Doctors & Staff
- Internal Medicine
- Dr. Jeremy Libby
- Dr. Kelsey Harris
- Dr. Mark McKenzie
- Dr. Christopher Powers
- Dr. Kelli Klein
- Dr. Ashley Williams
- Dr. Ann Marcario
- Dr. Megan Cook
- Dr. William Marscher
- Dr. Maria Flippo
- Dr. Amanda Edwards
- Dr. Christine Johnson
- Dr. Meaghan Delise
- Dr. Shannon Graham
- Dr. Angela Penrod
- Dr. Esther Schow
- Dr. Jess Nord
- Dr. John McFadden
- Dr. Brian Manly
- Critical Care
- Hospital Administrator
- Practice Managers
- Outreach Coordinator
Dr. Henri C. Bianucci
Dr. Henri Bianucci earned his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, where he graduated as the Salutatorian of his class. He completed his internship at the University of Missouri, earning the honor of Intern of the Year. He completed his surgical residency at Virginia –Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine (Virginia Tech) and in 1999 achieved Board certification with the American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS). As a resident at Virginia Tech College of Veterinary Medicine, he received the Bente Flatland Award for Compassionate Care as well as the Phi Zeta Award for Research Excellence. Upon completion of his surgical residency in 1998 he began practicing in Charleston and in the spring of 2000 he founded Veterinary Surgical Care.
Dr. Bianucci is actively involved in community service, which includes membership on the Board for Pet Helpers and active participation in fundraising campaigns for The Foundation for Tomorrow (TFFT), an institution dedicated to providing educations toTanzanian orphans. Dr. Bianucci was presented with the Special Volunteer Award by the Myrtle Beach Humane Society, for his care of an intentionally and severely burned puppy. He is also committed to serving for NGO Rescue and Humane Organizations by providing special arrangements for discounted medical and surgical.
Outside his work hours, Dr. Bianucci enjoys his Wadmalaw Island home with his family. He enjoys gardening and all the outdoor opportunities that life on the sea islands affords and time with his many pets, including his cat, Fence; 10 dogs, Trixie, Pepe, Po, Lotus, Punkin, Corkie, Nigel, Pie, Little, and Katie; horses, Ginny, Chief and Smurf; and chickens, Alfred III and Gloria III.
When asked about his work, Dr. Bianucci explains, “God has given me the gift of being able to make a living doing what I love. It’s a gift I appreciate more and more as time goes by. I take very seriously that people whom I have never met trust me to care for their pets and often put their pet’s life in my hands. I consider it my responsibility to fulfill that trust by giving them the best I can offer every time.”
Dr. Lori Ludwig
Lori Ludwig received her veterinary degree from the University of Pennsylvania. After veterinary school, she completed an internship at the Animal Medical Center, a multi specialty non profit veterinary teaching hospital in New York City. She completed a surgery residency and Master’s degree at the Ohio State University and became a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons. After her residency, she spent a year in a private practice in Akron, Ohio and then returned to the Animal Medical Center, where she served as the head of a surgery service for 7 years. During her time there, she instructed veterinary interns and residents in surgery and developed a minimally invasive surgery program (thoracoscopy and laparoscopy). She also started a kidney transplant program for cats. She moved to Charleston in 2004 and has been working with VSC since 2005 performing soft tissue, orthopedic and neurosurgery. Dr. Ludwig has been an invited national and international speaker in several areas in soft tissue and emergency surgery. She has authored several publications in both veterinary journals and textbooks and is currently serving as section editor for a new soft tissue surgery textbook.
Outside her time at work, she enjoys playing tennis, running and cooking. Her pets include Annie, a 10 year old mixed breed dog her husband rescued after she had been shot by her previous owner, Sylvio and Tito, kittens rescued by VEC and Phineas, a 5 year old domestic shorthair cat she adopted from the Charleston Animal Society.
Dr. Scott Averill
Dr. Scott Averill earned his veterinary degree from Michigan State University in 1994 where he graduated Magna Cum Laude. He completed his internship at Metropolitan Veterinary Hospital in Akron, Ohio. He completed his surgical residency and earned a Master of Science degree at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana in 1998. In 1999 Dr. Averill became board certified in veterinary surgery.
In 1998 Dr. Averill began practicing at Animal Emergency and Referral Center in the north shore of Chicago where he has been for the last 20 years as the head of surgery. Dr. Averill spent several years as the intern director responsible for training veterinary graduates and also served as the Medical Director. Dr. Averill enjoys all aspects of veterinary surgery with special interest in fracture repair, knee repair, and oncologic surgery.
Dr. Averill strives to make your surgical experience seamless and as stress free as possible. He understands and values the emotional bonds we make with our four legged family members.
