Meet Our Team of Board-Certified Specialists and Emergency Veterinarians
In order to be called a specialist in their specific discipline, our veterinarians must first complete many years of specialized training, with an internship and residency at an accredited institution. Diplomate status is obtained by our veterinarians who have successfully passed rigorous specialty boards following their residency program completion.
VSES Medical Director
Simon Kirk, DVM
Dr. Kirk's Bio
Dr. Simon Kirk is the Medical Director of Veterinary Specialists and Emergency Services. Since joining the hospital in 2002, he has maintained his active clinical practice as an attending emergency clinician.
Dr. Kirk earned his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from the Atlantic Veterinary College in Prince Edward Island. He then completed his internship training in Small Animal Medicine and Surgery at VSES.
Originally from Canada, Dr. Kirk enjoys spending his leisure time outdoors kayaking, hiking, cross-country skiing, scuba diving, and adventure traveling.
Michael Koch, VMD
Dr. Koch's Bio
Dr. Koch is an Internal Medicine Specialist at VSES. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. He completed his internal medicine residency at the Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, where he received the Jules and Lucy Silver Animal Bedside Manner Award. Dr. Koch is a board-certified member of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine.
Samantha Murray, VMD
Dr. Murray's Bio
Diplomate ACVIM, Internal Medicine Specialist
Dr. Samantha Murray joined Veterinary Specialists of Rochester’s internal medicine team in October of 2014.
Dr. Murray attended the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, graduating in 2001. She received the Auxiliary to the Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association prize and the Small Animal Award.
Before joining Veterinary Specialists of Rochester, Dr. Murray completed her residency in small animal internal medicine at the Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania from 2002-2004. She also completed a rotating internship in small animal medicine and surgery from 2001-2002.
Dr. Murray is a member of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine and the American Veterinary Medical Association. Dr. Murray’s professional interests include hepatic disease, gastrointestinal disease, and immune-mediated disease.
Dr. Murray and her family are currently looking for the perfect dog. In her spare time, she enjoys running, cycling, hiking, as well as spending time with her husband and children.
Shannon Palermo, VMD
Dr. Palermo's Bio
Diplomate ACVIM, Internal Medicine Specialist
Dr. Shannon Palermo graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Palermo completed her internal medicine residency at the Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. While in school, she was the president of the Penn Vet Shelter Medicine Club, where she was a recipient of the SVAVMA Community Outreach Excellence Award. Her volunteer work didn’t end there. She also worked with Hand2Paw, working with at-risk youth and shelter animals to help them see a better future.
Dr. Palermo has been in the veterinary field for eight years, active both professionally and academically with several published articles to her name. Dr. Palermo also works with Mission Rabies, a non-profit organization committed to helping vaccinate dogs in parts of the world where Rabies is pervasive.
Daniel E. Hoffmann, DVM, MS
Dr. Hoffman's Bio
Diplomate ACVS (Small Animal), Surgeon
Originally from Latrobe, Pennsylvania, Dr. Daniel E. Hoffmann joined Veterinary Specialists & Emergency Services’ surgery team in March 2013. Prior to that, he worked as a Small Animal Surgeon at the Akron Veterinary Referral and Emergency Center in Ohio.
Dr. Hoffmann attended the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, graduating Summa Cum Laude in 2004. He has completed a surgical residency at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine as well as internships at the Dallas Veterinary Surgical Center and the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine.
Dr. Hoffmann has published multiple articles, including one accepted for publication in the Journal of Veterinary and Comparative Orthopedics and Traumatology in October 2015. His professional interests include pain management, tibial tuberosity advancement, total joint arthroplasty, reconstructive surgery, oncologic surgery, wound healing/management, and neurosurgery.
He shares his home with his wife, their three children, a Yorkie Bichon named Andy, and a Persian named Plato. During his free time, Dr. Hoffmann enjoys hiking, camping, kayaking, birding, traveling, fishing, and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Lindsay St. Germaine, DVM
Dr. St. Germaine's Bio
Diplomate ACVS (Small Animal), Surgeon
Dr. Lindsay St. Germaine is a native of Milford, Michigan, and joined VSES as a staff surgeon in October 2014.
