OPVMC: The Practice Partners' Message to You
The Orchard Park Veterinary Medical Center is proud to provide the highest quality preventive, specialty, and emergency care to pets and offer the highest customer service to the pet owners in Western New York and surrounding community. OPVMC is truly a unique facility, with our primary focus on providing all-inclusive care for our patients, utilizing some of the most advanced diagnostics and treatments for pets, provided by caring, compassionate staff dedicated to our mission.
Simply put, we are committed to being the leaders in providing the best quality medicine possible for your pet—our patient. We work closely with other local family veterinarians to provide comprehensive specialty care for our patients, when needed.
Our staff of doctors, technicians, assistants, client service representatives, and ancillary staff have exceptional training and motivation, and they are selected for their empathy and compassion needed to care for the pets we treat. We are also proud to offer a working environment for our dedicated staff that allows them to contribute to our core values, progress in their careers, feel valued, and work in an enjoyable and productive atmosphere. In summary, we provide a level of veterinary care sophistication that we believe truly advocates for our patients.
We also strive for exceptional client service and compassionate care for our client's dogs, cats, and other pet species. Since most of us have pets of our own, we understand the strong bond that our clients have with their pets and realize that they are part of their family and ours.
Mari Amioka, DVM
Mari Amioka, DVM, attended Cornell University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, where she studied landscape architecture, but ultimately graduated with a degree in Animal Science. While at Cornell University, she rode for both the equestrian and polo teams. Following graduation, Dr. Amioka was employed by George Junior Republic, a residential community for troubled teenagers, supervising their equine care program. After leaving George Junior Republic, Dr. Amioka worked as a Humane Officer for the Tompkins County SPCA. She was also employed by Asbury Hill Farm, a hunter/jumper stable, in Freeville, New York. In her spare time, she volunteered for Offender Aid and Restoration, counseling inmates at the county jail.
After deciding to pursue a career in Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Amioka attended Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine, graduating in 1990. While in veterinary college, she helped to develop and supervise their Equine Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and was employed at the Equine Research Park. She also worked on the Colic Crew, Small Animal Crew, and was employed as a technician in the Cornell Small Animal Hospital's Intensive Care Unit throughout her veterinary education.
Following graduation, Dr. Amioka joined the staff at Orchard Park Veterinary Medical Center in July 1990. Dr. Amioka became certified in veterinary acupuncture in February 1999.
Dr. Amioka spends all of her spare time training and showing her three Shetland Sheepdogs (Maui, Leilani, and Kukui) in agility. She also shares her home with one cat, Sophie, and a blue-fronted Amazon parrot, Alex.Return to top
Ashley Case, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM (Oncology)
Dr. Case earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Pittsburgh, during which time she worked in a cancer biology laboratory, sparking her interest in oncology. Dr. Case earned her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, and completed a one-year small animal medicine and surgery rotating internship at Colorado State University. She went on to complete her three-year medical oncology residency at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr Case achieved board certification in medical oncology in 2016. She started practicing at Orchard Park Veterinary Medical Center in August of 2016 where she started the medical oncology service. The goal of Dr. Case and the Oncology staff is to provide information and hope to clients whose pets have been recently diagnosed with cancer.Return to top
Franca DiFilippo, DVM
Franca DiFilippo, DVM is originally from Rochester, New York, and attended the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). She graduated with honors in 1993 with a BS in biology and a minor in psychology.
After graduating from RIT, Dr. DiFilippo attended the New York State College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University as a member of the first class at Cornell to learn veterinary medicine via the Learning Based Curriculum. Upon graduating from Cornell in 1997, Dr. DiFilippo participated in a small animal medicine and surgery internship at the well-known Angell Memorial Animal Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, where she developed her love of small animal internal medicine and critical care. Angell was featured in Life magazine, on the "Good Morning America" show, and is the subject matter of the book Animal Hospital. After finishing the Angell internship, Dr. DiFilippo returned to upstate New York and began working as an associate veterinarian at the Orchard Park Veterinary Medical Center in October 1998.