Outside of work, Dr. Averill enjoys spending time with his wife Jamie, exercise, and any outdoor activity. Their pets include a French Bulldog named Marsellus and five cats named Farley, Lucille, Leroy, Floyd, and Frankie all rescued from various Chicago shelters.
Dr. Courtenay Freeman
Originally from South Carolina, Dr. Freeman is excited to return home and join Veterinary Specialty Care. Dr. Freeman completed her veterinary and neurology training at the University of Georgia, where she spent 9 years. She obtained her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine in 2003 graduating Magna Cum Laude and remained at UGA for an additional five years of training completing a one year medical/surgical rotating internship, a one year neurology/neurosurgery specialty internship, and a three year neurology/neurosurgery residency. Dr. Freeman successfully passed her neurology certifying examination and joined the small community of board certified veterinary neurologists in 2012.
After her residency, Dr. Freeman spent one year in private practice in Florida before moving to the UK to work as a senior neurologist at the Animal Health Trust, where she has been for almost two years. She was recognized by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons as a Specialist in Veterinary Neurology in 2013. Dr. Freeman enjoys clinical research and has evaluated intervertebral disc enhancement on MRI, Syringomyelia and Chiari-like malformation in the Brussels Griffon dogs, and novel treatments for intracranial gliomas in dogs. She has lectured at local and national veterinary meetings and has published articles and book chapters about intervertebral disc disease, head trauma, and brain tumors, among other topics. Dr. Freeman enjoys all aspects of veterinary neurology, but has a particular interest in neurosurgery and neuro-oncology.
Outside of work, Dr. Freeman’s five pets keep her busy. She has 3 cats (Mike, Abby, and Bigsby) and two active dogs (a standard wirehaired dachshund named Whidbey and a German wirehaired pointer named Hazel).
Dr. Valerie Nesser
Dr. Nesser received her veterinary degree from the Ohio State University in 2014. She then completed a rotating internship in small animal medicine and surgery at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, followed by a three year residency in small animal surgery at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Nesser moved to the Lowcountry to join the team at VSC in 2018 and is excited to be living closer to family.
While Dr. Nesser enjoys all aspects of surgery, her professional interests include orthopedics, emergency surgery, and minimally invasive surgery (arthroscopy, laparoscopy, thoracosocpy). She has authored several research papers, lectured at national conferences, and has worked on projects involving canine total hip replacement, feline ureteral stones, perioperative sepsis, and pain management. Her goal is to provide cutting edge surgical techniques that aim to minimize pain and recovery time, while optimizing outcome and quality of life.
Outside of work, Dr. Nesser enjoys yoga, the outdoors (especially the beach!), trying new restaurants and recipes and travel. Dr. Nesser lives with her husband and five furry family members including two pointer-mix rescue dogs (Moose and Luna), and three cats (Leo, Loki, and Piper).
Dr. Sharon Startup
Dr. Sharon Startup has the distinction of belonging to an elite group of specialists worldwide who has successfully completed the rigorous training and testing required to become a Diplomate of the American Veterinary Dental College (AVDC), the highest diploma in her field. Dr. Startup is the only board-certified veterinary dental specialist in east Tennessee and one of only seven boarded veterinary dentists in the southeast, excluding Florida. In addition, she is a member of the Academy of Veterinary Dentistry and the American Veterinary Dental Society.
Dr. Startup began performing dental procedures and oral surgery in 1997. Her passion for her field has led her to publish articles and book chapters and to teach senior veterinary students, veterinary interns, as well as private practitioners from around the globe.
Dr. Perry Jameson
Dr. Perry Jameson earned his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from North Carolina State University in 1991. He then completed an internship at Colorado State University followed by a residency in small animal internal medicine at the University of Georgia. Dr. Jameson is also a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine.
Beyond his work at Veterinary Specialty Care, he serves on the board for the Charleston Animal Society. In his leisure time, he enjoys hiking, camping, competing in triathlons, running, and biking. Besides his daughters and son, his favorite companions include his dog, Flipper, and his four cats: Polly, Ollie, Winky, and Inky. When asked about his profession, Dr. Jameson explains, “Pets are important members of our families and need to be treated as such. I probably have one of the best jobs in the world.”
Dr. Andrea Nicastro
Dr. Andrea Nicastro obtained her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the Ohio State University. She continued her education with a one-year rotating internship in small animal medicine and surgery at Veterinary Specialists of Rochester in New York and a two-year residency in small animal internal medicine at Angell Memorial Animal Hospital in Boston, MA. During her two-year residency, Dr. Nicastro studied all medical diseases of dogs and cats with specialized training in cardiology, gastroenterology, nephrology, endocrinology, hematology, infectious diseases, oncology, and neurology.
