University, College of Veterinary Medicine in 2000. Dr. Turner then completed a one-year internship in small animal medicine and surgery at Garden State Veterinary Specialists in NJ. This was followed by a comprehensive three-year residency in medical oncology at Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists in TX. She completed board certification and became a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine in 2005. After completing her residency, Dr. Turner returned to the east coast and was the head of the oncology service at Fifth Avenue Veterinary Specialists, a prestigious referral practice located in New York City. Her heart was always drawn to clinical research and practicing medicine at an innovative cancer center and so in March 2010, she relocated to Los Angeles, California to accepted a position at one of the largest oncology practices in the world where she was the senior oncologist and the primary investigator of multiple clinical trials.Dr. Turner has authored numerous publications and manuscripts. She has been interviewed by national magazines and blogs. She speaks regularly to the local veterinary community and general public and enjoys educating both veterinary professionals and pet owners. Dr. Turner’s professional interests are lymphoma, clinical research, comparative oncology, chemotherapy, metronomic therapy and palliative care. She also supports a combination approach to cancer care, utilizing both eastern and western principles. Dr. Turner works regularly with holistically trained doctors to meet the needs of her patients. Dr. Turner’s primary focus is to provide the best possible care to pets with cancer. She believes in a bond-centered practice and delivers medical care along with compassion. Improving and providing a good quality of life for her patients is her top priority. Dr. Turner feels strongly that the treatment for pet cancer should not be worse than the disease itself.Dr. Turner resides in Marina del Rey, California with her long-haired dachshunds, Sookie! and Romo. In her free time, she enjoys exploring Southern California, wine tasting, traveling abroad, reading and yoga. Dr. Turner is also active with the non-profit organization CLEAR (Canine Lymphoma Education Awareness and Research), for whom she does “pop-up” community-education cancer talks. She was recently featured in their award winning documentary “My Friend, Standing Strong” https://clearcaninecancer.com
Josef, Oncology Department Manager
Josef grew up in Mississippi gulf coast, but has lived most of his adult life in Los Angeles. Josef has a Bachelors in Animal Sciences from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Josef loves the reward of seeing pets feel better and bringing joy to owners. Josef started working in general practice for 1 year and then switched to specialty medicine in oncology. He joined the MASH oncology team in July 2018 and is helping to develop the oncology department. He is currently starting the process to find a dog to adopt. In his spare time, he likes to travel, cook (and eat!), go to the theater and attend concerts.
Melissa, VA, Oncology, Assistant Manager
Melissa was born and raised in Los Angeles. She has been working in the veterinary field since 2012. She has worked as a receptionist, pharmacy tech, doctor’s assistant and tech assistant. She has worked in surgery and oncology specialty medicine before joining MASH’s nutrition team in October 2018. Melissa is currently in school to obtain her associates in Animal Sciences from San Juan College. She wants to get her RVT license. She has a 4-year-old Chihuahua named Gypsee. In Melissa’s free time, she likes to paint, go to music festivals, explore new breweries, and go to art galleries.
Kristine, RVT, Lead Technician, Oncology
Kristine was born and raised in Los Angeles. She has been in the veterinary field since 1998. She obtained her Associates in Veterinary Technology from Mt. Sac and is an RVT. Kristine started working in general practice, but moved to specialty medicine, specifically oncology, in 2015. She enjoys the science behind oncology and plans on obtaining her VTS in Oncology soon. She joined the MASH oncology team in July of 2018. She has one dog, a Border Collie named Lynus. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her kids and working on her house.
Sarah, Veterinary Assistant, Oncology
Sarah was born in Long Beach but grew up in Huntington Beach. She recently moved to Los Angeles so that she could expand her knowledge in the veterinary field. Sarah joined the MASH dermatology team in April 2019. In 2013, Sarah started working for a general practice veterinary hospital and decided that she wanted to pursue a career as a veterinary technician. She obtained a veterinary attendant certificate from Heritage College in Lake Forest and now completed the requirements for the alternative route veterinary technician program to become an RVT. She worked as a veterinary assistant for 3 and ½ years at a specialty oncology hospital. She has a 16-year-old domestic long hair cat named Mr. Bubbles. In her free time, she loves to travel, horseback ride, work out at the gym, bike ride, cook, and attend local concerts and shows.
Desiree, Customer Service Representative, Oncology
Desiree was born and raised in Glendale, CA. She has been working in the veterinary field since 2014. She started working as a receptionist/ technician assistant for a single doctor general practice and then switched over to a reception/inventory position with a multi-doctor general practice. Desiree joined the MASH oncology team in February 2020. Her number one goal is to go to Africa and volunteer with spay and neuter clinics. She has a general medical assistant license. Desiree has two cats: Belle and Justin. When not working, you can find her hiking, at the beach (rain or shine), at flea markets, or trying out the latest new trends in iced coffees around LA.
Dr. Adam Strom, DVM, MS, DACVS, Hospital Medical Director, President
Dr. Strom was born and raised in Los Angeles and is thrilled to still call it his home. He received his veterinary degree at UC Davis, where he first realized his love for surgery and emergency medicine. During his internship at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Strom honed his skills in veterinary medicine and decided that his true passion lay in surgery. After completing a one-year surgical internship with Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists in Houston, he returned to Los Angeles to complete his 3-year surgical residency at Animal Specialty Group. Under the excellent guidance of the doctors there, Dr. Strom was exposed to and learned a wide range of skills.
With successful completion of the residency program and passing of the certification exam, Dr. Strom achieved diplomate status in the American College of Veterinary Surgeons in 2011. Until 2017, he worked alongside his prior mentors as a member of the surgical service. He enjoys all aspects of surgery, but is most excited by reconstructive and oncologic procedures, fracture repair, and newer, minimally-invasive procedures. In his free time, Dr. Strom enjoys skiing, scuba diving, traveling, and spending time with his family and friends, and of course, his dog, Frannie.
Dr. Mishka Williams, DVM, DACVS
Dr. Williams grew up in Toronto, Canada and received her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from The Ontario Veterinary College in 2011. She then moved to the Los Angeles area where she completed a small animal rotating internship, surgical internship and residency in small animal surgery at Animal Specialty Group where she was trained in orthopedic, oncologic, soft tissue and neurologic surgery. She enjoys all facets of small animal surgery however her favorite part of the job is working together with a skilled team of multiple specialists to be able to provide well rounded care for all patients in need. Dr. Williams’s extracurricular interests include musical theater, exploring southern California and spending time with her husband, James, and their herd of dogs: Gus, Tito, Minka and Elton.
Dr. Sady Cabrera, DVM, DACVS
Dr. Cabrera grew up in Guatemala City and California. She completed her undergraduate work at Santa Monica college in Santa Monica, CA and California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo. She then received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of California, Davis in 1996.