She was a founding member of the Pre-Veterinary Club at RIT. While attending RIT, Dr. DiFilippo took part in karate classes, where she met her future husband who was a hotel management major at the time. While at Cornell, she developed an interest in exotic animal medicine by volunteering in the Wildlife Clinic there and attending both Aquavet courses in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, focusing on aquatic animal medicine. Aquavet provided some of her favorite memories from veterinary school. She also took part in an externship at the National Aquarium in Baltimore and helped perform many unique tasks, such sonograms on stingrays, collecting blood from green tree anoles, and preparing meals for the cetaceans, among other things. It was during veterinary school that she discovered another passion—white water rafting—while attending an AAZV conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and one of the activities was rafting Class III and IV rapids on the Youghiogheny River. She has loved it since and does not get to enjoy it nearly as much as she would like.
Dr. DiFilippo chose her profession not only for her love of animals, but also due to her love of learning, as there is no shortage of either in veterinary medicine. She hopes to continue to serve animals and their people for many years to come while continuing to develop as both a veterinarian and a person.
Dr. DiFilippo lives with her husband, son, and daughter, along with two cats and two dogs. Dr. DiFilippo cherishes the time with her family, especially while enjoying some of their favorite activities together—hiking/nature walks, rafting, biking, and traveling. Outside of her busy work schedule, Dr. DiFilippo also serves as a Girl Scout troop leader, complete with cookie sales, camping, crafts, and service projects. Her two cats, Mayapapaya, a female orange tabby, and Ponyo, a male grey tabby, and dogs, Buffy, a female Jack Russell terrier/Chihuahua mix, and Spike, a male Jack Russell terrier round out the family. She is thoroughly proud of her "girls," some of who have been with her for going on four years now (her daughter, of course, has been with her a little bit longer than that!).Return to top
Stacy Dralle-Rickwald, DVM
Stacy Dralle-Rickwald, DVM, is originally from the finger lakes region of New York. She attended the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York, before going to veterinary school at The Ohio State University. Immediately after graduation, she completed a one-year internship in small animal medicine and surgery at the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital. As a student, she was inducted into the Phi Zeta honor society and was the AAFP (American Association of Feline Practitioners) senior student of the year in her graduating class.
Dr. Dralle decided to go to vet school after a lifelong admiration for pets and appreciation for the human–animal bond. Dr. Dralle's interests include companion animal medicine and emergency medicine. She currently resides in Buffalo, New York, with her two cats, Walle and Cinderella; her Russian tortoise, Cooper; and her two ball pythons, Mumbles and Tonga, and her husband. One of her hobbies outside of work is running and staying active, like playing volleyball.
Dr. Dralle is a member of the AVMA, Western New York Veterinary Medical Society, and the Niagara Frontier Medical Society (NFVS).Return to top
Rae Friedman, DVM
Dr. Rae Friedman is a Texas native and attended Texas Lutheran University where she received a BS in both molecular biology and chemistry. From there she earned her doctorate in veterinary medicine from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine where she met her fiancé, who is also a veterinarian and a Buffalo native. After practicing in the greater Seattle area following graduation, Dr. Friedman and her fiancé made the move to Buffalo in December of 2020 and she began her career at OPVMC working in both emergency medicine and primary care.
Dr. Friedman shares her home with her fiancé, Jeff, along with a menagerie that includes Rottweiler/Pitbull mix-Bumi, Australian Cattle Dog-Apache, two cats-Bilbo and Mac, Sulcata tortoise-Frank, two green cheek conures-Rutabaga and Zucchini, and a yellow collared Macaw-Lucy. They are sure to continue adding to what they affectionately refer to as “the zoo” in the near future.