She earned her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine in 2009, graduating from Michigan State University with high honors. Following veterinary school, she completed a rotating internship in small animal medicine and surgery at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. St. Germaine then moved to Rochester, where she accomplished a three-year residency in small animal surgery and successfully obtained board certification.
Following residency, Dr. St. Germaine went on to practice in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, before returning to VSES in 2014. Her professional interests include oncologic surgery, trauma patients, and critical care medicine. She has published work on multiple topics, including surgical site infection and permanent tracheostomy in dogs.
She enjoys outdoor hobbies in her free time, including boating, skiing, running, and hiking.
Katelyn MacGillivray, VMD
Dr. MacGillivray's Bio
Dr. MacGillivray is originally from the Jersey Shore. She attended the College of New Jersey and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology before graduating from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. MacGillivray completed a small animal rotating internship at Animal Medical Center in New York City and a surgical internship at Veterinary Specialty Hospital in San Diego.
She has a Newfoundland named Abigail and two cats named Millie and Milo. Outside of work, Dr. MacGillivray enjoys rock climbing, hiking with her dog, and cooking.
Alla Bezhenteseva, DVM
Dr. Bezhenteseva's Bio
Dr. Bezhentseva was initially born in Russia and moved to the United States in 1994. She grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and Brunswick, New Jersey.
She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Rutgers University, New Brunswick, with a double major in psychology and animal science and a double minor in political science and economics. She received her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine Degree from the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, where she was awarded the ACVS Foundation Student Surgery Award for Excellence in Small Animal Surgery. Her professional interests include minimally invasive procedures, fracture repair, thoracic surgery, management of polytrauma cases, and cranial cruciate ligament disease. She is AIS PennHIP Certified.
Dr. Bezhenteseva has a Siberian Husky named Cobalt and enjoys indoor rock climbing, hiking, running, succulent gardening, and Russian literature in her spare time.
Alyssa Motz, DVM
Dr. Motz's Bio
Dr. Alyssa Motz is originally from Macedonia, Ohio. She graduated from The Ohio State University in 2010, majoring in zoology and anthropology and minoring in forensic science. She continued her education at The Ohio State University, where she earned her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Motz completed a small animal rotating internship at Metropolitan Veterinary Hospital before completing a small animal surgical internship.
She enjoys spending time with her friends, family, and pets when she’s not working. Dr. Motz also enjoys reading and Ohio State football!
Heather Lowe, DVM
Dr. Lowe's Bio
Dr. Heather Lowe grew up in Northeast, PA. She attended Delaware Valley College, majoring in small animal science. Dr. Lowe earned her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Purdue University and completed a small animal rotating internship at Long Island Veterinary Specialists. Dr. Lowe’s professional interests include soft tissue as well as orthopedic surgery.
Kathryn Benavides, DVM
Dr. Benavides' Bio
Diplomate ACVECC, Criticalist
Dr. Kathryn Benavides has rejoined the team at VSES. After completing her Bachelor’s Degree in biochemistry at The Ohio State University, she earned her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Michigan State University. Dr. Benavides completed a small animal medicine and rotating surgery internship at VSES before pursuing her Emergency and Critical Care residency at Tufts University. Dr. Benavides’ professional interests include emergency medicine, polytrauma, acute abdomen, and cardiac disease.
Dr. Benavides works closely with other specialists and our emergency veterinary team to provide the best compassionate care for our critical patients. To be certified, graduating from an accredited veterinary school is followed by a one-year internship and a three-year residency. They practice and study the latest critical care techniques. To earn the Diplomate status, rigorous board examinations must be passed after the residency is completed.
Kat Kicera, DVM
Dr. Kicera's Bio
Dr. Kat Kicera joins our team as the second board-certified criticalist. She recently relocated to the Rochester area from Florida. Dr. Kicera attended the University of Miami, where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in creative writing and literature. She then completed her Post-baccalaureate degree in pre-veterinary courses before earning her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Florida. Dr. Kicera completed a small animal rotating internship at Coral Springs Animal Hospital. She then completed an Emergency and Critical Care residency at the University of Florida.
