Charleston Veterinary Referral Center
3484 Shelby Ray Court | Charleston, SC 29414Call 843-474-2915
We are open for emergencies 24/7. We are Charleston's most advanced emergency and critical care center.
Welcome to the Charleston Veterinary Referral Center. We are the most advanced and comprehensive emergency and referral practice in the greater Charleston area. We see appointments by referral from your general veterinarian and are open and fully staffed for emergencies 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Doctors and nurses are always on site and your pets are never left alone. While your pets are in our care, we will always treat them as an important member of your family. Our goal is to provide you a hospital that offers an exceptional level of patient care as well as exceptional client service. Please take some time to explore our site, meet our staff of specialists, highly trained emergency clinicians, as well as our outstanding veterinary nursing staff. We are excited for you to experience our brand new, state of the art facility, and understand what services we can offer you and your pets.
Medical Director, Emergency Veterinarian
Dr. David B. Sachs was considering a career in business or possibly law school when a college buddy intervened and put him on the path to veterinary medicine. Clyde—a Black Labrador Retriever—provided such an unexpected and influential friendship that Dr. Sachs chose to pursue a career in veterinary medicine.
Upon earning his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree from the University of Minnesota in 2000, Dr. Sachs completed an emergency, surgery, and internal medicine rotating internship in 2001 at the Veterinary Referral Emergency Center located in Norwalk, CT, and then joined Katonah Bedford Veterinary Center in Katonah, NY, as an emergency clinician and general practitioner. His dedication and skill set allowed him to develop a very large, and loyal client base. He was promoted to Assistant Director of the center and shortly thereafter became the Medical Director and Chief of Staff. He was responsible for all client, medical, financial, and personnel decisions at the Center.
After the acquisition by BrightHeart Veterinary Centers in 2008, Dr. Sachs worked very closely with senior management to develop marketing strategies, IT solutions, financial plans, and best medicine practices for the network. Based on Dr. Sachs' leadership ability and performance he was asked to lead an acquisition of a large referral emergency center in Westbury New York in 2009. He was named Chief of Staff with the same responsibilities as those at KBVC, where he continued his role.
Dr. Sachs serves as the Medical Director for Charleston Veterinary Referral Center. “Having worked with Dr. Green at both Katonah and BrightHeart, I am confident that CVRC will bring the highest level of medicine and client care to the community,” says Dr. Sachs. “We hope to align ourselves with referring veterinarians in a way that forges strong relationships and great communication.”
A member of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the New York State Veterinary Medical Society (NYSVMS), Dr. Sachs enjoys spending time with his three children Isabella, Oliver and Charlotte. Dr. Sachs is also interested in golf, tennis, mountain biking, technology, landscaping and gardening.
Alan E. Green received his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) from Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in 1982. Following an internship in small animal medicine and surgery at the Animal Medical Center in New York City in 1983, Dr. Green worked in small animal general practice. In 1987, he established VetSound, one of the first mobile veterinary ultrasound services in the United States.
During this time, Dr. Green also worked as staff veterinarian at Guiding Eyes for the Blind in Yorktown Heights, New York. Guiding Eyes for the Blind is an internationally accredited, nonprofit guide dog school that provides the blind and visually impaired with superior guide dogs as well as training and support services. There, he established the school’s first onsite veterinary facility and was responsible for the guide dogs’ medical and surgical care. Dr. Green also worked with non-sighted and multiple handicap students to teach them more about canine husbandry.
In 1991, Dr. Green opened the Katonah Veterinary Group—a two-doctor small animal general practice in Katonah, New York. KVG expanded into a new location in November 2001 and became Katonah Bedford Veterinary Center. Within five years, KBVC grew to employ 25 doctors and more than 125 staff members. Under Dr. Green’s direction, Katonah Bedford won the “Best of Westchester” award for a Veterinary Practice in 2004.
Beginning in 1993, Dr. Green began service as the medical director of the SPCA of Westchester in Briarcliff, New York. He received the SPCA of Westchester’s Distinguished Service Award in 2003 for the time and effort he contributed to the shelter’s benefit. He was also featured on CNN and in The New York Times for his work in canine reproduction and cryogenics.
Dr. Green was one of the original founders of BrightHeart Veterinary Centers, a national network of advanced-care veterinary centers formed in 2007, for which he managed six specialty hospitals. Katonah Bedford served as the flagship hospital for BrightHeart with Dr. Green serving as the Chief Operating Officer until December of 2008 when he retired and moved to Kiawah Island, South Carolina.