In her free time Dr. Friedman loves being outdoors hiking and running with Apache, as well as baking, reading, and traveling.Return to top
Melanie J. Hall, MS, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM
Melanie J. Hall, MS, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM was born and raised in Hannibal, New York, but has been a resident of the Greater Buffalo Region for more than 17 years. She obtained her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the Atlantic Veterinary College at the University of Prince Edward Island in 2010, performed a one-year small animal rotating internship at Cornell University Hospital for Animals the following year, then went on to perform her residency in Small Animal Internal Medicine at The Ohio State Veterinary Medical Center. During her residency, she completed a Masters of Science degree in Comparative and Veterinary Medicine, with her research focusing on a potential new form of therapy for diabetic cats.
Dr. Hall entered into veterinary school with the intention of becoming an internist. She has a passion for managing chronic illnesses and multiple concurrent illness, with the ultimate goals of preserving and maintaining her patients’ quality of life and joy in life.
Dr. Hall and her partner live in the City of Buffalo with their three dogs and cat, and enjoy being in the outdoors hiking, snowshoeing, cycling, and golfing, whenever they can. Other favorite activities include walking the dogs, reading with the cat, and experiencing as much Buffalo culture as possible!Return to top
Arielle Herberger, DVM, DACVIM (Neurology)
Dr. Herberger chose a career in veterinary medicine for the purpose of facilitating the human-animal bond. It was during veterinary school that she developed a passion for the complexity of the nervous system and the vast manifestations of neurologic disease. Originally from WNY, she will be returning to her hometown to join the team at OPVMC in August 2022. This comes after completing a 2 year internship in emergency medicine, and 2 neurology internships followed by a 3 year residency in Neurology and Neurosurgery at Pieper Memorial Veterinary Hospital in Connecticut.
Dr. Herberger has developed proficiency in neurosurgical procedures of the spine and brain, along with clinical management of seizures as well as cancerous, developmental and inflammatory conditions of the nervous system. She is enthusiastic to build a practice of veterinary neurology that is collaborative with our community of referring veterinarians. Dr. Herberger will sit for her board exam at the end of May 2022.
Dr. Herberger will be available for patient care beginning in September 2022 however we will begin booking consultations with her starting in July. To learn more about our Neurology & Neurosurgery Department click here.Return to top
Jeff Hess, DVM
Dr. Jeff Hess was born and raised in Buffalo, New York. He attended the Rochester Institute of Technology for his undergraduate studies and went on to receive his DVM from the University of Illinois. After vet school Dr. Hess moved to Seattle where he completed a one-year internship in exotic animal emergency medicine and surgery. After his internship he continued as an exotic animal emergency veterinarian before moving back to Buffalo in the fall of 2020. Prior to joining the team at Orchard Park, he worked as an overnight emergency veterinarian.
Dr. Hess' professional interests include exotic animal medicine and surgery, pain management, and emergency and critical care. He is a member of the AVMA, Association of Reptile and Amphibian Veterinarians, Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians, Association of Avian Veterinarians, and the Western New York Veterinary Medical Society. He currently helps serve on the board of the Niagara Frontier Veterinary Society.
Dr. Hess shares his home with his fiancée Dr. Rae Friedman, who also works as a vet at OPVMC, and a plethora of animals. In his spare time, he enjoys spending his time outdoors with his fiancée and their animals hiking, camping, biking, and fishing.Return to top
Christina Hong, DVM
Dr. Hong was born in Honolulu, Hawaii and moved to Western New York as a youngster. Growing up in Amherst, she was known for her love of animals. After college and many odd jobs later (including a stint as a research assistant at a human cancer hospital), she finally enrolled in veterinary school at Michigan State University. She went on to complete an internship at The Animal Medical Center in New York City, and joined OPVMC in 2016. Dr. Hong is especially interested in Emergency, Critical Care, and Internal Medicine and would like to specialize at some point in the future. In the meantime, she is very happy to be working as an emergency veterinarian.