Dr. Kicera’s professional interests include mechanical ventilation, shock, and sepsis.
Seth Koch, VMD
Dr. Koch's Bio
Dr. Seth Koch will be providing ophthalmology consults and performing non-cataract related surgeries at VSES. Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Dr. Koch received his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Pennsylvania in 1965. He received an NIH Fellowship to study ophthalmology at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School and earned a Master’s Degree in comparative ophthalmology from the Graduate School of Medicine and the Veterinary School.
Dr. Koch is a pioneer in veterinary ophthalmology, specializing in the medical and surgical treatment of acute and chronic eye problems in companion and exotic animals. He has treated a variety of animals, including an African lion, a Komodo dragon, a panda, elephants, and birds. Before joining the medical staff at VSES, Dr. Koch was a consultant to the Chesapeake Wildlife Foundation and the National Zoo.
Our VSES Emergency Veterinarians
Jamie Araki, DVM
Dr. Araki's Bio
Dr. Jamie Araki grew up in upstate New York. After studying at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, where she earned her Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery, she returns as an Emergency Veterinarian at Veterinary Specialists and Emergency Services. She is Fear Free certified and has a particular interest in emergency / critical care, toxicology, pathology, and soft tissue / orthopedic surgery.
At home, Dr. Araki has two cats, Jura and Toby, and two dogs, Gryffendog, a large loveable mutt, and Doc, a Husky German Shepard mix. Her hobbies include baking, traveling, reading, crafting, and exploring. She also enjoys spending time with her family, both animal and human members.
Sarah Brawdy-Annechino, DVM
Dr. Brawdy-Annechino's Bio
Dr. Sarah Brawdy grew up outside of Buffalo, New York. She attended the State University of New York College at Geneseo, where she majored in biology and minored in chemistry and art studio. After graduating, Dr. Brawdy received her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Tennessee in 2009. She completed both a rotating internship and an internal medicine internship at the Veterinary Specialists of Rochester before joining the emergency service as an attending clinician.
Dr. Brawdy has professional interests in anesthesia and pain management, emergency and critical care, and internal medicine. Outside of work, Dr. Brawdy enjoys running, painting, and reading. She shares her home with her husband, John, a German shepherd named Tessie, a Maltese-poodle mix named Olive, and two cats named Penelope and Mike.
Kimberly Dodge, DVM
Dr. Dodge's Bio
A graduate of Michigan State University, Dr. Kim Dodge received her Bachelor of Science degree in zoology in 1995 and her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine in 1999. After graduation, she joined a mixed practice in Indiana and then a 24-hour emergency and routine care practice in Connecticut. This time to Rochester, Dr. Dodge then moved again, where she joined the Animal Hospital of Pittsford for three years before moving to Veterinary Specialists & Emergency Services.
Dr. Dodge is a co-founder and former board member of the Association of Medical Professionals with Hearing Loss. She works to mentor other deaf individuals who are interested in the veterinary field.
Dr. Dodge enjoys watching and playing sports, reading fiction, and her dog and three cats’ companionship.
Staceyann Doobar, DVM
Dr. Doobar's Bio
Dr. Staceyann Doobar is originally from New York City, where she graduated from the City College of New York with a Bachelor’s Degree in chemistry. She received her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine degree from Cornell University and then completed a rotating internship at Veterinary Specialists & Emergency Services. She worked as an associate veterinarian at Suburban Animal Hospital and then returned to emergency medicine.
Dr. Doobar has four dogs at home. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, traveling, and spending time with her pups.
Catherine O. Herlihy, DVM
Dr. Herlihy's Bio
Dr. Catherine Herlihy grew up in Wilmington, Delaware. She attended American University, where she majored in biology and played on the women’s soccer team. Dr. Herlihy received her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Atlantic Veterinary College in 2015. She then completed a rotating internship at Dogwood Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Center in Richmond before joining VSES.
