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 most of her spare time training and trialing her Shetland sheepdogs in agility. She also shares her home with one cat, Sophie, and a blue-fronted Amazon parrot, Alex. Dr. Amioka enjoys gardening and spending time outdoors with her dogs.

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David G. Brummer, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM

David G. Brummer, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM, knew he wanted to be a veterinarian since the third grade. After graduating from Amherst College, he entered the New State College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University in 1980. He received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, with distinction, in 1984. After completing an internship in small animal medicine and surgery at the Animal Medical Center in New York City, he returned to Cornell for a residency in small animal medicine. In 1991, he became a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Medicine (ACVIM).

Dr. Brummer and his wife, Mary, are both veterinarians and both practice at Orchard Park Veterinary Medical Center. They met while classmates at Cornell. The Drs. Brummer have two children. Gordon is working toward his PhD in photonics at Boston University. Hannah is close to home at the University at Buffalo School of Medicine.

Dr. Brummer joined the staff of the Orchard Park Veterinary Medical Center in 1993 and became a partner in 1995. As a board-certified internist, he specializes in internal medicine. This specialty includes diseases of the heart, lungs, gastrointestinal tract, kidneys, liver, hormonal organs, and nervous system. The average day might find him performing ultrasound examinations, administering chemotherapy, performing minimally invasive biopsy procedures, and performing a neurologic examination.

When not at work, Dr. Brummer enjoys oil painting, reading, gardening, and spending time with his family. He is an active member and elder of the Orchard Park Presbyterian Church, where he regularly leads adult Christian education classes.

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Courtney Burke, DVM

Bio coming soon!

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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. Now board certified in medical 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, joining Orchard Park Veterinary Medical Center in 2016. She looks forward to providing help and hope to more families whose pets have been diagnosed with cancer.

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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!).

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Stacy Dralle, DVM

Stacy Dralle, 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, exotic 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 ball python, Mumbles. One of her hobbies outside of work is running, and she recently completed a half marathon and would like to try to complete a whole marathon in the near future.

Dr. Dralle is a member of the AVMA, Western New York Veterinary Medical Society, and the Niagara Frontier Medical Society (NFVS). She has been a board member of the NFVS since 2010.

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James Fingeroth, DVM, Diplomate ACVS

James Fingeroth, DVM, Diplomate ACVS, hails originally from New York City, but spent his college years in upstate New York, earning his bachelor of science degree at Hobart College in Geneva, and then his doctorate from the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine in Ithaca.

After graduation from veterinary medical school, Dr. Fingeroth was selected as an intern/first-year resident at New York City's prestigious and world famous Animal Medical Center (AMC). He was then asked to stay on at the AMC for his surgery residency and completed his second year of training at the AMC. Dr. Fingeroth then had the opportunity to expand his horizons by completing the final two years of residency training in small animal surgery at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. Upon completing his formal residency, Dr. Fingeroth remained two more years at Ohio State, joining the faculty as an adjunct assistant professor of surgery. In 1988, Dr. Fingeroth passed the rigorous American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS) certifying examination in veterinary surgery, making him at that time one of only 350 board-certified veterinary surgeons in the world. Only veterinarians who have completed a residency in surgery and passed the certifying examination are qualified to be called specialists in veterinary surgery. That same year, he relocated to Rochester, New York, where he helped found and establish Veterinary Specialists of Rochester.

Over the next 20 years, he helped recruit numerous other specialists to upstate New York and also helped train dozens of graduate veterinarians through internship and residency programs. He is proud to count a number of board-certified specialists in surgery, neurology, internal medicine, oncology, emergency medicine, pathology, dentistry, and ophthalmology among those he helped to train early in their post-graduate careers.

Dr. Fingeroth decided to pursue veterinary medicine as an ideal way to combine his compassion for and wanting in general to help animals, with his interest in science and medicine. He believes that the pursuit of post-graduate education and training through internship, formal residency, and time spent in a faculty position had the greatest influence on his career. These experiences not only provided him with skills and knowledge well beyond the basic veterinary degree, but also ingrained lifelong habits of keeping up with state of the art and seeking better solutions to problems encountered in the daily practice of veterinary medicine. The post-graduate experience also helped him to forge close relationships with leading specialists from around the globe, providing ongoing intellectual stimulation and camaraderie that carries on even decades later.

