Our Team

MEET OUR PARTNERS

Dr. Carolyn Chiffelle, DVM
Corporate Partner

Dr. Carolyn Chiffelle brings a wealth of experience to our veterinary team. She received her Bachelors of Science in Biology with a minor in Anthropology from the University of New Mexico. She continued her education at Oregon State University where she was awarded the Upjohn Award for Excellence in Large Animal Medicine and received her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine in 1990. After receiving her Doctorate, Dr. Chiffelle accepted an internship with the New York State College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University, Ambulatory Clinic.
Looking to leave the cold East Coast winters for a warmer climate, Dr. Chiffelle returned to the West Coast joining a dairy practice in Chino, California before coming to Atwater Merced Veterinary Clinics in 1992 as a corporate partner. Her professional interests include feline medicine; ophthalmology; small and large animal internal medicine; dairy reproduction and computerized dairy record management. Dr. Chiffelle is a former President and current member of the Northern San Joaquin Veterinary Medical Association and a member of the American Society of Veterinary Ophthalmology, the California Veterinary Medical Association and the American Association of Bovine Practitioners.
Dr. Chiffelle is an avid cyclist. She has toured Italy, France, Spain, Canada, Arizona, Texas, Iowa and numerous areas of California on bicycle and plans to keep touring. She shares her household with her very loving and tolerant husband, Matt and her house cats Allan, Camille, Jens and Eeva. Dr. Chiffelle also has an outdoor barnyard with five chickens, three cows and some aging barncats

Dr. Carolyn Chiffelle, DVM

Dr. Paul Cook, DVM
Corporate Partner

Dr. Paul Cook is a corporate partner and has been with Atwater Merced Veterinary Clinics since 2000. He is a native of San Diego and came to Merced, which is the second largest dairy production county in the world, to work in the dairy industry. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Science from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in 1994 and was awarded his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the University of California, Davis in 1999.

Dr. Cook’s dairy practice entails working with multiple dairy herds, ranging from 500 to 7000 cows, on a daily basis. When he is not busy working with the cows, Dr. Cook enjoys working in the small animal clinic. Dr. Cook holds the position of Practice Managing Corporate Partner for AMVC and is a member of the California Veterinary Medical Association Agriculture Committee, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Association of Bovine Practitioners, the Cal Poly Animal Science Advisory Council and the University of California Alumni Network-San Joaquin.

Dr. Cook is married to Dr. Ekblom, they have three children – Elliott, Annika and Evelynn. When he is not busy chasing dairy cows or children, Dr. Cook enjoys running half marathons, hiking, and learning to play the piano.

Dr. Paul Cook, DVM

Dr. Nicole Ekblom, DVM
Corporate Partner

Dr. Nicole Ekblom joined the Atwater Merced Veterinary health care team in 2000 and is a corporate partner. She was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and is happy to have made Merced her hometown. Dr. Ekblom obtained both her Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Science in 1995 and her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine in 1999, at the University of California, Davis.

Dr. Ekblom’s focus is working with dairy herds. A majority of her work consists of routine herd health procedures, reproductive exams using ultrasound, surgical procedures and dairy records analysis. She has a special interest in milk quality and mastitis and manages the AMVC Milk Quality Laboratory. Dr. Ekblom can also be found working in the small animal clinic or with some of the local dairy goat herds.

Dr. Ekblom is married to Dr. Cook. She is a busy mother of three children – Elliott, Annika, and Evelyn. She really loves camping, hiking, and cross country skiing, but would skip all that for just one good night’s sleep!

Dr. Nicole Ekblom, DVM

Dr. Betty Lawson, DVM
Corporate Partner

Dr. Betty Lawson received her BS in Animal Science at Cal Poly- San Luis Obispo. She then attended Oklahoma State University College of Veterinary Medicine where she earned her DVM. She joined the Merced Veterinary Clinic team in May of 2005. Professionally, she has a special interest in surgery and hopes to one day become a diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners.

Dr. Lawson has regular clinic hours at both our Atwater and Merced locations.