After obtaining board certification with the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, Dr. Nicastro worked as a clinical instructor at the University of Pretoria in South Africa and as an assistant professor at the University of Prince Edward Island in Canada for three years. With advanced training and experience in the diagnosis and management of medical diseases of the dog and cat, Dr. Nicastro will provide the most current treatment options for your pet. Her primary concern is your pet’s health and happiness.
Dr. Nicastro’s favorite leisure activities are traveling, kayaking, surfing, reading and studying foreign languages. She has one 10-year old cat named Weenie, a former blood donor from our clinic, who saved many of our patients’ lives during her blood-donating days.
Dr. Holly Mims
Dr. Holly Mims received her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from the University of Georgia in 2003. She completed a 1-year small animal medicine and surgery internship at The Virginia- Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine (aka Virginia Tech) followed by a 3-year internal medicine residency at Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists in Houston, Texas. She worked in private practice in North Carolina and Colorado prior to joining our team in August of 2010. In 2014, she became certified in veterinary acupuncture due to her desire to offer more alternative treatment options to her clients and patients. Dr. Mims is an active member of the American Veterinary Medical Association and local Veterinary Medical Association.
Dr. Mims is married to Dr. Jameson and they have four 2-legged children and three 4-legged children (1 dog and 2 cats). She enjoys cross fit, running, reading, and in the future she thinks she would like to learn to play the guitar. When asked about her work, she explains that she enjoys the bond that develops from working closely with pets, and their people, as they journey together on the path of discovery, recovery, and, even at times, loss.
Dr. Michelle Wall
Dr. Michelle Wall obtained her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from the University of Georgia. She then completed a small animal internship at Kansas State University, which was followed by a three year residency in small animal internal medicine at the University of Georgia. After obtaining board certification with the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine she realized that her primary interest was working with pets with cancer and their dedicated caregivers. Therefore she remained at the University of Georgia for an additional residency in oncology. After several years of working as a veterinary specialist in the upstate of South Carolina, Dr. Wall and her family decided to relocate to the coast and join our team.
Dr. Wall is dedicated to partnering with the families of pets with cancer and providing state of the art treatment options, but most importantly, providing a great quality of life for her patients. “Even though a diagnosis of cancer is challenging for the entire family, there are numerous treatment options available, and our furry family members can continue to enjoy a great quality life throughout their treatment process. My main priority is to aid my clients in making the best decisions for them and their furry family member.”
In her free time, Dr. Wall enjoys spending time with her husband and two sons, especially at the beach! Their constant companion is a bouncing dog named “Oreo”. When time allows she enjoys running, hiking, biking and reading.
Dr. Kathryn Taylor
Dr. Taylor obtained her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine in 2002 from Auburn University. After completing a one-year rotating internship at Angell Memorial Animal Hospital in Boston, Dr. Taylor returned to Auburn University to complete a three-year residency and Master’s degree in Oncology. She is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine–Oncology Specialty (DACVIM-Oncology). Dr. Taylor joined the VSC team in 2006. She is committed to offering the highest quality of care for your pet.
Describing her philosophy for caring for her patients, Dr. Taylor explains, “I understand that our pets are our family. Cancer can be a devastating diagnosis, but the treatment should not be a burden to our pets. Each pet and family is unique, and I strive to help all of my clients make the best decisions possible during difficult circumstances.”
When she is not working with patients, Dr. Taylor enjoys spending time with her husband, son and daughter, and they all enjoy spending time with the furry members of the Taylor family: their Goldendoodle, Charlie, and their dachshunds, Wyatt and Leo.
Dr. Kathy Sennello
We are excited to announce the arrival of Dr. Kathy Sennello. Dr. Sennello obtained her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana. She spent 3 years in private general practice outside of Chicago before returning to the University of Illinois for an internship in small animal medicine and surgery. Following her internship she moved on to a three-year residency and masters degree in small animal internal medicine at Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Sennello has been in private specialty practice for the last 6 years and has special interests in gastro-intestinal diseases and endocrinology.
Outside of work, Dr. Sennello is very interested in enjoying nature, being active, yoga and travel. She also enjoys spending time with her husband, John and their two mixed breed dogs, Oscar and Truman.
Dr. Beth Johnson
Dr. Beth Johnson obtained her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Purdue University. After a year rehabilitating wildlife in Sanibel Island, Florida, Dr. Johnson continued her education with a rotating internship in small animal medicine and surgery at Veterinary Referral and Emergency Center in Norwalk, CT followed by a residency in small animal internal medicine at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, TN.
After obtaining board certification with the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, Dr. Johnson remained at the University of Tennessee as an Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine for 5 years before moving to Charleston.