In her spare time Dr. Hong enjoys spending time with her family and her beloved cat, Calvin. She loves traveling and visiting her family in Honolulu, Hawaii. Her hobbies include outdoor running, yoga, and any activity that involves a beach.Return to top
Erin Klene, DVM
Erin Klene, DVM, was born and raised in Manchester, New Hampshire. She received her bachelor's degrees in biology and animal science from the University of Delaware. She then received her doctorate from the Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine in Ithaca, New York. Dr. Klene moved to the western New York area after graduation and joined the Orchard Park Veterinary Medical Center in 2004.
Klene's love of animals and combining it with veterinary medicine seems to run in her family. Her grandfather and great-grandfather were also practicing veterinarians. Her grandfather was willing to allow her to ride along on farm calls when she was a very young girl, fostering an interest that would lead to a decision to pursue a career in veterinary medicine.
Dr Klene did forgo the "farm calls" and limits her practice to small animal pets here at Orchard Park Veterinary Medical Center. She enjoys the practice's unique blend of primary care general practice, emergency, and specialty care that we provide. Dr. Klene loves the outdoors and enjoys soccer, running, biking, and hiking, especially when her family and family dogs tag along.
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Paul A. Kloc II, MA, DVM
Paul A. Kloc II, MA, DVM, grew up in West Seneca, New York, and graduated from St. Francis High School. He received his undergraduate degree, a bachelor of science in animal science, from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Dr. Kloc obtained a master's degree in biology while working with leatherback sea turtles at the State University College at Buffalo. He attended and received his doctorate in veterinary medicine at Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine in St. Kitts, West Indies. As part of his veterinary medical training, he received his clinical training at Cornell University. After a year in private practice, he completed his internship in small animal medicine and surgery at Angell Memorial Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. Dr. Kloc then completed a surgical residency at Pennsylvania Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Associates at Hickory Veterinary Hospital in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania. He then moved to the western New York area and joined the Orchard Park Veterinary Medical Center, where he consults as a referral veterinarian and performs specialized surgery.
Dr. Kloc has always had a strong interest in learning and working with animals from a young age. Dr. Kloc said he always knew that he wanted to do something in the sciences (medicine, research, etc.) but that he didn't know exactly what it was going to be until he learned about veterinary medicine from the veterinarians that took care of his dogs and horses. Dr. Kloc reveals that early on the veterinarians that took care of his animals were the most influential in his decision to pursue this career. As he was finishing middle school and entering high school, his interest and abilities in science grew stronger and it was then that he knew that it was veterinary medicine that he was most interested in. Dr. Kloc did have an opportunity to pursue a research career working with sea turtles during his master's degree training. This further confirmed his desire to work with animals and his resolve to pursue veterinary medicine. Once in veterinary school, the surgeons that he interacted with guided his decision to pursue and limit his practice to surgery.
Dr. Kloc is proud to have completed the educational training that he pursued, but he is most proud of the care and hope that he is and has provided to the animals and their families for whom he has performed surgical procedures. His current responsibilities at Orchard Park Veterinary Medical Center are limited to surgery. His interests include general surgery, orthopedics, neurosurgery and some limited Laparoscopic surgical procedures. Dr. Kloc is certified to perform Tibial Plateau Osteotomy (TPLO), Tibial Tuberosity Advancement (TTA), and BioMedrix total hip replacement. Dr. Kloc's goals professionally are to eventually attain Diplomat Status in the College of Veterinary Surgeons, and he is always looking to expand his surgical capabilities to provide the best possible surgical care to the patients here at the Orchard Park Veterinary Medical Center.