Dr. Betty Lawson, DVM

Dr. Alicia Smith, DVM
Corporate Partner

We are pleased that Dr. Alicia Smith returned to our practice after a two year hiatus managing her family’™s dairy farm in Northern New York State. Dr. Smith graduated from Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2007 and was an associate veterinarian at AMVC from 2007 until 2012. Dr. Smith practiced dairy medicine as well as small animal surgery and medicine at both the Atwater Veterinary Center and the Merced Veterinary Clinic.

She is excited to be back in the Atwater-Merced area to reconnect with her former clients and patients as well as meet new ones. Dr. Smith’s particular interests lie in dairy farm employee training (she is bilingual in English and Spanish), dairy computer records analysis, and small animal surgery. She is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Association of Bovine Practitioners.

Dr. Smith shares her home with her two ‘Labradorables’, Verna and Pasha. Verna was previously training as a guide dog for the blind before choosing a career as co-pilot for Dr. Smith on her field calls.

Dr. Alicia Smith, DVM

MEET OUR VETERINARIANS

Dr. Keely Bertram, DVM
Veterinarian

Dr. Bertram grew up a child of a National Park service family, where she developed a great appreciation for all types of animals both domestic and wild. During her high school years she worked at Oakhurst Veterinary Clinic where she fostered a variety of orphaned babies from birds, squirrels, and possums, to kittens and puppies. She attended Fresno City College and Fresno State University prior to transferring to the University of California Davis, where she was awarded her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine in 2002.

Dr. Bertram joined Atwater Merced Veterinary Clinic as an associate veterinarian in 2004. Dr. Bertram maintains regular clinic hours at both the Atwater and Merced Locations.

Her household is full of a multitude of pets. There is Clementine Rose (her beloved basset hound), Lenny & LoLo Two (weechuahuas!), Amy and Beaurgard Festis the cats; and Turtle, the 20+ year old box turtle. Dr. Bertram has a history of adopting a stray for each year she works. Who knows what type of critter is next!

Dr. Keely Bertram, DVM

Dr. Amy Hansen, DVM
Veterinarian

Dr. Amy Hansen is a California native from Madera! She received a BS in Animal Science with a specialty in companion and captive animals from University of California, Davis in 2009. She then went on to obtain her DVM from Ross University on the Island of St. Kitts & completed her fourth year clinics at Texas A&M in 2014. Her special interests are animal nutrition, preventative medicine, dermatology, and basically any fluffy small breed dog! Before coming to AMVC in 2016, she worked at a small animal practice in Torrance, California. That clinic was a walk-in only practice, which means no appointments, so it definitely prepared her to always be ready for anything!

Dr. Hansen has always spent her time around animals – from growing up with many different animals to being on the UCD Equestrian Team. She has a Yorkie named Korra, who she’s had since undergrad, that has been through everything with her. Korra was even the flower girl at her wedding! She also has a Bernese Mountain Dog Poodle Mix, named Pebbles, who is the biggest goof of a lap dog. In her downtime, Dr. Hansen enjoys hiking, going to the lake, and traveling.

Dr. Amy Hansen, DVM

Dr. Sydney Westbrook, DVM
Veterinarian

Dr. Sydney Westbrook is a local California native from Dos Palos. She received her bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from University of California, Davis in 2014 and continued on at UC Davis to receive her DVM degree in 2019. She then returned back home to the Central Valley and joined the AMVC family in June of 2019. While in vet school, she attended the Summer Dairy Institute at Cornell University, a dairy management program for veterinarians. She is one of the mixed animal veterinarians in the practice, going out on dairies in the morning and seeing small animals at the Merced and Atwater clinics in the afternoons. Her special interests include milking parlor evaluation, dairy record analysis, reproduction and dermatology.
In her free time, Sydney enjoys spending time with her fiance, Jacob, and their Australian Cattle Dog Mix, Bailey. She enjoys snow skiing, spending time outdoors, bowling and doing crafts such as crochet and painting.