She worked as a general practitioner in Southern California for 7 year and then pursued a specialty in small animal surgery. She completed her surgical residency at VCA West Los Angeles Animal Hospital in 2007 and then obtained her board certification. Dr. Cabrera is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons. She stayed on at West LA Animal Hospital for several years before joining Blue Pearl Emergency and Specialty Hospital in Orange County on December of 2016. During those years she spent time teaching students, interns and residents.
She performs orthopedic procedures (TPLOs, fracture repairs, arthroscopic procedures, congenital deformities), soft tissue procedures and neurologic procedures She has special interest on Laparoscopic procedures, minimal invasive fracture repairs and wound management. She performs stem cell and platelet rich plasma treatments based on case selection. Dr. Cabrera applies multi modal anesthesia and believes that good pain management is utmost important for healing and good recovery.
Linette, RVT, Surgery Department Manager
Linette is a Los Angeles native. She has been working in the veterinary field since 2000. She obtained her Bachelors in Veterinary Technology from Cal Poly Pomona. Linette’s passion in the veterinary field is for surgery and anesthesia. Linette will be pursuing her Veterinary Technician Specialty (VTS) in anesthesiology in the near future. She has four dogs, a Min Pin named Dilly, and three Pitbull’s, Katanna, Monster, and Xena. When not at work, Linette likes to spend time with her family, play video games and snowboard.
LaGloria, RVT, Surgery
LaGloria was born and raised in Los Angeles. She has been in the veterinary field for 5 years. She obtained her Associates in Animal Sciences from Pierce College and is an RVT. She also has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from NYU. LaGloria has a passion for emergency medicine and would like to obtain her VTS in emergency and critical care. She has two Chihuahuas, one named Gracie and one named Pip. When not at work, she enjoys going to the movies, spending time with family, and reading.
Hansel, Veterinary Assistant, Surgery
Hansel was born and raised in Los Angeles. He has been in the veterinary field since 2012. Hansel started out in general practice but found that his passion was for specialty medicine. He is currently apart of our surgery department and wants to obtain his RVT license soon. Hansel likes working in the surgery department because there is always something new creating an environment for constant learning. Hansel has two cats named Damsiel and Tigre. In his spare time, he likes to spend time with his kid and watch/play basketball and soccer.
Kathy, Veterinary Assistant, Surgery
Kat grew up in Los Angeles. She has been in the veterinary field since 2011. She started out working in general practice but has been working in the surgical specialty for four years. Kat is working on getting her RVT soon. Her passion in veterinary medicine is surgery. She loves everything about surgery, from the different cases, to the procedures, to even the different instruments. Kat has a Shih Tzu named Chubs and a cat named Panther. When not being a mom, Kat enjoys working out, shopping, sleeping, and food.
Melody, Veterinary Assistant, Surgery
Melody was born and raised in Los Angeles. She has been working in the veterinary field since 2013 and has been working with Dr. Bianco since MASH opened. She started her career in the veterinary field in Austin, Texas, before moving back to the LA area and joining the MASH team. In the fall, she will be attending Santa Monica College to become a surgical nurse for human medicine. She has a 9-year-old dachshund named Dozer. The newest member of her family is a polydactyly cat named Digits, who chose Melody after winding up at her door step. She loves attending music festivals, hiking, traveling, and spending time with her husband and pets.
Kristine, Veterinary Assistant, Surgery
Kristine was born and raised in Los Angeles. She has been working in the veterinary field since 2012. She started out in reception and has worked her way up to technician assistant. She started her career in general practice and then moved into specialty. She has worked in neurology, cardiology and internal medicine. Kristine loves learning about the actual medicine side of veterinary medicine and hopes to continue learning through all specialties. Kristine a German Shepard mix named Solo, who is a rescued police dog. In her spare time, she likes to dirt bike, horseback ride and try new breweries.
Chris, Veterinary Assistant, Surgery
Chris was born and raised in Burbank, California. He has been in the veterinary field for 11 years, working in emergency and surgery. Chris plans on getting his RVT soon. He has a passion for wildlife and would like to work at a wildlife rehab center at some point. He has 2 dogs, a Pit bull named Ruby and a chihuahua named Mickey. When not working, Chris likes to play/watch sports, especially soccer, bowling, playing music, and drawing.
Tanya, Doctor’s Assistant, Surgery
Tanya was born and raised in Los Angeles. She has been working in the veterinary field since 2007. She started out working reception in generally practice and then moved to specialty practice. She loves specialty because she continues to learn and expand her knowledge. Tanya joined the MASH team in February of 2018 as a surgery DA. She has two cats, Akima (Spynx), and Butters (DSH). She also has a Sheba Inu mix named Kai. Tanya loves to be outdoors. She loves camping, hiking, fishing, and music festivals. She also loves to spend time with her family and friends.
David, Surgical Assistant, Surgery
David was born and raised in Los Angeles. Before joining the MASH surgery team in May 2018, he was a teaching assistant for special education. David is brand new to the veterinary medical field and is interested in working his way up to become a registered veterinary technician. David has one dog, Athena, a mixed breed. In his spare time, he likes to read and explore LA.
Jorge, Surgical Assistant, Surgery
Jorge was born and raised in Los Angeles. He is brand new to the veterinary field and joined the MASH emergency team in January 2019. Jorge has his sights set on either pursuing his RVT or obtaining his fire technology degree to become a fireman/paramedic. He is also very interested in obtaining his wildfire certification. He has a 13-year-old Lab mix named Spots, and two 1-year old Terrier mixes named Titan and Hunter. In his spare time, he likes to play basketball, go to the gym and go out with his friends.
Emergency & Critical Care
Dr. Michael Becker, DVM, DACVECC, Emergency and Critical Care Director
Dr. Mike Becker was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. Dr. Becker earned his undergraduate from the University of Arizona and earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from The University of Illinois. Dr. Becker did his rotating, specialty internship, and residency in emergency and critical care at a busy specialty practice in Los Angeles. Dr. Becker joined the MASH Emergency and Critical Care team in May 2018. Dr. Becker has over 8 years of experience as a veterinarian (5 internships and residency), and 3 years as a criticalist at a private practice in LA.
Dr. Becker’s specific interests in emergency and critical care include trauma, sepsis and septic shock, antimicrobials, including antibiotic resistance and critical care nutrition. Dr. Becker is excited to help grow the Emergency and Critical Care department at MASH. He especially wants to continue to help his patients and help their owners make informed decisions for their ongoing care.
When not saving lives, Dr. Becker likes to do anything where he can be active and be outdoors. He enjoys running, hiking, home brewing beer, and he hopes to learn how to surf soon. Dr. Becker has 4 dogs, Charlie (11.5yrs), Towaoc (10 yrs), Billie Jean (5 yrs), and Min Flauta (10 yrs). He also has three cats, Rod Johnson (14 yrs), Homer (12 yrs), and Lord Bran (5 yrs).