Dr. Johnson understands that animals can’t communicate or comprehend hospitals and medical procedures in the same way we do. She. therefore. prioritizes maximizing comfort and reducing stress during exams and procedures. Her goal is best medicine with an emphasis on quality of life.
Outside of work, Dr. Johnson can be found with her partner, Gretchen, and their own four-legged family, Wilbur, Winston, Maggie, Una-Shrimp and Sophie, running, boating, reading a good book or still exploring all of the adventure Charleston has to offer.
Dr. Jake Jacobson
Dr. Jake Jacobson was born and raised in Charleston, SC. Growing up in a family full of animal lovers and a house full of pets, he knew from an early age that he wanted to become a veterinarian. After attending Clemson University for his undergraduate degree, he moved to Athens to obtain his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Georgia. He then completed an internship in small animal medicine and surgery at Colorado State University followed by a cardiology internship in Tampa at Florida Veterinary Specialists. His education continued with a three-year cardiology residency at the Animal Medical Center in New York City. Before Dr. Jacobson began his residency he published his first article in the peer-reviewed Journal of Veterinary Cardiology. During his residency he was the chief investigator in the largest clinical trial to date in assessing safety and efficacy of diuretic therapy in canine congestive heart failure. Additionally, while in NYC, he was an official veterinarian of the Westminster Kennel Club for two consecutive years. Upon completion of his residency in 2015, he was awarded the Connie Liefer Award for Excellence in Research by the Caspary Research Institute. Dr. Jacobson is now a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine – Cardiology Specialty (DACVIM – Cardiology). He has a special interest in advanced techniques in echocardiography, treatment for congestive heart failure and minimally invasive cardiovascular procedures.
His main goal is to care for your pet as he would his own, treat you as he would his family, and work with your veterinarian as his partner. We are proud to have Dr. Jacobson as our Cardiologist.
Outside of work, Dr. Jacobson likes to take advantage of the ever-growing cultural and recreational activities the Lowcountry has to offer. Having seen Charleston grow over the past 30 years, he’s proud to be a part of this great community.
Dr. Aubrey Hirsch
Dr. Hirsch is honored to be one of the newest additions to the Internal Medicine team at Veterinary Specialty Care. Originally from Lexington, Kentucky, but spending much of her childhood in Topeka, Kansas, she completed her undergraduate degree at Saint Mary’s University in Winona, Minnesota. After experiencing her fair share of cold weather, Dr. Hirsch moved back to Kansas where she completed her veterinary degree at Kansas State University in 2014. She then went on to complete a rotating, small animal internship and internal medicine residency at Louisiana State University. Dr. Hirsch enjoys many aspects of internal medicine, but some of her areas of interest include infectious disease, hematologic disease, hepatobiliary disease, and clinical pharmacology.
As a child, her family drove from Kansas to Hilton Head, South Carolina every year for an annual beach vacation; it was always the most amazing time of the year! Since then, it has been one of her dreams to live near the beach. Dr. Hirsch and her husband are truly loving every aspect of Charleston, especially being able to take their three dogs (a black Labrador named Amos, a German Shorthair mix named Xoe, and a French bulldog named Mya) to the beach on the weekends.
Besides being a beach bum, she also enjoys doing anything outside in the sun including running, biking, or lounging on a patio with good food and drinks. She looks forward to continuing to explore Charleston and establishing herself, within Veterinary Specialty Care, in order to provide the absolute best care for your canine and feline “kiddos”.
Dr. Jeremy Libby
Dr. Jeremy Libby obtained his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1998. After graduation, he practiced at the Animal Medical Hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina for five years, gaining experience in internal medicine, surgery and emergency and critical care medicine.
Dr. Libby has been practicing emergency and critical care medicine in the Charleston area since 2003 and we are thrilled to have him as our Emergency Medical Director. Dr. Libby and the other staff members at Veterinary Emergency Care are committed to providing the most compassionate and practical patient care. He understands how difficult and challenging unexpected pet emergencies can be and will strive to work closely with you and your local veterinarian to achieve the best possible treatment for your pet.
Outside of the hospital, Dr. Libby enjoys spending time and traveling with his wife, fishing, surfing and hanging out with their American Foxhound, named Lady Mary, and hedgehog, named Penelope.
Dr. Kelsey Harris
Dr. Kelsey Harris obtained her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Oklahoma State University. She was born and raised in Rehoboth Beach , Delaware and received her Bachelor’s degree in Animal and Veterinary Sciences from Clemson University. She is excited to join the team at Veterinary Emergency Care North Charleston as an emergency clinician. She is passionate about serving people through their pets and providing exceptional patient care. In addition to emergency and critical care, her other special interests include oncology and endocrine diseases.