Dr. Sydney Westbrook, DVM

Dr. Allison Pike, DVM
Veterinarian

Dr. Pike was born and raised in the small state New Hampshire. Growing up there, she had always wanted to be a Veterinarian and began her education at the University of New Hampshire, where she graduated with a B.S. in Biomedical Sciences. It was at UNH that she was introduced to and fell in love with dairy cows – she enjoyed working with them so much that she pursued a minor in Dairy Management. After completing her undergraduate studies, Dr. Pike went on to graduate with her DVM from Michigan State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. After graduation, she decided to leave the cold north for sunny California. She joined AMVC as an associate veterinarian in May of 2019.

As a mixed animal veterinarian with AMVC, Dr. Pike sees a variety of patients! She spends her mornings on dairy farms, working with farmers to ensure the health of their cattle and the milk that they produce. In the afternoons, she works in the clinic, helping furry patients with anything that ails them. Her major professional interests include reproduction (both dairy and small animal), dairy records analysis, and soft tissue surgery.

In the evenings, Dr. Pike returns home to spend time with her significant other and their three dogs – Wee, a pug; Maisy, a Great Pyrenees; and Rylie, a mutt. They enjoy exploring California, cooking, binge-watching the latest Netflix series, and playing video games on the computer.

Dr. Allison Pike, DVM

Dr. Tatiana Smith, DVM
Veterinarian

Dr. Tatiana Smith grew up in the lovely city of Folsom, California, right outside of Sacramento. She knew she wanted to be a veterinarian from the age of five, and she spent her free summers shadowing small animal veterinarians around the area. It was during her undergraduate time at UC Davis that she developed a passion for large animals, with a special love for dairy cattle, pigs, and goats. She graduated with a B.S. in Animal Science with a specific focus on dairy cattle production. She decided to stay in Davis for veterinary school and focused on livestock medicine with a secondary focus on small animal health.

She joined AMVC in the summer of 2020 and is excited to be part of such a wonderful team. She is one of the mixed animal veterinarians who spends her time both with dairy cattle out on the farm and also inside the clinics with small animals. Her special interests include feline wellness, dermatology, and pig health. In her free time, she loves to get her fitness on, either cross country running, weightlifting at the gym, or outside hiking in her favorite place on earth, Yosemite. She has two wonderful cats of her own, Fred and George.

Dr. Tatiana Smith, DVM

MEET OUR ANIMAL CARE PROVIDERS

Felisha, RVT
Registered Veterinary Technician
Merced

Felisha comes from a long line of veterinary emergency medicine; we are thankful to have her as one of our Registered Veterinary Technicians. Currently Felisha has 4 cats; Piper, Kyle, Theo and Leo. 3 dogs; Sarah, Patches, and Baby. One Parakeet; Polly and one Bearded Dragon named Mushu. During her time away from the clinic Felisha enjoys being outdoors gardening or camping. She also enjoys reading during her quiet time. Felisha is a huge advocate for the gentle handling of our furry patients.

Felisha
Registered Veterinary Technician
Merced

Cassie
Large Animal Coordinator
Atwater

Cassie has been with our team since 2014. Her main role is coordinating the doctor’s schedules and assisting them out on the dairies, you can also find Cassie assisting in clinic with our small fur animal friends. Cassie worked for a boarding facility for three years and lives on a Dairy, so she feels right at home on our team.

Cassie
Large Animal Coordinator
Atwater

Amanda
Veterinary Assistant
Merced

Amanda joined the Atwater Merced Veterinary Clinic team as a Veterinary Assistant in March of 2018. She came to us with 3+ years of experience in veterinary clinic. Amanda loves to give the animals love.

Amanda has 3 pets; Olive the cat, Coco a pit-bull and Pua a guinea pig. On her spare time she enjoys playing softball with her kids, traveling and shopping.

