Our Team

MEET OUR PARTNERS

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

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 before becoming a Partner in June 2021. 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 husband, 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

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. 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

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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 😊

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

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.

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

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.

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