Dr. Kloc lives with his wife, Kelly, their four children, and two English Bulldogs in East Aurora, New York. He enjoys skiing, sailing, and would love to learn how to fly airplanes. Dr. Kloc enjoys watching the Buffalo Sabres and the Buffalo Bills.Return to top
Kevin Kumrow, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM
Dr. Kumrow’s veterinary career started at age 14 with his first job at Eagle Ridge Kennels in Orchard Park. By 18, he was a hospital assistant at Orchard Park Veterinary Medical Center, eventually becoming director of pharmacy and exam rooms. Dr. Kumrow earned his Veterinary Medical degree from Guelph University’s Ontario Veterinary College in Canada. Following an internship in small animal medicine and surgery at Oradell Animal Hospital in New Jersey, he completed his residency at Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. He practiced as an emergency veterinarian at Tufts VETS in Massachusetts and as an internal medicine specialist in Colorado and Pennsylvania before rejoining OPVMC as an internist and medical director. He remains actively engaged in research and has been published for his work on respiratory disease. Welcome home, Kevin!
photo by David DebalkoReturn to top
Tiffany Kwiatkowski, DVM
Tiffany A. Kwiatkowski, DVM, is a native of Western New York. At a young age, she worked with rehabilitating wildlife and enjoyed learning from these experiences, which is when she knew her passion was to be a Veterinarian. Dr. Kwiatkowski received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with a minor in Biochemistry at Daemen College and received her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine at Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine in St, Kitts, West Indies. As part of her veterinary training, she received her clinical training at North Carolina State University. She has practiced veterinary medicine since 2010 before joining Orchard Park Veterinary Medical Center in 2016. She looks forward to providing the utmost optimal care to your pet through primary care, emergency practice and routine surgical procedures.
. Kwiatkowski has an interest in Internal Medicine, Feline Medicine and Small Animal Behavior. Her great passion is bringing healing to animals and helping the owners through stressful and difficult times. She believes the animal-human bond is very important and strives to integrate this in daily practice.
In her free time, she enjoys spending time outdoors, exercising, cooking and traveling, but most of all, spending time with her 2 children and two cats.Return to top
Mandy Liesenfeld, DVM
Dr. Mandy Liesenfeld is a Western New York native, and grew up on Grand Island. She completed her bachelor’s degree in biology at Keuka College in the Finger Lakes, and then obtained her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Mississippi State University. During her studies, she was the Vice President of the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society and was actively involved in the shelter medicine program. Dr. Liesenfeld spayed and neutered over 100 shelter animals in Mississippi during her final year of veterinary school, and hopes to continue that work during her free time here in Western New York. While living in Mississippi- she fostered several puppies, and she adopted a total of three dogs of her own (including a retired racing greyhound named Stewie-who has since passed over the rainbow bridge).
Some of her professional interests include emergency medicine, soft tissue surgery, and feline medicine. She is Fear Free certified and is passionate about reducing her patient’s stress and anxiety surrounding vet visits.
Dr. Liesenfeld currently shares her home with her high school sweetheart, Kodie, along with their Cattle Dog mix- Skip, Golden Retriever mix- Nora, and tabby cat- Alicia. In her free time she enjoys being outdoors, with hobbies including kayaking around the Niagara River, hiking with her dogs, and gardening. She is also a houseplant enthusiast and enjoys yoga and traveling.Return to top
Susan Mercer, DVM
Susan Mercer, DVM, obtained her undergraduate degree, a bachelor of science in animal science, from the University of New Hampshire. She received a master's degree in veterinary parasitology from Texas A&M. While working toward her master of science degree in veterinary parasitology, Dr. Mercer explored tick-borne diseases in dogs and this inspired her to seek more structured information than pursuit of her master's degree afforded her in hopes of better understanding the disease processes and how better to help dogs afflicted with tick-borne diseases. Therefore, Dr. Mercer then continued her education and obtained her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from The Ohio State University, where she was named to Phi Zeta, a national honor society upon graduation. After a brief stint as a large animal veterinarian, she now exclusively provides emergency care to pets, and has done so since joining Orchard Park Veterinary Medical Center in 1991. She is a member of the AVMA, VECCS, NYSVMS, and AAHA.