Dr. Harris enjoys spending her free time horseback riding, going to the beach, and staying active. She shares her home with her two poodle mixes Rowen and Oliver Twist.
Dr. Mark McKenzie
Dr. Mark McKenzie obtained his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine in 2002 from Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine. After graduating, Dr. McKenzie moved to Richmond, VA where he was an associate veterinarian in an equine ambulatory practice. Following a year and a half of practicing equine medicine he began practicing small animal medicine, emergency care, and surgery in a small animal practice in rural southeast PA.
In 2006, Dr. McKenzie began practicing small animal emergency and critical care medicine at Veterinary Emergency Care, and continues on this path with VEC today. Like all of the veterinarians at Veterinary Emergency Care, Dr. McKenzie is committed to providing quality emergency and critical care, with compassion, for your pet.
Dr. Christopher Powers
Dr. Christopher Powers received his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from the University of Tennessee in 1999. Following graduation, he worked at a small animal practice here in Charleston, SC for six years. His passion has always been emergency and critical care medicine. Therefore, he decided to take a position at Veterinary Emergency Care and has been with us since 2005.
Dr. Powers was born in India and was raised in an orphanage since two days after being born. He was adopted when he was 3-1/2 years old and grew up in Maryland. Dr. Powers has been blessed with a beautiful wife and two amazing sons. On his days off, he enjoys playing soccer, exercising, going to the beach, reading the Bible, wrestling with his Great Dane, and being a dad.
Dr. Kelli Klein
She grew up in Montpelier, VT and after high school moved to Charleston, SC to go to College of Charleston. She graduated with a BS in Psychology. Dr. Klein then spent the next few years working as a veterinary technician at a couple of clinics in the area. After some time she decided that she really wanted to pursue a career as a veterinarian. She went to Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine on the island of St. Kitt’s. She spent 3 years on the island and loved it. When she wasn’t studying she did a lot of hiking, snorkeling, and enjoying the fantastic weather! Her final year of vet school was completed at Auburn University in Alabama. As soon as she finished vet school (August 2010) she moved back to Charleston where she was lucky enough to get a job with Veterinary Emergency Care.
Besides working as a veterinarian, Dr. Klein enjoys going to the beach, reading, and hiking. She has two mixed breed dogs, that came from the island, and two cats.
Dr. Ashley Williams
Dr. Ashley Williams was born in New Jersey but growing up, both of her parents were in the military and she spent time living in various states on the east and west coast, and Europe. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from Rutgers University and obtained her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from University of California, Davis. Following graduation, she completed a rotating internship in small animal medicine at VCA Newark Animal Hospital in Newark Delaware. In addition to emergency and critical care, her interests include soft tissue surgery and endocrinology.
In her spare time, Dr. Williams enjoys traveling, yoga, and running. She shares her home with her cat, Gus, and her Labrador Retriever puppy, Savannah.
Dr. Ann Marcario
The first time the words came out of Dr. Marcario’s mouth “I want to be a veterinarian” she was 8 years old and her family NEVER let her forget it! She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, from SUNY Geneseo, in 1993 and her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine, from Ross University, in 1996. She went in thinking she wanted to specialize in Equine Sports Medicine and Orthopedics but was quickly snatched up by the Small Animal Surgery Team at Oklahoma State University where she completed clinics. Dr. Marcario went on to complete a rotational internship in 1999 at VCA Newark Animal Hospital in Newark, DE. During this time, she picked up a love for critical care as well. Years of different experiences ranging from ER clinician to general practice to relief work to medical director have afforded her many opportunities to expand her knowledge and talent base. She truly enjoys being in the ER. She loves the complex cases and the nursing care. She loves that it never gets boring and she is constantly learning! Dr. Marcario’s goal is to always provide the same quality of care to her patients as she would provide her own pets.
Dr. Marcario was born and raised in New York City but is thrilled to finally be living in a place she truly loves. In years past, she sang at Spoletto Festival with Carolina Voices and told her Mom that one day she would be back. She moved here Thanksgiving of 2013 to marry the love of her life and couldn’t be happier!
In her spare time, Dr. Marcario enjoys training and competing Brazilian jiu-jitsu and Krav Maga, traveling, outdoor sports, music, cooking, reading, going to the beach. The top of her list, though, are spending time with her husband, Brian, and their little furry family, Duchess and Finley, who they adopted together from Carolina Poodle Rescue.