Dr. Fingeroth joined the Orchard Park Veterinary Medical Center in 2009 as the senior staff surgeon three days a week. He is a nationally and internationally recognized expert in various surgical fields, including orthopedics, neurosurgery, endocrine, and oncological (cancer) surgery. In addition to his work at Orchard Park Veterinary Medical Center, Dr. Fingeroth is a senior consultant to the Veterinary Information Network (VIN), which is an online consulting service for veterinarians around the world. He serves as reviewer for several major scientific journals, contributes chapters to a large number of widely read veterinary textbooks, is the author or co-author of numerous publications in scientific journals, consults with various industry partners in developing new surgical techniques and devices, and is the author/editor of the first ever veterinary textbook focused on intervertebral disc disease in dogs and cats.

In addition to his own clinical duties at Orchard Park Veterinary Medical Center, Dr. Fingeroth provides ongoing mentoring to Dr. Paul Kloc, our residency-trained veterinarian who also limits his practice to surgery, as well as providing consultations on surgical issues to our associate staff veterinarians in the community portion of our practice. He works closely with Dr. David Brummer, practice partner and board-certified internist here at the Orchard Park Veterinary Medical Center, in providing state-of-the-art specialty services to our referral and community practice, as well as consulting on emergency cases. Dr. Fingeroth prides himself on his ability to help his patients through his surgical skills but he takes equal pride in assisting his clients by providing candid, easy-to-understand advice involving surgery, as well as finding ways to help pets without resorting to surgery.

Dr. Fingeroth is available by appointment for consultation on a wide range of surgical or potential surgical problems. A referral from a primary care veterinarian is required for his consultation and surgical services. His surgical expertise includes joint replacement (he has been performing total hip replacements since 1984), knee surgery, fracture repair, spinal and brain surgery, and a wide variety of thoracic and abdominal surgeries. He is also respected as an oncologic surgeon, including major tumor resections and reconstructions for maxillofacial and oral tumors, chest tumors, and other complex cases. Dr. Fingeroth's continuing goals are to provide the best service he can to his referred clients and to try to improve the overall level of quality of veterinary services offered at Orchard Park Veterinary Medical Center and to the western New York community.

On a personal note, Dr. Fingeroth lives in Mendon, New York, with his wife, Robbie, and a menagerie that includes a large number of canines, cats, horses, and an assortment of rodents and fish. He is an avid Native American horseman and has been a licensed pilot since 1973. He enjoys flying for pleasure, business, and also provides charity flights for people through Angel Flight/Patient Airlift Services and for animals through Animal Rescue Flights and People N Paws. In his spare time when not flying or horseback riding/training, Dr. Fingeroth enjoys reading, music, native craftwork, hiking, and solitude.

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Melanie J. Hall, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM

Melanie J. Hall, 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!

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Kathryn Flesher, DVM

Dr. Flesher graduated from St. George’s University Veterinary School of Medicine after spending her clinical year at the University of Florida. Following veterinary school, she pursued an internship in small animal medicine and surgery at the Animal Medical Center in New York City and then furthered her surgical training with a surgical internship at Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists in Houston, Texas.

Dr. Flesher completed a surgical residency in small animal surgery at Veterinary Specialists and Emergency Services in Rochester, New York. Her current interests and professional focus includes soft tissue surgery, minimally invasive surgery and orthopedic surgery.

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L. Mark Hedges, DVM

L. Mark Hedges, DVM, grew up in Ohio, north of Columbus. He received his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from The Ohio State University. Dr. Hedges joined the Orchard Park Veterinary Medical Center early on when the practice was still owned by Jack Laurie, DVM. Dr. Laurie was his first mentor and a gifted surgeon who taught Dr. Hedges surgical techniques and inspired and trained him to perform more advanced surgeries. In 1995, Dr. Hedges became one of the partners of the current practice. He is a now a primary health care provider for his patients, but still enjoys performing more complicated surgeries and is the practice's "back-up" surgeon when needed. Dr. Hedges says that it is his partners, Dr. David Brummer, ACVIM, and Dr. Susan Metzger, DVM, who further influenced him to stay on as a partner because of their knowledge, integrity, and dedication to the profession and practice of veterinary medicine. Dr. Hedges is very proud to have played a small part in the growth and reputation of the current practice.