After a year of retirement, Dr. Green found he missed his staff along with managing and mentoring young veterinarians. He also missed the day to day challenges associated with building a top-notch emergency and specialty veterinary referral practice. Dr. Green decided to open a new specialty veterinary hospital in Charleston in 2010, and has attracted an incredible group of specialists and staff motivated to bring a new standard of excellence to the area.
The proud parent of a Standard Poodle named Murray, and Vinnie, a Long Haired Dachshund, Dr. Green is crazy about his dogs. “My true motivation in creating Charleston Veterinary Referral Center is to have a place I can trust to provide superior care for my own dogs in the event of a surgical or medical crisis,” says Dr. Green. “My goal is to establish a gold standard of care for specialty and emergency veterinary medicine in the Charleston area.”
Dr. Green is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), New York State Veterinary Medical Society (NYSVMS), and the Trident Veterinary Medical Association (TVMA). The father of two grown children, Emily and Michael, Dr. Green is also an avid golfer and enjoys music and traveling with his wife, M.J. Green. Dr. Green and M.J. have worked together side by side for more than twenty years with M.J. serving as the Client Care Manager at all practices.
Dr. Michael F. Cocchiaro grew up visiting his mother’s family farm in rural Pennsylvania and was always interested in pursuing a career in veterinary medicine. With a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Middlebury College (VT), Dr. Cocchiaro received his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) Magna Cum Laude in 2006 from Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine.
During his small animal medicine and surgery internship in 2006-2007, Dr. Cocchiaro’s interest in cardiology was piqued as an influence of the strong mentors he worked with at North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine. He went on to complete a Cardiology Residency at the University of California, Davis, and became board certified by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (Cardiology) in 2010.
As Charleston Veterinary Referral Center’s Board Certified Veterinary Cardiologist, Dr. Cocchiaro offers cardiology consultations, echocardiography, electrocardiography, Holter monitoring and percardiocentesis/thoracocentesis.
“Charleston has so much to offer,” says Dr. Cocchiaro, who is an avid swimmer and lover of water sports. “I am excited by the opportunity through my work at CVRC to be able to provide the community with a veterinary cardiology service.”
Dr. Cocchiaro’s expertise embraces non-invasive techniques including echocardiography, electrocardiography, and cardiac angiography. He is especially interested in interventional cardiology, including pacemaker implantation, balloon valvuloplasty, and patent ductus arteriosus occlusion. His research has been focused on congestive heart failure as well as medical and surgical therapies that improve the quality of life of patients with heart disease.
Dr. Cocchiaro has lectured about the topics of medical and interventional treatment of canine heartworm disease, canine myxomatous mitral valve degeneration, canine dilated cardiomyopathy, feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, canine congenital heart disease, interventional cardiology, canine and feline congestive heart failure, endocarditis and feline aortic thromboembolism.
A member of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), Dr. Cocchiaro enjoys swimming, kayaking, and spending time with his three water-loving Labrador Retrievers, Austin, Tucker, and Savannah.
Growing up on a farm in Nebraska, Dr. Katherine Queck worked with many different animals. She dreamed of being a large animal veterinarian, and at 14 decided that she would pursue that career. Little did she know her passion for veterinary medicine would evolve into Small Animal Dentistry.
After 3 years of undergraduate study, Dr. Queck was accepted into Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine and graduated in 1986. During veterinary school, she worked in the microbiology department and researched bacterial diseases of large domestic animals and wildlife. In her junior year, her interest in dentistry developed and she assisted a surgeon investigating dental implants in dogs. Dr. Queck’s senior research paper was on root canal procedures in the dog, and was published the following year in The Iowa State Veterinarian.
After graduation, she and her husband Joel moved to Charlotte, NC, where she practiced small animal medicine and surgery, and pursued her interest in veterinary dentistry. In 1993, she become a Fellow of the Academy of Veterinary Dentistry, and opened The Carolinas Animal Hospital & Dental Clinic. For over 25 years, she has treated dental patients from a five state region.
Dr. Queck routinely performs periodontal, endodontic, and oral surgery procedures. She restores damaged teeth with composite and crowns, treats painful orthodontic problems, and performs complete dental cleanings in dogs, cats, and exotic pets. Dr. Queck is also occasionally called upon to treat large cats in zoos with dental problems, and has performed root canals on leopards, cheetahs, and mountain lions.