Dr. Andrew Cruikshank, DVM, DACVECC
Dr. Andrew Cruikshank earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Tennessee in 2002. He then began a rotating internship at VCA West LA, where he discovered a love for critical care. He then went on to complete a critical care residency at ASEC and stayed on afterward as a criticalist and ultimately accepted a position at ASEC as Medical Director.
Though Dr. Cruikshank is experienced in many aspects of veterinary medicine, he takes special preference to respiratory diseases, ventilator therapy, and endocrine disease. Dr. Cruikshank enjoys sharing his knowledge and experience with up and coming veterinarians as a Clinical Associate Professor at Western University College of Veterinary Medicine.
Andrew lives with his dog, Ginger and his cat named Mags. He also enjoys traveling, baking, and exploring Los Angeles.
Dr. Elizabeth Yi, DVM, DACVECC
Dr. Elizabeth Yi earned her DVM at Western University of Health Sciences in 2013. Following graduation, she completed a rotating small animal medical surgery internship at VCA Emergency Animal Hospital and Referral Center in San Diego, CA. She was accepted to the VCA Emergency Animal Hospital and Referral Center’s Emergency and Critical Care Residency Program and completed her training in July 2017. She became board certified in Emergency and Critical Care in September 2017.
Her focus is emergency and critical care medicine and enjoys the fast pace and challenging cases that come into the ER. Dr Yi’s primary goal is to provide the best care possible for her patients, while providing compassionate care and service during stressful and difficult situations to her clients.
Dr. Linda Ahn, Emergency
Dr. Ahn Wong is a Los Angeles native. She attended Western University of Health Sciences and obtained her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine. She did a small animal 1-year rotating internship through Animal Specialty Group, where she stayed on to be an emergency veterinarian. Dr. Ahn joined MASH’s emergency team in April 2017. She has three dogs and one crested gecko. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, hiking, cooking, and spending time with her family and friends.
Dr. Kelly Guest, Emergency
Dr. Guest is originally from Canada and attended Ontario Veterinary College, attaining her degree in Veterinary Medicine in 2016. After graduating, she moved to Los Angeles and did a small animal rotating 1-year internship at Animal Specialty Group. This is where Dr. Guest found her passion for emergency medicine and joined the MASH emergency department July 2017. Dr. Guest likes the challenge that emergency brings and how every case can be different allowing for a constant learning environment. She has 2 cats, Emmett and Piper. After living in LA for a year, she fell in love with the weather and LA atmosphere and plans on staying here. She loves to go hiking, traveling, and camping.
Dr. Alexis Kotelko, Emergency
Dr. Kotelko attended UC Davis for both undergrad and veterinary school, attaining her degree in Veterinary Medicine in 2009. She practiced as a general practitioner in the CA Central Coast for the first two years out of vet school, then moved back to the Los Angeles area, where she grew up, to take on the challenge of overnight emergency medicine. Her interests include trauma and surgery and she loves the diversity of cases seen with emergency medicine. During her time off, she loves to hang out with her 3 cats (Neville and Stevie), watch Hockey (Go Kings!!), play video games, go to concerts, and enjoy the outdoors.
Dr. Stella Chu, Emergency
Dr. Stella Chu received her B.S. in Animal Science from Rutgers University in 2011 and went on to University of Pennsylvania to attain her Veterinary Medical Doctor degree in 2015. Dr. Chu then completed her rotating internship at the University of Illinois from 2015-2016, and recently, her internal medicine specialty internship at Red Bank Veterinary Hospital. Dr. Chu joined the MASH emergency and critical care team in August 2018. Dr. Chu is also interested in veterinary hematology, immune-mediated diseases, and nephrology.
In her spare time, Dr. Chu enjoys going to concerts, hanging out at the beach, cooking, painting, and spending time with her 3 pets: a Miniature Pinscher named Cookie, and two cats name Bear and Hoagie.
Dr. Natalie Fording, Emergency
Dr. Natalie Fording was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA. She received her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Saint Louis University in 2008 and her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Missouri in 2012. After graduation, she moved to Brooklyn, NY and completed a year-long small animal rotating internship at Veterinary Emergency and Referral Group. Following her internship, Dr. Fording moved to Los Angeles and has focused solely on emergency medicine. She joined the MASH emergency and critical care team in October 2018.
Dr. Fording enjoys hiking, traveling, any Pittsburgh sports team, and spending time with her husband, two dogs, Tucker and Panda, and cat, Izzy.
Dr. Shyvonne Mathias, Emergency
Dr. Mathias originally grew up right outside of Philadelphia but has been a Californian for about 8 years now. She graduated from Ross University in 2017 and did her clinical year at the University of Minnesota Veterinary College. Dr. Mathias completed her rotating internship at VCA Animal Specialty Group here in Los Angeles in 2018 then followed with her surgical internship at Central Texas Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Hospital in Austin, Texas. After leaving her internship, she decided to come back to LA because she loves California too much! She has a special interest in surgery, neurology, and physical therapy.
She has a 5-year-old Coconut Retriever named Anubis. Anubis and she enjoy hiking around LA, and you can usually catch her at the beach. Dr. Mathias also enjoys traveling, hanging with family and friends, and trying new restaurants.
Dr. Diana Jacinto, Emergency
Dr. Crystal Cisneros, DVM, Emergency
Dr. Crystal Cisneros obtained her veterinary doctorate from Western University of Health Sciences in 2017. Being an Arizona native, she returned after graduation to complete a rotating internship at VCA Animal Referral & Emergency Center. She has spent the last 2 years focusing on emergency medicine and loving everything Los Angeles has to offer. She is a firm believer in high quality care and prides herself in strengthening the human- animal bond.
In her free time, she is always searching for her next adventure. She enjoys traveling, spoiling her dog Mowgli, beach days, and finding ways to give back by volunteering in her community.
Dr. Patrick Kirk, DVM, Emergency
Dr. Kirk was born in Philadelphia, PA but was raised in Jacksonville, Florida. Dr. Kirk earned a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences from Florida State University and earned his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Western University of Health Sciences in 2013. He did a rotating internship with VCA California Veterinary Specialists prior to staying on as an emergency veterinarian for the past 7 years. In his spare time, he enjoys playing sports, spending time with his wife, Elizabeth, his dog Wylie and his cat Dot.
Jonathan, RVT, VTS (ECC), Emergency Dept. Manager
Jonathan started working in veterinary medicine as an assistant in general practice in 1992 followed by an emergency clinic 6 years later where he worked for 16 yrs. He attained his credentials as an Registered Veterinary Technician in California in 2006 with the intent to also specialize in Emergency and Critical Care. In 2007 he began working at a 24hr specialty practice in Orange County in an effort to gain the necessary knowledge and experience to apply to the Academy of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Technicians (AVECCT). He gained further experience by working with Continuous Renal Replacement Therapy (CRRT), a mode of dialysis for Acute Kidney Injury, and long term therapeutic mechanical ventilation. His interests include, but are not limited to, acid/base, advanced anesthesia/analgesia, mechanical ventilation, shock and transfusion medicine. Following several years of study, he passed his boards in 2010, achieving his Veterinary Technician Specialty in Emergency and Critical Care, VTS (ECC).