Amanda
Veterinary Assistant
Merced

Bryana
Veterinary Assistant
Atwater

Bryana joined our team in January 2014 as a kennel technician and is now one of our Veterinary Assistants. She has several big dogs and three cats. Bryana has also raised and shown chickens and hogs with Livingston FFA. Her hobbies include long walks with her dogs, reading, and cooking. Pictured here with Kypur as a puppy.

Bryana
Veterinary Assistant
Atwater

Cassie
Veterinary Assistant
Merced

Cassie joined our team in April of 2018 as a CSR, she transitioned into a Veterinary Assistant in 2019. She has two boxers, Ava and Daisy who are her world. When she is not at work her hobby is showing livestock.. Cassie always had animals growing up and has been involved with the animal science department at Merced JC.

Cassie
Veterinary Assistant
Merced

Daisy
Veterinary Assistant
Atwater

Daisy started the AMVC team as a Kennel Technician in April of 2018. In August 2019 she became one of our Veterinary Assistants. Daisy hopes to become a Registered Veterinary Technician someday. She loves to help animals big and small.

She has two dogs that she loves spending time with, Yogi- a Yorkie Maltese and Pete Coco- a Chihuahua. Daisy spends her spare time mountain biking, cooking, and baking.

Daisy
Veterinary Assistant
Atwater

Jasmine
Veterinary Assistant
Atwater

Jasmine joined our team in the beginning of 2016 as one of Veterinary Technicians. She usually stays busy with rooming patients, helping the doctors perform procedures, and following up with pet owners after their appointments to ensure our patients are doing well. She has a plethora of experience working in customer service and it definitely shows! She is currently going to school to complete an RVT program.

Jasmine has a big heart for rescue animals, which is how all of her dogs found her. Jaide is her two-year-old rescue Pitbull, and Jaxx is a Chihuahua/Pomeranian mix that found her shortly after starting at Atwater Vet! Her newest addition, Jessie, is an adorable Pitbull/chihuahua mix. Jasmine’s favorite thing about working here is the opportunity to not only bond with the patients that come in, but also their owners and the staff she gets to spend every day with!

Jasmine
Veterinary Assistant
Atwater

Kayla
Veterinary Assistant
Merced

Kayla joined our team here at AMVC as a Veterinary Assistant in early August 2019. She graduated with a certificate for Veterinary assisting from San Joaquin Valley College. Kayla hopes to specialize in exotic pets and become a RVT in the future. Currently she is the owner of 10 pets; a dog, cats, reptiles, a bunny, and guinea pigs. During her free time Kayla enjoys reading and taking care of all her animals.

Kayla
Veterinary Assistant
Merced

Hilliary
Veterinary Assistant
Atwater

Hilliary came to Atwater Veterinary Center in October of 2019 as a Veterinary Assistant. She has 3 years of experience as a Veterinary Assistant and has finished the RVT program at Modesto Junior College. She is the oldest of 9 children in her family and has two children of her own. Hilliary loves big dogs and currently has 5 pets. A 17 year old Corgi mix named Ariel, 5 and 2 year old lab mix’s named Jake and Brandy, and one 4 year old Domestic short-haired cat named Ellie. Outside of work Hilliary loves hiking, camping, swimming, running, and hanging out with her kids.

Hilliary
Veterinary Assistant
Atwater

Amy
Veterinary Assistant
Merced

Amy started with us in October of 2018 as a Customer Service Representative; she happily transitioned into a Veterinary Assistant in early 2020. Amy enjoyed volunteering at an animal shelter and now currently has 8 pets! Yes, that’s right 8 pets. 2 dogs, 3 cats, 2 snakes and a turtle but she is a HUGE cat lover. All things cats, all the time! In her free time, Amy enjoys reading, writing, camping, playing golf and trying new foods.

Amy
Veterinary Assistant
Merced

Lily
Veterinary Assistant
Merced

Lily started as a Kennel Assistant with Merced Veterinary Clinic in January of 2019, she transitioned into Veterinary Assistant in 2020. Lily has worked on farms off and on for the past 7 years as well as showed pigs and cattle for five years for FFA. She really enjoys working with the cattle and wants to get in the field of breeding cattle one day. At home Lily has 3 dogs who she loves very much!