Dr. Queck’s initial vision for The Carolinas Animal Hospital & Dental Clinic was to provide the region’s pets with the highest quality dental care available. In April 2011, when she and her colleague Dr. Heather Duncan begin seeing patients at Charleston Veterinary Referral Center, helping her become one step closer to attaining her dream.
Dr. Queck regularly speaks about veterinary dentistry to veterinarians and animal affiliated groups in the Carolinas. She also presents scientific papers, conducts teaching laboratories, and provides continuing education for veterinary staff. In July 2010, she lectured on Physiologic Monitoring of the Anesthetized Patient at the American Veterinary Medical Association meeting in Atlanta. She was also invited to speak internationally at the 2010 European Veterinary Dental Congress in Nice, France, and presented a paper entitled Oral Tumors in the Cat.
Dr. Queck, her husband Joel, and their three children currently reside in Charlotte. Their animal family is made up of 2 Cavalier King Charles, a Shih Tzu, a Chinese Crested (powder puff), a German Shorthair, and an American Shorthair cat named Pumpkin. Their family enjoys a variety of outdoor activities together, and looks forward to making Charleston their second home.
Adrianne D. Sprovero, DVM (Emergency and Critical Care )
Dr. Adrianne D. Sprovero’s path to veterinary medicine began in high school however her love of emergency medicine began as an undergraduate student at Auburn University. During this time, Dr. Sprovero began work as a technician in an emergency clinic in Columbus, Georgia—a position she held until the start of clinical rotations her senior year of veterinary school. Dr. Sprovero completed her surgical externship at Coastal Carolina Veterinary Specialists in March of 2000 and immediately was accepted for a three month preceptorship at Animal Medical Clinic of Goose Creek.
Upon graduating cum laude from Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine in June of 2000, Dr. Sprovero quickly began work as an Associate DVM at Animal Medical Clinic of Goose Creek as well as in the emergency clinic at the Greater Charleston Emergency Veterinary Clinic in North Charleston. In 2002, she began working as regular relief veterinarian for Veterinary Emergency Care in Mount Pleasant, which grew to a full time emergency and surgical veterinary position, and eventually into management in 2004 as the Hospital Director. In 2008, Dr. Sprovero joined the general practice team at James Island Veterinary Hospital.
Dr. Sprovero joined the Charleston Veterinary Referral Center emergency team when the hospital opened in February 2011. “Returning to emergency work is exciting,” said Dr. Sprovero. “I thrive on the critical thinking and ever changing environment that only an emergency clinic can provide. Additionally, working so closely with CVRC specialists is immensely rewarding to me and provides me with a great opportunity to further develop my skills and continue to grow professionally.”
Dr. Sprovero is involved with mission work in Central America to vaccinate animals and promote husbandry as a means to facilitate population health. A native of Summerville, South Carolina, Dr. Sprovero now lives in Charleston with her husband, Jamie, and their two boys, Grey and Reeves, as well as with a bloodhound named Agnes, Franny the French bulldog, and Herman the cat.
In her spare time she enjoys reading, outdoor activities and studying the history of Charleston.
Growing up in Puerto Rico, Arnaldo Torres loved animals, and in school, loved science. However, it was only after an incident involving his family’s Boxer, who cut himself while chasing birds in the backyard, that Dr. Torres’ mother suggested he become a veterinarian. “I grabbed the first aid kit and started to bandage Duke’s wound,” says Dr. Torres. “I was still in middle school and for some reason hadn’t thought of becoming a veterinarian. But once the idea took hold, it was like it was meant to be.”
After receiving his Bachelor's degree in Animal Science from Purdue University, Dr. Torres stayed on to complete his Master of Science in Physiology (Animal Science). He then studied for his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) at Ross University in St. Kits, West Indies, from 2000 to 2004, serving his clinical year at Kansas State University from 2003 to 2004.
Dr. Torres was accepted for a Small Animal Medicine and Surgery Internship at Michigan State University from 2004 to 2005. “I initially set out to do internal medicine, but it was during my internship that I found my passion for emergency medicine,” explains Dr. Torres, who enjoys, “the fast pace and thinking on my feet.”
Upon graduation, Dr. Torres continued his pursuit of emergency medicine in Philadelphia, where he was an emergency clinician at Metropolitan Veterinary Associates and Emergency Services until 2006. From 2006 to 2010, Dr. Torres worked as an emergency clinician at Massachusetts Veterinary Referral Hospital.