Dr. Megan Cook
Dr. William Marscher
Dr. Maria Flippo
Dr. Maria Flippo is a native of South Carolina where she attended Clemson University and received her BS in Animal Science. She received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at Tuskegee University and graduated with summa cum laude honors. She completed a rotating internship at Regional Institute for Veterinary Emergencies and Referrals in Chattanooga, TN. There she focused primarily on emergency veterinary medicine. She then practiced at Animal Emergency Clinic in Greenville, South Carolina. She practices high-quality medicine and will provide your pets with the best care possible, treating them as if they were her own.
She enjoys spending time with her Chihuahua and two Labs: Tramp, Berta, and Marshal. If she’s not doing that, she is most likely traveling and checking things off of her bucket list with her husband.
Dr. Amanda Edwards
Dr. Amanda Edwards is a native of South Congaree, SC. She attended the University of South Carolina where she received her BS in Biology. She received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Tuskegee University where she graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2016. She completed a rotating small animal internship at Metropolitan Veterinary Specialists in Louisville, KY where she focused on emergency medicine, critical care, internal medicine, and surgery. Afterwards, she worked at the same clinic where she received additional training in critical care and internal medicine.
In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and 6 pets (3 dogs and 3 cats). She also enjoys kayaking, going to the beach, traveling, and Carolina football as well as being creative in any way possible. She is excited to be joining the team and helping the pets and pet owners of Charleston!
Dr. Christine Johnson
Dr. Christine Johnson is from South Carolina and is an unabashed Clemson fan. She went to Clemson University to get her Bachelor’s of Science in Animal and Veterinary Sciences in 2006, then went on to the University of Georgia for her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 2011. She stayed in Georgia for several years working at a couple overnight emergency clinics before moving back to South Carolina to be closer to family. After trying regular day practice for a few years, she learned that her real niche is in emergency medicine and decided to return to doing what she truly loved.
Outside of work she enjoys cooking, reading and horseback riding (when given half the chance). She has 2 cats and a horse though no dogs (at the moment).
Dr. Meaghan Delise
Dr. DeLise attended veterinary school at St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine and completed her clinical training at The University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. During veterinary school, she partook in a variety of international externships tending to a variety of wild animal species. She then completed a small animal and surgery rotating internship in Charlotte, North Carolina with Carolina Veterinary Specialists. After completing her internship, she practiced in general practice working with a variety of patients including dogs, cats, companion exotic animals, and wildlife species, before making the transition to emergency medicine with Veterinary Specialty Care. Her special interests within the clinical setting include internal medicine, infectious disease, and autoimmune diseases.
Outside of work, she spends time pursuing a master’s degree in public health. When not engaging in work or school, she enjoys traveling as much as possible, attending concerts, cooking, and spending time outdoors. Her pets include two cats named Pumpkin and Nigel, and a German Shepherd named Balou.
Dr. Shannon Graham
Dr. Graham grew up in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, so she is very excited to be back home and a part of Veterinary Specialty Care’s team!
She attended Clemson University, where she earned a degree in Animal Veterinary Sciences and a minor in Social Sciences in 2013. Dr. Graham obtained her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2017. After graduating, she completed a one-year Small Animal Medicine and Surgical Rotating Internship at Carolina Veterinary Specialists in Charlotte, North Carolina.
In her free time, Dr. Graham enjoys running and hiking with her dog, Cora, cheering on the Clemson Tigers, reading, enjoying happy hour on Shem Creek, and listening to live music.
One fun fact about her is that she has fostered over 60 puppies, until adoption, and managed to ‘foster fail’, or adopt, one of them (Cora)!
Dr. Angela Penrod
Dr. Penrod was born in Iowa where she met and married her husband. His career led them to live in various Midwest states and they eventually ended up in Lafayette, Indiana. During that time, she finished her pre-veterinary studies and was accepted into Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine where she received her degree.
After graduation, Dr. Penrod and her husband moved back to Iowa where she worked in an AAHA certified practice with a central hospital and 4 satellite offices. As the newest hire, she was most often on-call for emergencies and, since calls arrived from satellites located in 4 different cities, she gained experience quickly working with the sheer number of patients she saw! Several years later, Dr. Penrod also worked moonlight shifts for the newly opened Animal Emergency Center of the Quad Cities in addition to her day job. She eventually left the day practice to work full time at the Emergency Center for 5 years.
Dr. Penrod has 2 adopted sons and, during a family vacation to the Lowcountry, they fell in love with the area and vowed to move here someday. They arrived in 2013, and not finding any emergency work at the time, she has been working at a local day practice. Dr. Penrod enjoys emergency medicine because she likes being able to help people and their pets when they are hurting. It’s one of the primary reasons she chose her career; she remembered how frustrated and helpless she felt when her beloved pets were ill and she wanted to help others who felt the same for these loving beings.