Dr. Mercer always had a large menagerie of pets while growing up, and as she also worked for a veterinarian (who was also her Sunday school teacher) everyone brought her all the strays and injured animals to care for, much to her father's dismay! She is still taking care of sick and injured pets at night and feels this is her true calling and niche. She is honored to work with such a great medical team, especially at night, and is truly thankful to the clients who trust her to care for their pets in their crisis hour. Dr. Mercer says she doesn't know what she would do without emergency medicine that keeps her mind fresh and engaged.
Dr. Mercer is an outdoor enthusiast, and you will find her enjoying the outdoors year round. She loves hiking, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing. Dr. Mercer also competes internationally as an amateur woman atlatlist. She is proud of her ranking as an atlatlist (a specialized dart thrown with an atlatl), and in 2018 she ranked #1 women world atlatlist. Read more about the World Atlatl Association. This is a great accomplishment, as her father used to say she "couldn't hit the broadside of a barn"! When forced to be inside, she loves to read, stretch with yoga, or relax with tai chi and qigong. Someday she would like to retire to more fully take advantage of the natural outdoors and travel that she loves.Return to top
Stacie Minnier-Thomas, DVM
Stacie Minnier-Thomas, DVM, grew up in West Seneca and attended high school at Villa Maria Academy in Cheektowaga, New York. She spent two years as a biology major at the University of Rochester before transferring to the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University. It was there she completed her bachelor of science in animal science. Dr. Minnier Thomas later received her doctorate from the Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine in Ithaca, New York.
Active professionally, Dr. Minnier-Thomas has served as the Director for the Avian and Exotic Veterinary Council of Western New York and has participated in the Avian and Exotic Support Network for Greater Buffalo Veterinary Services. She is a member of the New York State Veterinary Medical Society, the Buffalo Academy of Veterinary Medicine, and past president of the Western New York Veterinary Medical Society.
Dr. Minnier-Thomas enjoys being a primary care provider, providing preventive health maintenance for all of her patients. Dr. Minnier Thomas also enjoys the study of internal medicine and the practice of ultrasonography.
Dr. Minnier-Thomas lives nearby in Elma. She and her husband, Michael, are most proud of their six beautiful children, Jacob, Isabella, Cordelia, Michaela, Nathan, and Elijah. Their children attend the Iroquois Central School District and are very active in area organizations including the local 4H program (Marilla Lads & Lassies), Performing Arts Dance Academy in Hamburg, the Saint Francis High School Players, and a variety of Iroquois music and sports programs such as band, choir, field hockey, cross country, rifle, track and field and wrestling. The family are parishioners of St John Vianney Parish in Orchard Park.
The Thomas family shares their home with a host of characters: Charlee their dog, three rescue house rabbits, a chinchilla and two guinea pigs.
Dr. Minnier Thomas, when not working, enjoys spending time with her family. Personal hobbies include knitting, cooking, baking, and fitness training. Her personal goal is to have a happy, healthy well-rounded life.Return to top
Giovanna Multala, DVM
Giovanna Multala, DVM, was born and raised in New York City. She obtained her undergraduate degree, a bachelor of science in biology and chemistry, from St. John's University, summa cum laude. Dr. Multala received her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell in Ithaca, New York. She is honored to be a member of the class of 1984 at Cornell and classmate of the Drs. Mary and David Brummer, also of Orchard Park Veterinary Medical Center. After graduating, Dr. Multala settled in Rochester, New York, and joined a practice there for a number of years.
Dr. Multala has always had a great love for animals dating back to her days when she befriended alley cats behind her apartment in New York City as a girl. In 1988, she committed her career to emergency medicine exclusively, with special interest in ophthalmology and surgery. She is happily now a part of the Orchard Park Veterinary Medical Center and has been providing emergency and critical care for more than 25 years overnight to her patients. She is very proud to be part of Orchard Park Veterinary Medical Center, which shares and supports her commitment to excellent and compassionate patient care.