Dr. Hedges was inspired to become a veterinarian by his father, who was a high school vocational agriculture teacher. When young, Dr. Hedges used to ride around with him when he visited his students during the summer months to check on their livestock projects. He loved watching his father work with the animals and the students and was inspired by the work. When he was old enough, Dr. Hedges raised sheep on his grandmother's farm along with a pony and cared for his family pets at home. Combining his love for animals and his deep interest in science and biology seemed a natural lead in to veterinary medicine.

Dr. Hedges' personal accomplishment that he is most proud of is of the family that he and his wife, Grace, have been blessed with. He has four wonderful daughters and two grandchildren, with another on the way. Dr. Hedges loves gardening and helping his daughters on their home projects as well as his own, as he fixes and plays caretaker for a cabin on a lake in Quebec, Canada, he inherited, that always needs work! All of his pets over the years have been rescued strays or adopted because of underlying health issues. His current canine is Buddy (such an original name), an "atypical" Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Buddy loves to play ball and to guard and protect his beloved master and home from all "wanted" and "unwanted" visitors. Trixie is his other spoiled pet. She is your typical cat that lounges wherever she wants and demands (and gets) to be fed whenever she wants. Dr. Hedges donates to many various animal health agencies and is very active in his local church.

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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.

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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.

Dr. 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 the 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, and neurosurgery. 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 expand his surgical capabilities to include arthroscopy and laparoscopy.

Dr. Kloc lives with his wife, Kelly, and their four children in East Aurora, New York. He is a native sports enthusiast and enjoys watching the Buffalo Sabres and the Buffalo Bills. In the last year, the Klocs have added Abigail, a purebred English bulldog to their family. On a personal note, Dr. Kloc would also like to learn to fly and attain a pilot's license.

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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 Debalko

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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.

Dr. 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 husband, son, dog Kilo and two cats, Papi and Chulo. She also has a special interest in the limitless benefits of essential oils, and uses them routinely in her daily life, from cleaning to helping with illness and for health and well-being. She is actively learning the benefits and uses of essential oils for medicinal purposes in animals as well.

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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 on three of the overnight shifts, 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 does not 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 a spear), and she is one of the top 10 women in the world for the last three out of four years. 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.

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Susan Metzger, DVM

Susan Metzger, DVM, was raised in the western New York area. She received her bachelor of science from Cornell in 1977 and her doctorate from the NYS College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell in 1983. Upon graduation, she joined the Orchard Park Veterinary Medical Center, and in 1995 she became one of the three current partners.

Dr. Metzger decided to become a veterinarian when she was about 10 years old. Her mother is a great animal lover, and their home was always a place where the neighborhood kids brought sick, injured, or orphaned animals. While in high school, she developed a strong interest in science, so a career in veterinary medicine just seemed to make sense.

When not working, Dr. Metzger loves the outdoors and enjoys hiking, biking, skiing, and gardening. Her goal is to still enjoy all these things when she is 80! Her family consists of her husband, Jay; their two sons, Jon and Matthew; and two "slightly used" felines.

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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 has keen interest in caring for avian and exotic animals as well as cats and dogs. She 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 active in area Boy Scouting and local 4H programs, including the Marilla Lads & Lassies and Flopper Hoppers. The family shares their home with Eureka Jack, a rabbit, and Marissa, a bird.

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.

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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.

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Emily Rabener, DVM

Dr. Emily Rabener is a 2009 graduate from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. She also has graduate degrees in music theory and computer science from Northwestern University. Dr. Rabener was a software designer for Microsoft Corporation in Seattle WA when she realized that she really did want to be a veterinarian when she grew up. After moving across the country to study veterinary medicine in Illinois, she decided to settle in western New York rather than return home to Seatlle after graduation. She has been practicing in the area since 2009.

Dr. Rabener has additional training and experience in orthopedic surgery and veterinary dentistry. Her special clinical interests include diseases of the canine stifle, soft tissue surgery, and critical care medicine. Dr. Rabener serves on the boards of the Niagara Frontier Veterinary Society and the Pet Emergency Fund, is adjunct faculty at Medaille College's veterinary technician program, and has served as an officer in the United States Army Reserve Veterinary Corps. In addition, she has experience working in animal shelters and feline exclusive practice.

When she's not working, Dr. Rabener enjoys an eclectic mix of hobbies including the preservation and restoration of Buffalo's historic buildings, vintage motor bikes, and pre-prohibition style cocktails. At her home in Allentown, with the help of her two cats, she and her husband maintain a constant and rigorous inquiry into the mysterious feline psyche.