Dr. Herlihy has professional interests in traditional Chinese veterinarian medicine, shelter medicine, and international veterinary aid and outreach. She is also certified in veterinary acupuncture through the Chi Institute and has a graduate certificate in shelter medicine from the University of Florida.
Outside of work, she enjoys running, hiking, traveling, and yoga. Dr. Herlihy’s husband is a large animal veterinarian. They share their home and a small farm with two dogs (Peep and Marty), three cats (Essie, Dory, and Jalapeno), four cows (Penelope, Petunia, Pickles, and Parsnip), and two goats (Beans and Betty).
Johnny Lamb, DVM
Dr. Lamb's Bio
Johnny was born in Denver, Colorado, and grew up in Warner Robins, Georgia. She majored in biology at the University of Pittsburgh and, after working at an animal shelter one summer, decided that veterinary work would be in her future. She then moved to St. Kitts, West Indies, to attend Ross University.
She would love to do zoo/wildlife work and plans to be a practice owner/partner someday.
Since starting vet school, Johnny has gathered a small menagerie of animals including, three island cats, a Washington pound puppy, and a Washington pound bunny. Her interests include eating, playing soccer, hiking, biking, photography, watching college sports, and traveling.
Elizabeth Lennon, DVM
Dr. Lennon's Bio
Dr. Elizabeth Lennon comes to us from Emerson, New Jersey. She will be joining our team as an emergency doctor. She received her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Cornell University in 2017. While at Cornell, she served as a Student Veterinary Technician, a pet loss support line volunteer, and a student clinician at a low-income clinic. Upon graduation, Dr. Lennon completed a rotating internship at Oradell Animal Hospital.
While in school, Dr. Lennon participated in many activities, including Dog Sports Club, Small Animal Skills Club, Omega Tau Sigma (international veterinary fraternity), and the student American Veterinary Medical Associates. Dr. Lennon is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association. She feels that honesty and compassion are two key attributes of a great veterinarian and aims to exercise them as often as possible.
Tom Linnenbrink, DVM
Dr. Linnenbrink's Bio
Colorado transplant Dr. Tom Linnenbrink attended Colorado State University, where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in biology in 1994. He remained at Colorado State University, where he completed a Master’s Degree in anatomy in 1997. Following this, he was admitted to Colorado State University School of Veterinary Medicine and was awarded his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine in 2001.
Following veterinary school, Dr. Linnenbrink received an internship position in medicine and surgery at Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine. After completing his internship in 2002, Dr. Linnenbrink moved to Rochester. He has been working as an emergency staff clinician at Veterinary Specialists & Emergency Services ever since.
Kathryn Pappert, DVM
Dr. Pappert's Bio
Dr. Pappert attended Cornell University, receiving her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine in 2010. Dr. Pappert most recently worked as an associate veterinarian at Honeoye Fall Veterinary Hospital. She previously completed a rotating internship at VSES. Dr. Pappert also worked as a surgery technician at Cornell University Hospital for Animals and a veterinary assistant at Apple Country Veterinary Hospital before completing her veterinary degree. She is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the New York State Veterinary Medical Society, and the Genesee Valley Veterinary Medical Association.
Joseph Wilder, DVM
Dr. Wilder's Bio
Dr. Joe Wilder has been a staff clinician at the Animal Emergency Service of Rochester since 2002. Dr. Wilder received his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1990.
Dr. Wilder is married to Chris, a veterinarian, and they have 3 children. Their hobbies include watching movies, traveling, and cooking.
Kaycee Ratcliffe, DVM
Dr. Ratcliffe's Bio
Dr. Kaycee Ratcliffe grew up in Rochester, New York, and completed her undergraduate studies at SUNY Buffalo with a Bachelor’s Degree in biology. She received her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine and completed her clinical rotations at Purdue University.
She completed a rotating internship here at Veterinary Specialists & Emergency Services and worked as an associate veterinarian at Irondequoit Animal Hospital prior to joining our emergency service. Dr. Ratcliffe’s professional interests include surgery, emergency and critical care, and neurology.