Dr. Penrod was very excited to found out that Veterinary Specialty Care is opening a new hospital in Summerville and is thrilled to join the Emergency team! She thoroughly enjoys living in the South where she can enjoy her pool on days off as well as drawing, reading and spending time with her pets and husband.
Dr. Esther Schow
Dr. Esther Schow grew up in Anderson, SC and is excited to return to South Carolina after 8 years in other states. Dr. Schow attended Houghton College, in Western-New York, where she received a Bachelor of Science in Biology, then attended Tuskegee University where she graduated Cum Laude with her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. Since her very first job in the veterinary field, Dr. Schow knew she had a special interest in emergency medicine and is very excited and honored to join Veterinary Specialty Care’s Emergency team.
Aside from veterinary medicine, Dr. Schow enjoys all things outdoors (hiking, gardening, kayaking, etc.), routinely consumes several books a month, and can never spend enough time with her two miniature Dachshunds, Kanga & Roo.
Dr. Jess Nord
Dr. Jess Nord is a Pennsylvania native and graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. After a one-year rotating internship at Washington, D.C.’s sole Specialty and Emergency veterinary hospital, she moved to Scranton, PA, where she practiced Emergency Medicine while her husband completed medical school. When she found out that her husband would be completing a Pathology residency at MUSC, Jess was more than happy to trade dreary days and “The Office” references for sunshine and surf.
A self-proclaimed “cat lady,” Jess adores her 3 furry felines despite their frequent bad behavior. When not at work, you can find her at CrossFit, perusing farmer’s markets and antiques stores, working on a half-finished crafting project, or living up to her newfound Charleston moniker, “that person who walks her cat around the neighborhood on a leash.” Jess is thrilled to be a part of the Emergency team at Veterinary Specialty Care, as she believes in the power and importance of a community-focused, privately-owned veterinary hospital.
Dr. John McFadden
Dr. John McFadden was raised in the Charleston/Mount Pleasant area and attended Clemson University where he received his undergraduate degree in Animal Veterinary Sciences. He then attended St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine in Grenada, West Indies, and finished his clinical year of veterinary school at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA. Following graduation, Dr. McFadden accepted a position with the Emergency and Critical Care service, where he worked until beginning a rotating internship in Small Animal Medicine and Surgery at VCA Alameda East in Denver, CO. Through his education and experience, Dr. McFadden has found emergency medicine and anaphylaxis to be his areas of special interest.
After 10 years of experiencing life around different parts of the country and world, Dr. McFadden is very excited to finally be back home with friends and family and part of the team at Veterinary Specialty Care! In his free time, he loves to be on the water, fishing, surfing, or sailing. He also enjoys spending time in the mountains and on the rivers in the Upstate.
Dr. Brian Manly
Dr. Brian Manly grew up in Asheville, North Carolina. He attended the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and a minor in Chemistry in 2011. Dr. Manly obtained his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2018. After graduating, he completed a one-year Small Animal Medical and Surgical Rotating Internship at the Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine in Columbus, Ohio. During his training Dr. Manly has developed a passion for emergency/critical care medicine as well as cardiology and surgery.
In his free time, Dr. Manly enjoys running and hiking with his dog, Moose, surfing, reading and spending time with family and friends.
Dr. Teresa Rieser
We welcomed Dr. Rieser to our team, from California, in May 2018! The addition of a Board Certified Criticalist, to our team, will continue to grow our well rounded, highly skilled, medical team. We are proud to have her as part of the Veterinary Specialty Care team as she is the most experienced Criticalist in the state of South Carolina.
Dr. Rieser graduated with her veterinary degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1995. She did a rotating internship in Small Animal Medicine and Surgery at the University of Georgia and then returned to the University of Pennsylvania for her residency in Small Animal Emergency and Critical Care Medicine. She earned her board certification in 1999. She remained at the University of Pennsylvania for one year as a lecturer in Small Animal Emergency and Critical Care. In 2000 she joined the VCA Newark Animal Hospital as the Director of Emergency Medicine. Over the next twelve years, she became the Intern Director, Residency Director and finally the Medical Director for Specialty Medicine. In 2012 when she moved to Los Angeles, CA to become a staff criticalist at the VCA West Los Angeles Animal Hospital where she also trained residents and interns. Dr. Rieser has spoken at numerous national meetings on a variety of emergency and critical care topics. In addition, Dr. Rieser has authored a number of journal articles and book chapters on topics in emergency and critical care medicine.
Dr. Rieser is extremely excited to join the team at Veterinary Specialty Care. She has a special interest in electrolyte and acid-bases disturbances but she enjoys just about all aspects of critical care.
When she is not working, Dr. Rieser enjoys knitting and spending time with her husband and pets especially if they are watching a lively ice hockey game.