Jonathan has volunteered his time as a member of the AVECCT Examination and Mentoring Committees and has also served on the Appeals Committee. He has authored and contributed a chapter on ocular emergencies in The Technicians Manual for Small Animal Emergency and Critical Care. Jonathan has lectured nationally and locally and attends continuing education conferences on a yearly basis. He is also certified in Veterinary CPR: Basic Life Support. Jonathan lives in Los Angeles with his three dogs and four cats. Much of his free time is spent going to concerts, museums, the beach and simply just relaxing with a good book.
Gabe, RVT, Emergency Dept. Manager
Gabe was born and raised in South Central Los Angeles. He has been working in the veterinary field since 2004. He obtained his RVT after being grandfathered in and working on the alternate veterinary technician program. His passion is for emergency and critical care veterinary medicine. He is currently working on obtaining his VTS (Veterinary Technician Specialty) in emergency and critical care. When not at work, Gabe is a major foodie, likes to work on cars, and work out. He recently adopted a Presa Carnario puppy named Fettuccine Biggie Capone.
Kristine, RVT, VTS (ECC)
Kristine was born in New Jersey but grew up in the San Fernando Valley and Simi Valleys. Kristine has been working in the veterinary field since 1994. She is an RVT and just recently got her VTS in emergency and critical care in 2019. She joined the MASH emergency and critical care team in January 2020. Her goals are to use her knowledge and skill to minimize patient fear and maximize patient comfort. She also wants to teach all that encompasses emergency and especially critical care to the MASH emergency team. In her free time, she likes to spend time with her family, go to the beach and be outdoors, also enjoy good food and wine.
Brandi, RVT, Emergency
Brandi was raised in the Fresno area, and has been in the veterinary field since 2012. She obtained her associated in Veterinary Technology from Pierce College and is a RVT. Brandi has a passion for emergency and critical care medicine and would like to obtain her VTS in emergency and critical care soon. Brandi likes the level of care that is needed for an emergency patient because it always brings a challenge and a new learning experience. Brandi has three dogs: a Maltese named Casper, a Terrier named Sweets, and a Shephard named Brixton. When not at work, Brandi likes to take her dogs to the park and chill at home.
Mark, RVT, Emergency
Mark has been working in the veterinary field since 2013. He obtained his LVT in Nevada and graduated with his Associates in Animal Sciences from Mt. San Antonio College. He started his technician career in general practice and then joined the MASH team to better his skills as a tech in emergency. Because animals cannot communicate what is going on with them, Mark loves to be the voice of the patients he works with. Mark has a mixed border collie named Bailey. When he is not at work, he loves to go to Disneyland, hike, and go horseback riding.
Dayna, Emergency, Triage Lead
Dayna was born and raised in Pasadena, California. Dayna has been working in the veterinary field since 2001. She has over 12 years of experience in general practice medicine and over 7 years of experience in emergency and critical care. She joined the MASH emergency and critical care team in January of 2018. She has a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science/Pre-vet Med from Cal Poly Pomona University. Dayna is driven by emergency and critical care medicine because she gets to be a part of a team of fast responding critical care Dr’s and techs that help patients defeat all odds against them and reunite them with their owners after debilitating disease, injury or trauma. Dayna plans on pursuing the alternative route program to earn her RVT and wants to obtain her VTS in Emergency and Critical Care medicine in the next two years. In her free time, she enjoys taking her four kids to the beach and spending lots of time at family gatherings; cooking, laughing, and playing music. She has a 6-year-old cat named Meow Meow, a 2-year-old Rottweiler named Kapone, and two one year old guinea pigs named Peanut and Sugar.
Chelsea, Veterinary Assistant, Emergency, Shift Lead
Chelsea was born and raised in Los Angeles. Chelsea has been working in veterinary field since 2011. Before joining the MASH team, she worked with avian and exotics. Chelsea’s goal is to get her RVT license and get her VTS (Veterinary Technician Specialty) in emergency and critical care. She has a passion for wolf conservation efforts and has been volunteering at APEX Protection Project for 9 years caring for the wolf-dog pack. She has a tortoise named JB, and a dog named Bullet. In her spare time, Chelsea likes to play basketball, travel and work out.
Angie, Veterinary Assistant, Emergency/Internal Medicine, Shift Lead
Angie was born and raised in New York. She moved to Los Angeles 3 years ago because she has always loved the weather here and for a new experience. She has been in the veterinary field for 12 years. Angie is going to obtain her RVT soon and her goal is to become a lead/manage a department. She has 2 dogs, a Pit bull named Jordan, and a Maltipoo named Logan. She also has 2 cats, an 18-year-old named Angel and a 2-year old named Rogue. Angie loves the outdoors, camping, watching sports, and going to music concerts.
Emily, Veterinary Assistant, Emergency
Emily was born in England and moved to Los Angeles in 1998. Emily has been working in the veterinary field since 2010. She started out as a receptionist at an exotic animal practice and has worked her way up to technician assistant. She joined the MASH team in March of 2018. Emily wants to pursue her RVT and VTS in emergency and critical care in the future. Emily has a passion for emergency and critical care medicine because of its fast pace environment and the joy that comes when a pet gets better. Emily has a 9-year-old American Bulldog named Monty.
Halley, Veterinary Assistant, Shift Lead, Emergency
Halley was born and raised in the Inland Empire. She has been in working in the veterinary field since 2008. She started working in general practice but found that her passion was for emergency and critical care. Halley would like to get her RVT license and pursue a VTS (Veterinary Technician Specialty) in emergency and critical care. She has 2 dogs, a Pitbull named Jordan, and a Maltipoo named Logan. She also has 2 cats, an 18-year-old named Angel and a 2-year old named Rogue. In her spare time, she loves going to concerts, experimenting with makeup and hair, and she also will model from time to time.
Lily, Veterinary Assistant, Shift Lead, Emergency
Lily earned a degree in Biochemistry from the University of California in Santa Barbara. She worked five years in pharmaceutical and oncological research before transitioning to the veterinary field. She has two beautiful cats and a wonderful service dog. In her free time, she co-operates a home-based pet care business. She strives to provide her patients with compassionate care.