“I love the team environment that serves as the core behind the CVRC philosophy,” explains Dr. Torres, who joins Charleston Veterinary Referral Center as an emergency veterinarian. “The ability to provide quality care and to work closely with high-caliber specialists, allows me to not only enjoy my job, but continue to improve and grow as a veterinary professional.”
A member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, Dr. Torres enjoys providing continuing education and mentorship of emergency clinicians, residents and interns.
Dr. Torres and his wife, CVRC Emergency and Critical Care Veterinarian Dr. Kristin Welch, have two children, Micheala and Brendan. Boston, a Lab/Shepherd mix, and Sophie the Chihuahua, round out the Torres-Welch family. Dr. Torres is looking forward to spending more time outside with his family both in the water—and on the shores— of the beautiful South Carolina beaches.
From the time she was in kindergarten, Hilary Evans wanted to go into the medical field. When volunteering in junior high at the Nature Museum in Charlotte, North Carolina, she helped a severely injured opossum and began to think of a career as a veterinarian. In 1991, at age 16, Dr. Evans explored veterinary medicine as a kennel assistant and then as a veterinary assistant from 1994 to 2002.
After receiving her Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science in May 1997 from North Carolina State University, Dr. Evans worked various jobs but soon realized veterinary medicine was her only true passion. She enrolled at the Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine where she went on to receive her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) in June 2005. She then entered a one-year Small Animal Medicine and Surgery Internship at the Metropolitan Veterinary Emergency and Referral Center in Akron, Ohio.
Since graduation, Dr. Evans has brought her passion for emergency medicine to Cape Animal Referral and Emergency Center in South Dennis, Massachusetts and Dove Lewis Emergency Animal Hospital in Portland, Oregon. She has also served as a relief veterinarian at various emergency and general practice veterinary hospitals throughout North Carolina.
“I am extremely excited to work for a high quality veterinary specialty hospital like Charleston Veterinary Referral Center,” says Dr. Evans. “The opportunity to work with a team of highly trained specialists and staff who are all focused on the same thing—the practice of great medicine coupled with great service for clients, patients and referring veterinarians—is the opportunity of a lifetime.”
Dr. Evans is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society. She enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, running and gardening, as well as reading and spending time with Freya, her Dalmatian shelter dog, and cats Romney and Pandora
An avid lover of small animals and horses, Kristin Welch always wanted to be a veterinarian. �Working in veterinary medicine is a perfect combination of people, pets and science. I love what I do because no two days are the same,� says Dr. Welch, who completed her undergraduate studies in biology in 2001 at Framingham State College in Massachusetts.
In 2003 Dr. Welch received her Bachelor of Science in Veterinary Medicine from Michigan State University and went on to receive her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine with Honors in 2005, also from MSU. Dr. Welch completed a Small Animal Medicine and Surgery Internship at the University of Pennsylvania in 2006.
�My first rotation in vet school was in emergency and critical care and I have never looked back,� explains Dr. Welch, who completed a Residency in Small Animal Emergency and Critical Care at Tufts University from 2006 to 2010. Dr. Welch�s clinical interests include cardiovascular disease, hypercoagulability, acute kidney injury and trauma.
Dr. Welch's extensive training, credentials and experience in emergency and critical care will allow her to create one of the few true critical care centers in the Southeast at CVRC. She is the only residency trained, and once boarded, only Board Certified Critical Care Specialist in South Carolina. Her expertise provides CVRC with the capability to treat the most complicated and difficult medical and surgical cases along with the best chance for successful outcomes. With the addition of Dr. Welch, we are committed to becoming the hospital of choice in the area for emergency and critical care.
Dr. Welch is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society. She received the 2005 Small Animal Clinical Proficiency Award from Michigan State University, the 2005 Wade O. Brinker Orthopedic Surgery Award, and was awarded membership to Phi Zeta Veterinary Honor Society in 2004.
Dr. Welch and her husband, CVRC Emergency Veterinarian Dr. Arnaldo Torres, have two children, Micheala and Brendan. Dr. Welch enjoys running, gardening, home improvement projects, and spending time with her family�which includes Sophie, the Chihuahua and a Lab/Shepherd mix named Boston.