Lily
Veterinary Assistant
Merced

MEET OUR ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF

Sarah
Practice Manager

Sarah has been with the Atwater-Merced Veterinary Clinics since 2001. She started as a Kennel Technician when she was in high school and moved on to Veterinary Assisting after graduation. She later became Merced’s Co-Clinic Manager, then moved onto Human Resource Manager for both our Atwater and Merced office and is now the Practice Manager for the company.

She enjoys spending time with her family and loves the outdoors. Besides animals, her special interest are gardening and nature. Sarah has a mixed household of animals including, chickens, ducks, dogs and cats – hoping one day to also adopt goats!

Sarah
Practice Manager

Jessica
Assistant Manager

Jessica joined the Merced Veterinary Clinic reception team in the Spring of 2017. She then was promoted to Assistant Manager of AMVC in August 2018. She has enjoyed learning about veterinary medicine, and she feels the best part of her job is meeting all of our amazing clients and their wonderful fur babies.

Jessica’s favorite job is being a mom to her son, daughter, and her dogs, Kali and Arla. Kali is a pit bull that loves belly rubs and hanging out with her best friend, (Jessica’s son and Arla). Arla is a cute little Chihuahua who thinks she is bigger than Kali. Jessica enjoys spending her free time being outdoors and traveling to different places with her family as much as possible.

Jessica
Assistant Manager

Terri
Business Administrator

Terri has been with Atwater Merced Veterinary Clinic for over 30 years and is currently the Business Administrator for the corporation. Terri oversees the operations of both the Atwater and Merced locations. She has an interest in finance and accounting and loves the fact that she has a position where she can crunch numbers one minute and hug a puppy the next.

Terri has an admitted weakness for Siamese cats and large Labrador Retrievers. Her home is ruled by Toby, a tiger point Siamese mix and Ellie Mae, her seventy pound chocolate Labrador.

Terri
Business Administrator

MEET OUR CUSTOMER SERVICE STAFF

Jessica
Customer Service Representative
Atwater

Jessica started as a Customer Service Representative January of 2020. When she’s not at work, Jessica loves playing games with her son, adoring her daughter, and discovering new Netflix shows with her husband. When the weather is right, she also enjoys being outdoors going running, hunting, and playing softball.

Jessica
Customer Service Representative
Atwater

Meghan
Customer Service Representative
Merced

Meghan was started as a CSR in January 2019. Meghan has worked in customer service for over 10 years now. Meghan loves going to the aquarium, seeing the dolphins and orcas which are her favorite.

Meghan
Customer Service Representative
Merced

Bianca
Lead Customer Service Representative
Atwater

Bianca joined the AMVC team as a receptionist in December of 2016 she is now the Lead Receptionist in Atwater. She previously worked at a boarding facility so she isn’t a stranger to working around animals! She has two dogs who she considers her children, Willow – a white Husky Mix and Olive – a Catahoula Mix, so Bianca definitely understands how important it is to keep pets healthy and happy. She enjoys being able to help others, whether it be pets, their owners, or her fellow coworkers. Bianca spends her downtime hiking, reading, or taking pictures of her very photogenic pups!

Bianca
Lead Customer Service Representative
Atwater

Hana
Customer Service Representative
Atwater

Hana started as a receptionist back in October of 2016. She came to us with no veterinary experience, but she was eager to learn and we are so happy she was up for the challenge! Hana always has a smile on her face, especially when there’s a cute puppy or kitten involved. Hana has many years of experience in customer service and enjoys being able to help pet owners with whatever they need.

Hana
Customer Service Representative
Atwater

Marina
Customer Service Representative
Atwater

Marina joined the AVMC team as a Customer Service Representative in June 2019. She has nine cats and two dogs. One is a Golden Retriever mix and the other a Boxer mix. Marina enjoys painting, going to the gym, hiking, and playing with all of her pets.