Brian, Veterinary Assistant, Emergency
Brian was born and raised in Los Angeles. He has been in the veterinary field since 2014. He started in general practice and found that his passion was in emergency and critical care. He joined the MASH emergency and critical care team in September of 2018. He has his Associates in Animal Sciences from Platt College and will sit for his RVT license in November of 2018. His goal is to eventually obtain a VTS in emergency and critical care. He has a 2-year-old Rottweiler names Wizard, and a 1-year old Miniature Pincher named Jersey. When not at work, Brian loves to attend concerts, work out, hike and read books.
Nicole, Veterinary Assistant, Emergency
Nicole was born and raised in Los Angeles. She has been working in the veterinary field since 2012 and plans on obtaining her RVT. She started out in general practice but found her passion in emergency medicine. Nicole likes the challenge of emergency medicine and likes to help be able to be the voice of her patients. Nicole has a 7-year-old pug/chihuahua mix named Chubbs. In her spare time, she loves going to breweries and is a major foodie.
Jesse, Veterinary Assistant, Emergency, Shift Lead
Jessie was born and raised in Los Angeles. He has been working in the veterinary field since 2010. He has worked in general practice, surgery, and emergency. However, his passion is for emergency and critical care veterinary medicine. He likes the knowledge that he gains from all the different cases, the actual patient care, and cultivating client relationships. Jessie joined the MASH emergency and critical care team in July 2018. Jesus recently finished the veterinary technician alternative route plan at Platt College. He plans to take the licensing test soon and become an RVT. Jessie has two dogs, a 3-year-old Cocker Spaniel/ Poodle mix named Dominic, and an 8-year-old Pomeranian/ Yorkie mix named Giselle. In his free time, he likes to watch soccer and other sports, go snowboarding in the winter, take long trips, and spend time with family.
Stephanie, Veterinary Assistant, Emergency
Stephanie was born and raised in Los Angeles. She has been working in the veterinary field since 2000. She started out in general practice veterinary medicine but found that her passion was in emergency medicine. Stephanie joined the MASH emergency team in February 2019. Her goal is to become a registered veterinary technician. She has a 4-year-old Chiweenie named Jelly. She also enjoys rehabbing wildlife and currently has a squirrel named Lucky. When she has free time, she likes to be in nature and hike in the surrounding LA mountains. She also enjoys being with friends and family.
Kevin, Veterinary Assistant, Emergency
Kevin was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. He moved to Los Angeles in September of 2019. He has been working in the veterinary field for since 2014 in general practice. He is brand new to the emergency and specialty world of the veterinary field. Kevin joined the MASH emergency team in September 2019. He has an Associates in Veterinary Technology and hopes to soon obtain his RVT license here in California. He has a 12-year-old Pitbull named Capone. When not working he enjoys sleeping and eating.
Cesar, Veterinary Assistant, Emergency
Cesar was born and raised in LA, specifically Norwalk. He has been working in the veterinary field as a technician assistant since 2012. He joined the MASH emergency team in June 2019. Cesar goal is to become a Doctor of Veterinary medicine and possible specialize in internal medicine. He has an Associates in Natural Sciences and is currently working on a B.S. in Biochemistry. He has a 9-year-old Siberian Husky named General and a 3-year-old cat named Minerva. In his free time, Cesar likes to cook, watch movies, and spend time with his wife and son.
Jessica, Veterinary Assistant, Emergency
Jessica was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA (Go birds!). She moved to Los Angeles in 2014. She has been working in the veterinary field since 2006. She has worked as a doctor’s assistant and veterinary assistant. She is currently working on obtaining her RVT and a certificate in feline behavior and training. She has 2 cats, Neuman and Dante. In her free time, she likes to watch true crime shows, try different restaurants and spend time with her cats.
Doug, Technician Assistant, Emergency
Doug was born and raised in Bloomington, California. He recently made a switch in careers to veterinary medicine. He joined the MASH emergency team in June 2019. Doug is excited about being in the veterinary field and his goal is to become a Registered Veterinary Technician. Doug has a 10-year-old Pitbull mix named Cain and a cat named Bruce. When not working, he likes to relax and play video games.
Jenn, Doctor’s Assistant Supervisor, Emergency
Jenn was born and raised in Los Angeles. Before moving into the veterinary field in 2017, she was a human ultrasound technician. She would love to cross train in both the human and animal fields. Her goal is to be able to do ultrasounds on animals. Jenn has three dogs, Athena, a chow, Bunny, a chow, and Chewy a Maltese/Shih Tzu mix. When not working, Jenn likes to hike, travel, and read.
Amanda, Doctor’s Assistant, Emergency
Amanda was born and raised in Fresno, CA and moved to Los Angeles in 2001 for Web Design. After she finished school, she found that her passion lied in the veterinary field, she so moved back to Fresno to obtain her veterinary technician Degree. Amanda obtained her Associates in Veterinary Technology from San Joaquin Valley College in 2008 but with the economy, she had a hard time finding a job. She started an in-home pet sitting business to cater to animals with special needs so that pets wouldn’t get stressed out at boarding facilities while their parents are gone. Amanda moved back to Los Angeles in 2012 and worked various jobs at CA DMV, Juvenile Hall, a makeup company, and a law firm. After being away from the veterinary field for over 10 years, she is back and joined the MASH surgery team in April 2019. She hopes to obtain her RVT license soon. She has a 7-year-old brindle French Bull Dog named Dexter and a 1-year old black cat named Drogo. When not working, she loves to bake and hang out with friends.
Jolene, Doctor’s Assistant, Emergency
Jolene was born and raised in Los Angeles. She has been working in the veterinary field since 2012. She started out in general practice and has worked as a kennel attendant, technician assistant, and now receptionist. Jolene loves learning new things and being helpful to clients and patients. Jolene goal is to go back to school to obtain an RVT license. Jolene has 3 cats, Kernel, Batman, and Buggy. She also has 3 dogs: Monkey (Shih Tzu mix), Speck (Terrier mix), and Benjamin Waffles (Lasa Apso Mix). When not working, she likes to spend time with her son, hike with her dogs, and catch up with friends.
Isabel, Doctor’s Assistant, Emergency
Isabel was born and raised in Los Angeles. She has been working in the veterinary field since 2008. She has worked in a variety of positions: customer service, humane resource, and financial departments. Isabel worked in general practice at first, but then switched to specialty veterinary medicine. Isabel is currently in school to become a registered nurse, where she hopes to one day join a specialty service in human medicine. She has an 8-month-old long hair chihuahua, named Lily. She also is a foster mom to a poodle. When not working, she loves to spend time with her kids, do outdoor activities, read, and watch documentaries.
Dr. Paul Hobson, BVetMed, MRCVS, Head of Dentistry
Paul Hobson graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in London in 1981. He owned and
operated veterinary hospitals in the UK for 20 years before moving full time into veterinary dentistry.
He has focused his skills on oral and craniomaxillofacial surgery for the last 17 years. He operated a
large dental referral practice in the UK before meeting his wife and moving to California. He started
to work in California, while still frequently travelling back to the UK. He is now working full time in
Southern California and is working towards his dental specialty qualification in the USA.