Dr. Multala is happily married and has three children, who keep her very busy, along with her gardens, orchids, pets, and volunteer work at her church.Return to top
Samantha Odebralski, DVM
Dr. Odebralski was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. She is a 2014 graduate of the Ontario Veterinary College. Upon graduation she completed a one year rotating internship at BluePearl Georgia Veterinary Specialists in Atlanta, GA. After her internship she moved back to Toronto and worked as both an associate general practitioner and part-time emergency veterinarian for several years.
After years in a downtown metropolis she moved to Buffalo with her husband (originally from West Seneca and also a veterinarian and former veterinary assistant at OPVMC prior to going to vet school) and their young daughter to settle down. Dr. Odebralski joined the OPVMC team in 2020. Her professional interests include general wellness, cardiology and surgery. She looks forward to getting to know her patients and understands how important it is to help families through difficult situations with their pets.
Dr. Odebralski has two fur babies - a dog, Abbey, and cat, Spector. She enjoys skiing, camping, hiking, traveling and trying new foods.Return to top
Michael Rickwald, DVM
Michael Rickwald, DVM, attended the University of California–Davis for his undergraduate bachelor of science in animal science with a minor in statistics and graduated with high honors. He attended the same university for his doctorate degree in veterinary medicine and graduated as a member of the Phi Zeta honor society.
From an early age, he was always eager to help his mother when she cared for the family's animals. As he matured, he remained very interested in animal health and welfare so the field of veterinary medicine seemed like a good fit for a career. While no one experience was the major influence on his decision to become a veterinarian (it’s just something he always wanted to do), his volunteer experiences shaped his future, as well as an internship at a large referral and emergency hospital in New York City. Dr. Rickwald also credits many amazing and knowledgeable teachers that he had along the way for bringing him to where he is now.
Dr. Rickwald comes from a small family in California. He enjoys outdoor activities like hiking, camping, and biking and the indoor hobby of playing video games. Dr. Rickwald has volunteered for Rural Area Veterinary Services (a branch of the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association) both as a veterinary student and a veterinarian. He has also worked for the SPCA and volunteered in the past for World Spay Day.
Dr. Rickwald and Dr. Dralle met at OPVMC and married in 2015. They have two cats (Walle and Cinderella), two ball python snakes (Mumbles and Tonga), and a Russian tortoise (Cooper).Return to top
Zoë Rossi, VMD
Dr. Zoë Rossi grew up in Hanover, NH and stayed in her home town to attend Dartmouth College, where she completed a double major in Biology with a focus in Evolutionary Ecology and Philosophy with a focus in Ethics. After college, she moved to Philadelphia, PA to attend the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. During veterinary school, Dr. Rossi was Vice President of the Special Species Club (a club for those interested in exotic companion animal and zoo medicine) and the Wildlife Disease Association. She also spent much of her time volunteering at the Penn Vet Working Dog Center, where she helped to raise and train dogs for a variety of careers including law enforcement, search and rescue, and medical detection research. She fostered a Belgian Malinois, Anna, who is now an explosives detection K9 with the Upper Merion PD. She also completed internships at the Cheetah Conservation Fund in Namibia, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, and Fossil Rim Wildlife Center.
After graduating from veterinary school, Dr. Rossi immediately adopted a black Labrador puppy, Paradiddle, who has been the main focus of her free time since. Paradiddle recently completed her Canine Good Citizen and AKC Novice Trick titles and has begun training in agility, dock diving, and scent detection. While raising her puppy, Dr. Rossi completed a Small Animal Rotating Internship at OPVMC as their first intern. During her internship year, she also completed rotations at Specialized Care for Avian & Exotic Pets in Clarence, NY and at The Behavior Clinic in Cleveland, OH.
Dr. Rossi is passionate about behavior medicine and zoo/conservation medicine. Her professional goals include becoming a boarded specialist in both of these fields in the future and improving the welfare of captive wildlife through the application of behavior medicine to non-domestic species.