Marina
Customer Service Representative
Atwater

Emoni
Kennel Assistant
Atwater

Emoni was hired on to Atwater Veterinary Center in July of 2018 as a Kennel Assistant. She really enjoys working here with her team and feels she is always learning something new. Emoni would love to visit as many endangered animal rescue sanctuaries in different countries as she can. Currently Emoni has two pit-bulls. One red nose, Tyson and one blue nose Baloo. During her down time Emoni likes to go running, play softball and learn new languages.

Emoni
Kennel Assistant
Atwater

Cleo
Clinic Cat

Talk about a perfectly timed photo!!

Cleo was left on our doorstep with a bag of food and a note stating she is terrified of loud noises and voices; we put her up for adoption but quickly realized she was the best cuddle cat you will ever meet!!

Cleo
Clinic Cat

MEET OUR INVENTORY SPECIALIST

Melody
Inventory Specialist

Melody has been a Veterinary Assistant with the Atwater Merced Veterinary health care team since 2002, but she has been working in the veterinary field since 1998. She came to us from an emergency clinic in Florida and she is very happy to call the Central Valley her home now.

Melody was a Veterinary Assistant for sixteen years and is now our company’s Inventory Specialist.

Melody hasn’t met a cat that she does not like and they seem to know it. Her extended cat family attests to this fact! After losing her Mastiff, Payton to cancer, she is searching for that perfect cat-approved canine to round out her four-legged family. Melody also breeds and raises several different types of birds and spends her free time pet-sitting. She is definitely dedicated to the well-being of all animals!

Melody
Inventory Specialist

Praise for Our Team

The Doctors and staff are all amazing and loving and caring.
I board my cats there and Mia gets amazing attention and Condo accommodations.
Thank you All at Atwater Vet clinic.

Michelle P.Cat Owner

Went there for the first time with our new puppy on Wednesday. The facility was nice and the staff were very friendly. They did a great job of distracting him while giving him his shot and answered all of my questions. They made a great first impression and we will be back!

Shawnelle B.Puppy Owner

My dog is my life. He sleeps between my husband and I he is the baby… A big baby. He has had seizures since he was 2 months old. I didn’t want to put him on medication. When I brought him here we were treated very nicely. The vet looked over our dog and explained it was seizures he was having and by not putting him on medications each one he had was causing further brain damage. I was upset but knew this vet was right so I put him on the medication. He has far less seizures now and is doing great.

Barbara M.Dog Owner

Each time I’ve called, they’ve been able to get my pets in quickly. The staff is friendly and helpful. The vets are great. We’ve seen Dr. Bertram the most. My dog absolutely loves her.

Heather G.Dog Owner

I have 7 cats and 2 dogs and would not think of bringing them anywhere else for care. The staff consists of all animal lovers and some have rescued animals that have been surrendered. They have saved us so much money by offering alternate services and care that other area vets stated wouldn’t work. They take a personal stake in your animal while in their care. I will recommend them to anyone who cares about their animals.

Patience B.Cat and Dog Owner

The Staff are So Wonderful with the Pets! They have Beautiful Customer Service! I am so impressed how they really care for our PETS! My Dog 🐕 Rocky was Nervous there but he was So Calm with the Staff 😊

Mellissa M.Dog Owner

They are the best – the people in there are beautiful.

Kim T.Pet Owner

Dr. Karr and Dr. Larson are super vets – always doing above the call for our baby Zaza. The techs (ALL of you, too many to remember by name) always treat our sassy baby just so sweet. Thank you for your care. I don’t want to forget the receptionist they have a smile and friendly voices all the time helping to get me in very fast.

Leesa D.Pet Owner

Dr. Lawson is amazing! The level of care is top notch!

Catherine P.Pet Owner

The first time I took my dog here Tula she was a little nervous but the staff and the doctors are very nice here at this vet I would recommend this Veterinary Clinic to anybody helpful loving understanding and listens and conversate with you about any questions you have for your animal and to me the prices are reasonable I got my dog to Tallulah short for Tula Spade they did such a great job.

Tamika M.Dog Owner
Skip to content