Interested in all aspects of veterinary dentistry and craniomaxillofacial surgery, Paul is
especially interested in endodontics, craniomaxillofacial trauma treatment and reconstruction, and
oral oncologic surgery. He is also adding dental implantology to his treatment options.
Paul lives in the Hollywood Hills with his wife and 5-year- old son. They have a German Shepherd
named, Nola,to further add to the chaos at home, so his passions for triathlons and street
photography are on the back burner for now.
Arlene, Veterinary Assistant, Dentistry
Arlene was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. She has been working in the veterinary field since 2004. She has been working as a veterinary assistant in emergency, dentistry, surgery, and general practice. She joined MASH Dentistry team in January 2020. Arlene has completed the veterinary technician program and will be sitting for her RVT licensing exam this year. She has two chihuahua’s, Dexter and Didi, a tuxedo cat named Stinky, and a bird named Chappy. When not working, Arlene like to hike, got to the movies, and try new restaurants.
Elisa, Veterinary Assistant, Dentistry
Elisa was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. She has been working in the veterinary field since 2015. She started as a receptionist and now is working as a veterinary assistant. She joined the MASH dentistry team in January 2020. She wants to expand her knowledge in this field and eventually become an RVT. She has a Chihuahua named Sammie, a Terrier cross named Logan, and two Tortie cats named Patches and Aroona. In her spare time, she likes to spend time with her kids going on fun adventures.
Dr. Eva Ganz-Schmidt, DVM, DACVD, Head of Dermatology Department
Dr. Eva Schmidt received her veterinary degree in 2008 from Western University of Health Sciences. After graduation, Dr. Schmidt completed a one-year rotating internship at a multi-specialty practice in Glendale, California. Dr. Schmidt’s interest in dermatology grew from experience with her own dog who suffered from severe allergic symptoms. Following internship, Dr. Schmidt completed a three-year residency in small animal dermatology at Animal Dermatology Clinic in Marina del Rey, CA. In November 2013, she successfully passed her board examination and became a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Dermatology. In her spare time, Dr. Schmidt enjoys reading, cooking, yoga, and most of all spending time with her family.
Dr. Melissa Hall, DVM, DACVD
Dr. Melissa Hall graduated from the School of Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis in 2006. Upon graduation, Dr. Hall completed a 12 month rotating internship with Florida Veterinary Specialists and North Bay Animal and Bird Hospital in Tampa, FL, where her passion for dermatology grew. Dr. Hall developed a passion for all things dermatology. She then accepted a residency position in veterinary dermatology in 2007 at Animal Dermatology Clinic in Tustin, CA, and achieved Diplomate status in 2011. Dr. Hall became the resident coordinator for Animal Dermatology Group and also became the chair of the Resident Education Forum for the North American Veterinary Dermatology Forum and the American College of Veterinary Dermatology. She is excited to bring her expertise to the patients at MASH!
Tami, Dermatology, Dept. Manager
Tami Rae is a native to Southern California. In 1990, she was hired at a veterinary hospital in Malibu, California and from then, knew this was the field she wanted to be in. Over the years, she has worked her way through different aspects of veterinary medicine, ultimately finding dermatology to be the most rewarding. Dermatology patients can often present with an unpleasant odor and horrible skin issues due to infection or disease that can impede the relationship with their owners. Tami finds great joy in, not only helping the animals, but helping to re-establish that close bond with their owners again. Tami is personable and loves to educate her clients on the special care their furry friends will need going forward. Tami has been working with Dr. Schmidt since 2010, as her assistant.
Tami is also a professional sailing photographer. You can find her on the ocean shooting races up and down the So Cal coast. Tami has two dogs, a lab mix named Buddy, and a long-haired dachshund mix named Ginger.
Brenda, RVT, Dermatology
Brenda was born and raised in Culver City, CA, although she would like to think she is a child of nature. Brenda has been working in the veterinary field since 2006. She spent two years in general practice but found her passion to be in Dermatology where she has been for the last 11 years. Brenda joined MASH’s Dermatology team in October 2019. She has a Bachelor of Science in animal health sciences from Cal Poly Pomona. She also is an RVT. Her goal is to obtain her VTS in dermatology or win the lotto and start an opossum rescue. She has a 2-year-old opossum named Leona Lee and a 3-year-old Husky named Shadow. When not working, she enjoys hiking, horseback riding, eating ethnic foods and playing in the tide pools. She also dedicates her time to rescuing and rehabilitating orphaned opossums.
Katrina, CVT, Dermatology
Katrina was born and raised in New Jersey. She is brand new to California and hopes that LA will soon become home to her. She has been working in the veterinary field since 2002. She has worked in the surgery department for 11 years but is excited to be doing dermatology here at MASH. She joined the MASH dermatology team August 2019. Katrina is going to be sitting for her RVT license soon so that she is registered in the state of California. Katrina also has a bachelor’s degree in Marketing. She is also Fear Free Certified (fear free animal handling to make animals more comfortable during their visits). She has an 11-year-old Chihuahua named Wilbur and two cats named Poe and Stella. When not working, Katrina likes to watch shows and movies, spend time with her husband and dog, and recently she took up a new hobby, crocheting.
Renn, Veterinary Assistant, Dermatology
Renn was born and raised in Los Angeles. She has been working in the veterinary field since 1993. She started out in large animal medicine and then has done emergency and critical care, physical therapy, and cardiology. Renn joined the MASH dentistry team in September 2018. Renn has her Bachelors in Animal Sciences from UC Berkeley and plans on obtaining her RVT license soon. When not working she loves to garden, tend to her animals and hang out with her son. You can often find her on her porch drinking a cup of coffee, out dancing, exploring new wines, or playing/watching sports.
Alex, Veterinary Assistant, Dermatology
Alex was born in Kharkov, Ukraine. She has lived in Los Angeles since 1999. She has been working in the veterinary field since 2014. She has worked in shelter, exotics, and rescue medicine, as well as, emergency, as a veterinary assistant. Alex joined the MASH dermatology team in May 2019. She is currently working on obtaining her RVT. Her goals are to get a VTS in emergency and anesthesia. Alex has two dogs, a Thai Ridgeback named Ember, and a German Shepard named Odin. She also has two red tail boas, two adults, Loki and Athena. When not at work, she enjoys spending time with her boyfriend and son. She also likes to hike, cook, go to the racetrack, study veterinary medicine, and go to the gym to box.
Christina, Client Service Representative, Dermatology
Cristina was born and raised in San Pedro, CA. She lived in Fresno for 7 years but decided to move back to Los Angeles in late 2019. She has been working in the veterinary field since 2004. Cristina has worked as a receptionist, doctor’s assistant, OSHA officer, and hospital administrator. She joined the MASH dermatology team in November 2019. Her goal is to continue to learn and advance in the veterinary field. She has a Chihuahua named Brody. In her free time, she loves to hang out at the beach, and spend time with family, friends and her dog.