Dr. Rossi and her husband Jon share their home with their three dogs, a turtle, a snake, and two gerbils. When not entertaining their puppy, Dr. Rossi and Jon enjoy visiting as many zoos and aquariums as possible. Dr. Rossi is also editor and fact-checker for the Rossifari Podcast, a zoo and conservation podcast produced and hosted by her husband, Jon. Click here to learn more about the podcast and find out where to listen.Return to top
Susan Springer, DVM
Susan Springer, DVM, is a native western New Yorker growing up and still residing in Tonawanda, New York. Dr. Springer graduated from Kenmore East High School and then completed her undergraduate work with a bachelor of science degree in biology from Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York, and completed some post-graduate work at the University of Buffalo. She earned a master's degree in anatomy from Michigan State University (MSU) and her doctorate from Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Springer completed an internship and gained experience in the field of small animal medicine and surgery at the Michigan Veterinary Specialists in Detroit, Michigan.
Dr. Springer has devoted herself to caring for small animals of all kinds. She provides primary preventive health care on a regular basis, as well as urgent and emergency care when covering emergency services.Return to top
Erin Toone, DVM
Dr. Toone was born and raised in the Western New York area. She attended Alfred University for her undergraduate degree before going to veterinary school at Purdue University. After graduation she completed an internship in small animal medicine and surgery at Louisiana State University followed by an internship in internal medicine at Veterinary Specialists and Emergency Services in Rochester, New York. She has recently completed her residency in Small Animal Internal Medicine at Auburn University. Dr. Toone sat for her board certification exam in June 2021 and is happy to say that she passed. As soon as the research paper that she wrote is published she will be considered board certified.
In her free time, she enjoys hiking with her dog - Ben and hanging out with her cat - Toby. She looks forward to moving back to the area and exploring all the new things that Buffalo has to offer.Return to top
L. Scott Tyczka, DVM
L. Scott Tyczka, DVM, is a native western New Yorker who grew up in West Seneca. Dr. Tyczka completed his undergraduate degree, a bachelor of arts at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York, summa cum laude. He continued his education and received his doctorate in veterinary medicine and surgery from the New York State College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell in Ithaca, New York. Dr. Tyczka graduated as a member of Phi Zeta, a national veterinary honor society. He completed a post-graduate internship at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon, Canada.
Dr. Tyczka became a veterinarian to work with the animals he loved and found the diversity of the work possible as a veterinarian very interesting and compelling. Dr. Tyczka practiced as a veterinarian for about 10 years, and then took a sabbatical from full-time veterinary practice to bicycle across the United States. He worked part-time as a relief veterinarian and as a professional ski patroller at the Canyons Resort in Park City, Utah, during that time. Upon returning back to Western New York in 2003, Dr. Tyczka joined the Orchard Park Veterinary Medical Center and is one of our emergency doctors during the day and on weekends. He very much enjoys, and feels lucky, working with such a great team of talented and compassionate people. He takes great pleasure in reuniting once sick pets with their owners—the happy endings!
Besides Veterinary medicine, Dr. Tyczka has been a member of the National Ski Patrol for the past 25 years and patrols at Holimont. He is also an active triathlete and has completed numerous triathlons including both the grueling Ironman Mt. Tremblant (Quebec) triathlons as well as the famous Boston Marathon.Return to top
Melissa Wajda, DVM
Photo coming soon!
Dr. Melissa Wajda is a native of Western New York. She received her Bachelor's degree in biology at Canisius College and her Veterinary degree at Cornell University. Dr Wajda began working at the Orchard Park Veterinary Medical Center in the year 2000, practicing both general medicine and surgery along with critical/emergency medicine. Her interest in critical care medicine grew over the years and she now practices full time within the hospital's critical care/emergency service.
In her free time, she enjoys hiking, gardening and cooking along with spending time with her husband, two children and a menagerie of family pets.Return to top