During her free time, she enjoys running, hiking, and traveling. She has a Coonhound mix named Phoebe and a calico cat named Cat.
Caitlyn McAlpin, DVM
Dr. McAlpin's Bio
Dr. Caitlyn McAlpin is originally from Ft. Lauderdale, FL. She completed her undergraduate studies in 2014 at Xavier University, where she majored in Biology and minored in Chemistry. She attended Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine, completing her clinical year at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. There, Dr. McAlpin received the Dr. Michael Buedel Award and earned her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine. She completed a rotating internship at Veterinary Specialists & Emergency Services before joining the team as one of our emergency veterinarians.
She owns a three-year-old domestic shorthair named Toulouse. In her free time, she enjoys reading, yoga, traveling, and scuba diving.
Kristen Doerr, DVM
Dr. Doerr's Bio
Dr. Kristen Doerr grew up in the lower Hudson Valley in Suffern, N.Y. She attended SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in biotechnology. Dr. Doerr earned her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Midwestern University College of Veterinary Medicine. Her professional interests include emergency, critical care, and internal medicine. She is a Fear Free Certified Professional and has received certifications in Recover CPR: Basic and Advanced Life Support.
Clarisa Somali, DVM
Dr. Somali's Bio
Dr. Clarisa Somali grew up in both Indonesia and outside of Toronto. She graduated from the University of Guelph, where she majored in animal biology and minored in nutritional and nutraceutical sciences. Dr. Somali earned her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Ontario Veterinary College, where she was on the Dean’s Honours List. Her professional interests include surgery, cardiology, and research/publication.
Meet Our Management Team
Sheryl Valente has worked in the medical administration field for more than two decades. With years of experience working at Rochester Regional Health, Lattimore Community Surgicenter, and University of Rochester Strong Memorial Hospital, Sheryl is now Managing Director at VSES. Sheryl received her Bachelor of Arts in psychology at SUNY Geneseo and completed her Master’s Degree in health care administration at SUNY Brockport.
Andrea Battaglia is the Hospital Manager at VSES and has been working with animals since 1988. Some of her extensive experience includes serving as a Veterinary Technician, a Supervisor, a CE Coordinator, and an Operations Director. Andrea has been published multiple times, but her largest published achievement is her book, Small Animal Emergency and Critical Care: A Manual for the Veterinary Technician.
Corey Hafler is the Hospital Administrative Manager at VSES. His background includes high school social studies teacher, home equity banker, and 12 years of management experience from Rochester Regional Health. Corey can be found on the volleyball court, in the bowling lane, or sweeping up hair from his dog and 2 cats when not in the office.
Leah Walker is the VSES Referral Coordinator and Client Service Representative Educator. She has spent more than 20 years in the animal-care industry, and the last four have been at Veterinary Specialists & Emergency Services. Her love of animals and teaching are two reasons she enjoys her job and exceeds a client’s expectations.
Leah and her family have a small menagerie at home: two dogs, four cats, two rabbits, and seven ducks. When she’s not at work, you can find her spending time with her husband and three children, gardening, crafting, or tending to her duties as a hockey mom.
Jena is from Fabius, New York, and has been working in the animal-related field since 2012. Jena joined Monroe Veterinary Associates as a client service representative for Penfield Veterinary Hospital in 2013 and joined the VSES team in the spring of 2016. She also has a Bachelor’s Degree from St. John Fisher College.
When not at work, Jena enjoys exercising and outdoor activities. She also loves spending time with her canine companions, Myla and Braylon, and her cat Aengus.
Born in Warsaw, New York, and raised in Pavilion, Christine joined Monroe Veterinary Associates in 2008 but has been in the animal care field since 2006.
Christine has an Associate of Applied Science degree in Veterinary Technology and a Bachelor of Business Administration in technology management. When it comes to her job, she thrives knowing the high standard of care she and her colleagues provide pets. She also loves working with great people every day.
Christine shares a home with Neville (golden retriever), Wilmer (pit bull), and two cats Milo and Abby. She spends her free time running after her children, gardening, baking, and camping.