Dr. Rick Lanuza, DVM, DACVO, Head of Ophthalmology Department
Dr. Rick Lanuza is a California native, born and raised in the city of San Gabriel. He attended St. Georges University School of Veterinary Medicine in Grenada, West Indies and completed a small animal rotating internship at VCA West Los Angeles Animal Hospital. After two years as a general practitioner he took a position as an ophthalmology intern at Kansas State University Veterinary Health Center and remained there to complete his ophthalmology residency. He has worked as a boarded ophthalmologist along the California coast for the last four years spanning from Arroyo Grande to Santa Barbara. Dr. Lanuza is excited to be part of the MASH family and bring quality ophthalmic services to the Hollywood area.
Ricki, RVT, Ophthalmology
Ricki grew up in Bend, Oregon and moved to Los Angeles in 2008. She has worked in the veterinary field since 2010. She started as a receptionist and then went to school to obtain her RVT. She has worked as an RVT in general practice and is brand new to veterinary specialty medicine. She joined the MASH ophthalmology team in March 2020. Her goal is to be a better RVT than the year before. She has a certificate in Animal Sciences. Ricki has a Cockapoo named Dominic and a Porkie (Pom/Yorkie) named Giselle. When not working, she is spending time with her husband, daughter, and her two puppies.
Dr. Lisa Weeth, DVM, DACVN®, Head of Nutrition Department
Dr. Weeth received her veterinary degree from the University of California, Davis, in 2002. After two years in general and emergency practice, she returned to UC Davis in 2004 for a Residency in Clinical Nutrition. She completed her training in 2007, became a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Nutrition (ACVN), packed up her family and moved from the west coast to the east coast. There she established the first dedicated Clinical Nutrition Department in a private practice setting at Red Bank Veterinary Hospital in Tinton Fall, NJ. Dr. Weeth provided nutritional support to veterinarians and pet owners in the greater New Jersey/New York area until January 2014, when she and her family (including the 3 cats) once again packed up and moved, this time to the United Kingdom. While living overseas she started Weeth Nutrition Services, a veterinary referral service that provided nutrition telemedicine to veterinarians and technical support to members of the pet food industry. In August 2016 she and her family moved back to California and Dr. Weeth was able to expand her telemedicine service to offer in-person appointments to patients and their caregivers in Los Angeles and the surrounding areas.
In her free time Dr. Weeth enjoys spending time with her family, exploring new parks and walks with her rescue dog Penny, and traveling to new and interesting places. Dr. Weeth loves all things food and food-related from growing the ingredients in her garden to putting them together in delicious ways for her friends and family.
Nissan Mosapor, Hospital Administrator, CEO
Nissan Mosapor is a native of Los Angeles, California. He has been working in the veterinary field since he was 17-years-old and is a licensed registered veterinary technician. Over the years, he has worked in several veterinary disciplines ranging from emergency medicine, internal medicine, surgery and neurology departments at various specialty animal hospitals. Nissan has a expansive understanding of the veterinary industry and spent years using this expertise to help veterinary hospitals market their brands. Nissan’s dream of opening a specialty animal hospital that cultivates excellence in customer service and unparalleled medical care for animals was accomplished with the opening of Metropolitan Animal Specialty Hospital. In his free time, he likes to spend time with his wife and two daughters.
Beatriz, Practice Manager, MASH Outpatient
Beatriz was born and raised in Los Angeles. She has been working in the veterinary field since 2013. She has worked in specialty veterinary medicine all her career. She has experience in client care, DA, TA and hospital management. Beatriz is currently working on getting her certified veterinary practice management license and wants to also continue to learn and grow in their field. She loves to learn! She has a Pug named Ms. Piggy, a Frenchie named Spike, a Pug named Waffles, and a Terrier mix named Teddie. She is also the aunt to sweet “Biggie” a Presa Canario. In her free time, she likes to spend time with her family building memories. She loves going to Disneyland, enjoys watching The Office, and having family game nights.
Rick, Hospital Coordinator
Rick was born in Burbank but grew up in Northern California. He has been in the veterinary field since 2010. He has worked his way up from being a client service representative, a technician, and now to his current position as MASH’s Hospital Coordinator. He helped to form MASH in its beginnings and designs all of MASH’s artwork and designs. Rick graduated with his Bachelors in Geography from Cal State Northridge. Rick has one tuxedo cat named Lucky. Rick has a passion for nature and is a Certified California Naturalist and avid birder. In his free time, you can find Rick fishing, working on motorcycles, at a plant sale, surfing, or at a skate park.
Holly, Human Resources
Alli, Finance Manager
Alli has over 20 years of organizational management experience working in retail, law firms, a major pop culture collectibles company and most recently in the last 5 years, back in the veterinary field, at VCA TLC, ASG, and now MASH!
She has two, crazy, adorable, feline boys: Stevie Wonder and Jaxxson. They are the BEST! Her hobbies are more of a passion. Alli currently volunteers at Apex Protection Project (amazing organization, amazing people). She has also volunteered at Pacific Marine Mammal Center for 14 years as an animal care specialist rescuing, rehabilitating, and releasing sea lions, elephant seals, harbor seals, small whales and dolphins. When not volunteering, Alli is either traveling or going to shows, as music is another big passion of hers.
Carra, Marketing and Event Manager
Carra was born in Indiana, but grew up most of her life in Wisconsin (Go Packers!) Carra was a Certified Veterinary Technician for 10 years, working in emergency and general practice. She graduated from Madison Area Technical College in Madison, WI with an AA in Veterinary Technology. During school she was Adoption Co Chair and Animal Caretaker for the animals that stayed on campus. Her favorite part of being a technician was anesthesia and dentistry. Carra served on the Wisconsin Veterinary Technician Board as their Legislative Committee Coordinator and Continuing Education Coordinator. Looking for a change, she moved to California in July 2018.
Carra loved being a veterinary technician, but found her passion was in relationship building, events, and marketing. Carra graduated from Colorado State University Global in November 2018 with her Bachelor of Science in Marketing with a Specialization in Public Relations. She did not want to leave the veterinary field, so she is so happy to be able to be in the field she loves and do what she loves.
In her free time, she loves to be in nature; exploring National Parks/Monuments, camping and hiking. Her goal is to visit every national park and monument! She also likes binge watching TV shows, and reading a good book. Carra has two cats that are brothers, Luke and Hans.
