Doctors & Staff
- Internal Medicine
- 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. Kathryn 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 and son, and they all enjoy enjoy spending time with the furry members of the Taylor family: their Goldendoodle, Charlie, and their dachshund, Wyatt.
Dr. Gabrielle Angelo
Dr. Gabrielle Angelo obtained her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from the University of Tennessee. She then completed internships in small animal medicine and as well as oncology at BluePearl Veterinary Specialists in Franklin, TN. Dr. Angelo completed a three-year residency in small animal internal medicine at the New England Veterinary Oncology Group in Waltham, MA. Following completion of her residency, Dr. Angelo decided to move to Charleston and join the Veterinary Specialty Care team.
Dr. Angelo’s focus is on quality of life for her patients as well as helping her clients choose the best treatment option for their family since there is no one “correct” answer in regards to treatment options. Additionally, Dr. Angelo feels that it is important that her clients are educated about their pet’s illness and treatment so decisions can be made together as a team.
Dr. Angelo enjoys spending time with her fiance and pets, especially Apple and Pear who are her two grumpy cats. In her free time, she enjoys sampling the regional cuisine that Charleston has to offer.
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 Ramantanin
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. Donalyn Sauser
Dr. Donalyn Sauser received her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine. Initially after graduation, she practiced in several overnight emergency clinics in Ohio. She has spent the last ten years at a specialty hospital outside of Chicago, Illinois. There she worked closely with the specialists and helped to manage their cases overnight and through the weekend all while continuing to see and treat incoming emergency cases. She strives for a united team in providing optimal care for all hospitalized patients and believes this helps to reduce an owner’s stress when their “fur kid” is ill. During her time in Illinois, she also helped to mentor interns as they rotated through their internship year. Dr. Sauser also has experience in relief work for general practitioners. When working relief, she continued to encourage a strong veterinarian: client relationship while educating and promoting pet wellness.
When not working, Dr. Sauser loves to travel and exploring new places. She enjoys most outdoor activities, especially if on or in the water! She also enjoys cooking, baking, reading, and watching the daily antics of her cat named Mahi-mahi.
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. 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.
Donna R. Recupido, CVPM
Donna has over 25 years’ experience in the field of veterinary medicine in such roles as technician, client service specialist, CVPM (Certified Veterinary Practice Manager) in both general practice and ER/Specialty settings. Donna currently holds the position of Hospital Administrator for Veterinary Specialty Care where she is involved with all specialties, their employees as well as hospital operations at both the North Charleston, Mount Pleasant locations and in 2019 will add our new Summerville location to that list. Donna is a member of the Veterinary Hospital Managers’ Association (VHMA) & Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society (VECCS).
Donna is a Davenport University graduate, with a B.S. degree in Business Administration. She is honored to have achieved her Certified Veterinary Practice Manager (CVPM) certification. Donna regularly contributes articles to Firstline, VHMA, VSIPP and Veterinary Economics & was one of the consultants working with Idexx and Veterinary Economics Management Overhaul contest. Donna has lectured on a variety of practice management & client service topics at veterinary conferences including Central Veterinary Conference, Wild West Veterinary conference, Michigan Veterinary Conference, South Carolina Association of Veterinarians, VHMA manager’s retreat and the APVC in in Halifax, Nova Scotia along with presenting webinars for the Veterinary Hospital Manager’s Association.
Donna was born and raised in Chicago and spent several years in Saugatuck, Michigan before fulfilling her lifelong dream of palm trees, ocean walks and no snow. She now calls Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina home. Luckily South Carolina has no professional sports teams so no harm in staying true to her home town Chicago sports teams.
Donna is a devoted mom to 5 amazing children who are truly the light of her life. She has 5 grandchildren that she loves to brag about. Of course she shares her home with her 4-legged children as well including 2 Miniature Dachshunds, Carmine, 2 rescued Chihuahua’s named Tink and Pele and most recently a kitten named Ophelia.
Stephanie M. Albanese, CVPM
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 ones she grew up with and obtained a job at a veterinary hospital as a veterinary assistant. While at this hospital, she gained several years of valuable experience, as a technician and a manager. After 6 years, she had worked her way up from a veterinary assistant to head technician, managing over 10 employees. In 2005, she moved back to the Carolina’s and started working for Veterinary Medical Care, LLC
Stephanie enjoys reading, gardening, hanging out by the pool with her husband, Chad. They share their home on John’s Island with Curtis, a 6 year Golden Retriever/English Setter mix, Thurman, a 5 month old Lab/Hound Mix, Penelope a 4 year Lab Mix and Chloe, an 18 year old Calico Domestic Short Hair.
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.
Chris Cifuentes was raised in Miami, FL and recently relocated to South Carolina to be closer to extended family. His passion for animals stems from his multiple furry companions that he grew up with. His love for Veterinary Medicine has remained constant, over the past eight years, growing from a Veterinary Technician to Practice Manager of our surgery department.
Outside of work, Chris enjoys spending time with his family, including his wife, daughter and four-legged kids: Oliver, a one-year-old American Bulldog mix and three cats, Pichi, Chloe and Darth Victor. His other hobbies include traveling, fishing, and scuba diving.
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.