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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, 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. Dr. Rickwald enjoys outdoor activities like hiking, camping, and biking and is not ashamed to admit he likes video games too! Dr. Rickwald has a lovely cat, Jasmine, and a ball python, named Tonga, as pets. He 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.

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Susan Springer, DVM

Susan Springer, DVM, is a native western New Yorker growing up and still residing in Tonawanda, New York. She kept the local connection and graduated from Kenmore East High School. Dr. Springer 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. Dr. Springer has an interest in canine reproduction and assists with the reproductive health of many canine patients.

When not working, she enjoys outdoor activities such as swimming and gardening. She shares her house with her two cats, a gray domestic short hair named Grayson and an orange tabby named Tib.

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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 veterinarian and as a professional ski patroller at the Canyons Resort in Park City, Utah, during that time. After taking this year off from the full-time practice of veterinary medicine, he found he missed the work, the patients, and clients very much and again entered the practice as a full-time veterinarian. 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!

Dr. Tyczka would like to someday complete the Ironman Triathlon. He is still part of the National Ski Patrol. Dr. Tyczka also strives to be the best veterinarian he can be professionally, another kind of triathlon! He is married and has a loveable cat, a tabby cat named Tabby.

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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.

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Katherine Zawadzki, DVM

Katherine Zawadzki, DVM, is a native of New York City. She received her bachelor of science in biological science degree with a concentration in medicine from the University of Buffalo and attended St. George's University, School of Veterinary Medicine, on the Island of Grenada in the West Indies, to follow her childhood dream of becoming a veterinarian. Dr. Zawadzki completed her clinical training at North Carolina State University, and then returned to New York City to complete an internship in small animal medicine and surgery at the Animal Medical Center.

Dr. Zawadzki returned to western New York to be with her fiancé, who also services the local community as an emergency physician. She practiced for a few years in other western New York practices before joining Orchard Park Veterinary Medical Center. She is honored to have joined a group of such talented people and looks forward to providing optimal care to your pet! She is part of our primary care practice seeing patients for wellness care and treats patients who are sick and injured as part of our emergency practice. Dr. Zawadzki has an interest in dermatology and soft tissue surgery and looks forward to participating in local governing associations. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors, likes to exercise, and likes to try our local gourmet and comfort foods!

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Retired Veterinarians

Mary Brummer, DVM

Mary Brummer, DVM, was raised in western New York. She received her undergraduate degree, a bachelor of arts in biology, from the State University of New York at Buffalo. She then earned her doctorate from Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine in Ithaca, New York. Dr. Brummer spent her final summer before graduation from Cornell working at Orchard Park Veterinary Medical Center learning animal nursing care and assisting in surgical procedures. After graduation, she joined the team of veterinarians here. She has been practicing at Orchard Park Veterinary Medical Center since 1988.

Dr. Brummer has been interested in animal health and medicine since her teenage years. She was surrounded by science and art as a child, as were her three older brothers who also sought education and careers as physicians. During her college years, Dr. Brummer was encouraged by supportive veterinarians and professors who mentored her and stayed in touch through her veterinary training. Additionally, she developed strong personal friendships with classmates while at Cornell, including one in particular, David Brummer, now Dr. David Brummer, DVM, ACVIM, and they were later married. She returned to Orchard Park Veterinary Medical Center when David completed his internal medicine residency.

Dr. Brummer is proud to be part of the Orchard Park Veterinary Medical Center because this hospital offers the most advanced, caring veterinary practice in the region. She believes that our excellent reputation is the result of many years of hard work, good service, and high standards of care. Major advantages for patients at our hospital include having veterinary specialists on staff, our stellar support staff, and our 24-hour emergency service available for all. The new hospital building is welcoming, bright, and clean—a very comfortable place for a pet to visit. Dr. Brummer sees sick and well patients for preventive care, annual checkups, vaccinations, surgery, and emergency treatment.

She enjoys gardening, music, playing flute, cooking, and floral design. She and Dr. David Brummer have two adult children-one recently graduated with his PhD and the other; she recently completed medical school and started a residency program.

Dr. Mary retired from OPVMC in May 2017 after 33 great years at the hospital. She is thoroughly enjoying all the riches of life including family, friends, food, travel and gardening.

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