Allison, Marketing Coordinator
Allison grew up in Tucson, Arizona and after obtaining he Bachelor of Science degree in International Business and Marketing, she decided to move to Los Angeles to be close to the ocean. In 2008, she started what would become a career in the veterinary field, working as a receptionist at a family owned general practice. After a short stent at the front desk, she began training to be a veterinary technician and soon worked her way up to lead tech. Allison wanted to apply her business and marketing degree to her passion of helping animals and began helping with events and designing promotional materials. She then moved on to be the marketing coordinator of a multi-location specialty hospital here in Los Angeles. She is very excited to extend her knowledge and experience to the MASH team and further her career.
In her free time, she’s usually planning her next trip somewhere around the world, relaxing at the beach, or watching her favorite sports team. She enjoys the sunshine, warm weather, and search for her next adventure.
Kindra, RVT, Inventory Manager
Kindra was born in Utah and moved to Los Angeles when she was 12 years old. She has been in the veterinary field since 2014. She obtained her Associates in Animal Science from Pierce College and is an RVT. She has always had a passion for emergency and critical care medicine but has also worked in general practice and neurology. In the future, Kindra would like to obtain her VTS in emergency and critical care. She has a 2-year-old Australian Cattle Dog named Olive, and a 9-year-old cat named Maggy. In her free time, she like to hang out with her husband and dog hanging at breweries, cooking or reading.
Jamie, Front Office Manager
Jamie was born and raised in California. She has been working in the veterinary field since 2007. She started working as a client service representative in general practice and then moved to specialty where she became a doctor’s assistant. She is now MASH’s Front Office Manager. She loves helping to save animals lives and rescue animals. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management and Associates degree in Biology and Accounting from Cal State University, Northridge. She has two handsome chocolate labs named Griffin and Riddick. In her spare time, you can find Jamie on the slopes snowboarding, in the mountains hiking or at home watching movies.
Tomas, Front Office Manager, MASH Outpatient
Tomas was born in Cuernavaca, Mexico, but was raised in Los Angeles, CA. He has been working in the veterinary field since 2013. He was a receptionist supervisor for a specialty veterinary cancer center and then was a client care assistant manager at a large animal specialty center. Tomas joined MASH’s front-end management staff June of 2020. His goal is to get his certified practice management certification soon. He has a miniature Schnauzer named Kody. When not working, Tomas enjoys spending time with his friends. He also absolutely loves to go to theme parks, especially Disneyland! (He has all the passes!). He also enjoys watching movies and taking car rides to new and exciting places.
Kelsey, Client Service Representative, Shift Lead
Kelsey was born and raised in Los Angeles. She has been in the veterinary field since 2008. She started out working in general practice and then moved to specialty reception. Kelsey has always been drawn to this field because of her love for animals. She has one dog, a beagle mix named Kylo, and four cats, Tinkerbell, Stitch, Jager, and Scruffy. When not at work, she loves to go to LA Kings hockey games and Disneyland with her husband.
Elisa, Client Service Representative
Elisa is a native of Los Angeles. She was working at a local car dealership when she had to take her dog to the vet for an emergency treatment. Elisa has always loved animals and when it turned out that the vet clinic was looking for a new receptionist, she knew this was her calling and the rest was history. She started in a general practice in 2013 and moved to specialty emergency in 2016. She has an 11-year-old Pit bull Labrador mix named Bella. On her days off, she likes spending it with Bella going for walks and trying new places to eat in LA.
JJ, Client Service Representative
JJ was born in Virginia, lived in New York, and then moved to Los Angeles in 2000 to start a magazine and promote and host a nightclub. She has over 25 years of experience in the veterinary world. At a young age, she helped to run her families horse boarding facility and then started as a receptionist in veterinary at 16. After moving to LA and working in the entertainment business, she has always continued working with animals because that’s where her passion lies. She has great empathy and passion for emergency and critical care veterinary medicine. JJ has a 9-year-old Pomeranian named Baby Fox, a golden retriever named Doc Holiday, and two cats named Wolf and Jerith. When not working, JJ loves to horse back ride, go for drives on the coast, go to the beach, and go out and entertain in a social environment.
Annabelle, Client Service Representative
Annabelle was born and raised in Los Angeles. She was a referral coordinator for a worker’s comp company and then transitioned to the veterinary field in 2014. She loves the veterinary field and feels her heart and soul belongs in emergency and critical care. When she is not at work, she enjoys spending time with her daughter and two cats, Face Off and Pucci.
Raven, Client Service Representative
Raven was born and raised in Los Angeles. She joined MASH in mid-September of 2017 as a receptionist. This is her first job in the veterinary field. She graduated from San Jose State with a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality, Tourism, and Event Management. After college she moved back to Los Angeles and obtained an internship at Dream Builders Project planning their charity events. Her dream is to plan charity events for non-profits full time. Raven has a 11-year-old Shih Tzu named Destiny, a 13-year-old Cocker Spaniel named Snoop, and a cat named Meow that chose Raven as his mom after winding up on her doorstep. When not working and planning charity events, she loves to hang out with her family, going bowling and to hookah bars with friends, water aerobics and getting her hair and nails done.
Lindsey, Client Service Representative
Lindsey was born and raised in South Bay. She has been working in the veterinary field since 2008. Lindsey has worked as a receptionist and technician assistant for specialty veterinary medicine, but her passion is for customer service. She joined MASH’s reception team in December 2018. Her goal is to one day own her own dog rescue. She has an 8-year-old Chiweenie named Emjay, a 6-year-old Miniature Pincher named Petey, and a 5-year-old Pekinese Mix named Noodle. She absolutely loves dogs and plans on adding more to her family. Lindsey’s has a love for animal rescue, so a lot of her free time is taken by volunteering, however she also loves going to Kings hockey games and spending time with her family.
Sydney, Front Office Greeter
Sydney was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She completed the veterinary assistant program at the Animal Behavior College and received a certificate. Sydney has loved animals all her life and being able to help them in their time of need means the world to her. Sydney’s goals are to become a full-time veterinary assistant soon. Sydney joined the MASH team in July of 2018. She has volunteered at local animal shelters and did an externship at a local animal clinic. In her free time, she loves listening to music, hanging out with friends, and watching Netflix.
Carlos, Head of Maintenance
Carlos is originally from El Salvador. He moved to the LA area in 1999. Carlos has been working in the veterinary industry doing maintenance for over 13 years. Carlos is your quint essential handy man. Carlos has a wide range of trade skills: repair work, maintenance work, plumbing, electrical, and both exterior and interior work. In his free time, he likes to fish, watch/play soccer, and enjoys eating at the local Mexican joints.
Porfirio was born in El Salvador. He has lived in LA for 28 years. This is his first foray into the veterinary field and has worked with us for nearly a year. He has two small mix dogs. In his free time, he likes to go fishing and eat, not necessarily in that order.
Jasmine was born and raised in El Salvador. She moved to Los Angeles in 2001. She is brand new to the veterinary field and joined the MASH maintenance team in November of 2019. She has a Chihuahua named Laky. In her free time, she likes to go on walks with her daughter near the river.