Stephanie M. Albanese, CVPM
Hospital Administrator and Practice Manager for the Internal Medicine, Cardiology and Oncology Department
Stephanie M. Albanese grew up in Kentucky, where her family bred and showed St. Bernards and Great Pyrenees. She spent more time in a dog kennel than a child’s crib. After receiving her degree in Marine Science from Coastal Carolina University, she moved to Sarasota, FL to work at Mote Marine Laboratory. While at Mote Marine, she learned that she missed being around the furry animals she grew up with and obtained a job as a kennel assistant at a veterinary hospital. While at this hospital, she gained several years of valuable experience as a technician and then as a manager.
In 2005, she moved back to the Carolina’s and started working for Veterinary Medical Care, LLC. Fourteen years later, Stephanie is now the Hospital Administrator of Veterinary Specialty Care while still continuing to manage the Internal Medicine practice. Stephanie says, ” I am so incredibly proud to be part of an organization that has such a dynamic group of Doctors and support staff. I can honestly say that every member of our team has nothing but the patients’ and their parents’ best interests at heart. Each and every team member strives, every day, to provide the best quality of medicine and surgical care there is to offer. That is something pretty amazing to be a part of.”
Stephanie enjoys reading and gardening as well as cheering on the New York Yankees and Kentucky Wildcats with her husband, Chad. They share their home on John’s Island with Curtis, a Golden Retriever/English Setter mix, Thurman, an old Lab/Hound mix and Penelope, a Lab/Great Dane mix.
Michelle grew up in Ohio. She spent her younger years being active in 4-H raising and showing rabbits, being active in both marching and concert band and riding four wheelers. She graduated from Bowling Green State University with a Bachelors of Science in Interior Design. Michelle began managing employees while working for BGSU dining services while attending college. After working her way through college she moved to Charleston in 2003. This is when she became involved in the veterinary field. Michelle started with Veterinary Emergency Care in 2003 as a kennel/technician assistant. She continued to grow her knowledge and skills. Michelle grew into management as her interest and skill level continued to grow with VEC. She is the Practice Manager for our North Charleston emergency department.
Michelle spends her free time cheering for the Buckeyes, traveling, running and snuggling with her dog Dory.
Megan grew up in Greenville, SC with a fish pond in her backyard and her first furry love was a bunny named Oreo. She attended The Fine Arts Center in Greenville, SC for voice in conjunction with a public high school before graduating from University of South Carolina, go Gamecocks!! After graduation, she accepted a manager position in retail with Kohl’s Department Store and worked for several years with this company as well as Ann Taylor Loft before changing careers into the veterinary field. Megan worked as a Practice Manager of Banfield Pet Hospital and collaborated with many different doctors and veterinary professionals across the company’s 1,000+ locations and ultimately fell in love with seeing animals every day and connecting with the owners and their pets. Now, she is expanding her knowledge as the Practice Manager of our Surgery and Neurology department.
Megan enjoys outdoor activities but mostly going to the beach, kickball, volleyball, and paddle boarding. Another favorite pastime is visiting local breweries with her fluffy Goldendoodle, Belle.
Practice Manager of the Emergency Department – Mount Pleasant
At a young age, Natalie realized how much she loved caring for and being around animals. If she wasn’t playing sports or hanging out with friends, you could find Natalie volunteering at local animal shelters and pet sitting. In middle school, her family welcomed her very first pet, a chocolate Shar-Pei named Mikey.
In 2011, Natalie graduated from The Ohio State University with her Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology. The passing of one of her familys’ beloved dogs convinced her that a career with animals was where she belonged. . For several years, Natalie and her husband were very active with a local rescue, volunteering and fostering dogs. During that time, they became ‘failures’ of the best kind and their family grew from 2 to 4 dogs. After graduating from Ohio State, she worked for several years in veterinary general practice as an office assistant.
Dreams of a life in the south, surrounded by palm trees and the smell of salt water air, filled the minds of her and her husband and in August 2017 they made their dream of moving to Charleston, and away from the cold and snow, a reality. Natalie started at Veterinary Specialty Care as a Client Service Representative for the Emergency Department, working her way into the new position as Outreach Coordinator. She is passionate and dedicated to her new role, helping the staff to further exceed expectations of pet parents, sharing the life changing work that is done daily in the hospitals and improving the connection between our emergency and referral hospital and primary veterinarians.
Outside of her position, Natalie enjoys spending time with her husband, their Shar-Pei, Mikey, and three rescued Puggles, Carmichael, Bentley and Allie. Their favorite activities include exploring Charleston, especially with their four legged children, Crossfit and anything active, redoing their home together, traveling as often as possible, cheering on her Buckeyes, and day trips to the beach.