Dr. Marisa Hedlund grew up in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelors degree in Biology and Society in 1998. Dr. Hedlund moved to Boston where she worked as a paralegal with the intention of enrolling in law school to attain a degree in environmental law. It was here that Dr. Hedlund had a revelation—she didn’t want to be a lawyer, she wanted to be a veterinarian.
“Growing up, I was always interested in pets and nature,” explains Dr. Hedlund, who worked as a veterinary technician while attending night school to complete her pre-requisites for vet school. “My interest in veterinary medicine was there all along, but it took time for me to come to the realization law was not my future—that I could help people and animals most through a career in veterinary medicine.”
In 2004, Dr. Hedlund began classes at Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine in St. Kitts, West Indies, and in 2007 completed her clinical year at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Hedlund completed her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) in 2008.
Beginning work in 2008 at the VCA South Shore Animal Hospital in South Weymouth, MA, Dr. Hedlund decided the warm weather she had found at vet school in the Caribbean suited her well. She accepted a one-year small animal rotating internship in surgery, internal medicine, emergency and critical care, and radiology at the VCA Emergency Animal Hospital and Referral Center in San Diego. In 2009, Dr. Hedlund began work as an emergency veterinarian with California Veterinary Specialists in Carlsbad, CA.
“I love the challenges and variety of cases that emergency medicine presents,” explains Dr. Hedlund, whose interests include trauma, toxicology and internal medicine. “I am especially concerned with the human-animal bond and understand the importance of being there for the human family and the patient. Even though I'm usually seeing clients at stressful times, I enjoy the interactions and strive to ensure that clients understand what is happening with their pet.”
An emergency veterinarian at Charleston Veterinary Referral Center, Dr. Hedlund has found perfect alignment between her vision and reality in the practice of emergency veterinary medicine. “I love the level of care that comes from an environment of specialists and emergency veterinarians who work as a team to deliver the best treatment veterinary medicine has to offer,” says Dr. Hedlund.
Dr. Hedlund enjoys spending time at the beach and on the water, as well as cooking and hiking with her dogs, Pearl, a senior mixed breed she brought home from the Caribbean, and Josie, a rescue dog.
Originally from Wisconsin, Dr. Sean Ellison entered college as a math and physics major. When his childhood best friend and Shih Tzu “sibling”, Louie, became sick during Dr. Ellison’s sophomore year at the University of Wisconsin, he took him to the local veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment. It was this experience that motivated Dr. Ellison to pursue a career in veterinary medicine.
“I was excited about veterinary medicine because it allowed me to apply biological science in a situation where I could also interact with patients and their families,” explained Dr. Ellison, who received his Bachelor degree in Molecular Biology in 2000 and his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) in 2004 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine. He subsequently completed a dedicated emergency and critical care internship at the Animal Emergency Center in Glendale, WI and has been working nearly exclusively in emergency and critical care since that time.
His pursuit of a career at a sophisticated, progressive emergency and critical care facility led him to North Carolina, where he worked as an Associate Emergency and Critical Care Veterinarian at the Emergency Veterinary Clinic in Matthews from 2006 to 2010.
“I am attracted to the comprehensive approach of Charleston Veterinary Referral Center as well as the team’s enthusiasm and general philosophies,” explains Dr. Ellison, who serves as an emergency veterinarian with the 24/7 emergency and critical care hospital. “The ability to do the best medicine with Board Certified specialists is a great benefit not only to our patients and their families, but also to further my education as a veterinary professional.”
Dr. Ellison’s passion for emergency and critical care medicine stem from his love of seeing patients through their most difficult medical circumstances and comforting them both medically and emotionally during these times. He has a particular interest in fluid therapy, pain control and handling complex medical cases.
The “dad” of three very energetic Siberian Huskies—Kya, Misha and Keeva—who love to take him on long walks, Dr. Ellison also enjoys exercising, biking, movies, travel and reading.
Born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, Dr. Serge Chalhoub started to pursue a degree in human medicine but quickly decided this pursuit was not exactly what he wanted as a career. While completing a bachelor’s degree in biology in 1999 at Bishop’s University, Dr. Chalhoub realized he could combine his love of medicine and animals with a career in veterinary medicine and enrolled at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Montreal.
During the five year DVM program, Dr. Chalhoub developed a strong passion for internal medicine and advanced procedures of all kinds. Balancing his medical interests with participation in everyday school life, Dr. Chalhoub served as the class and business club vice-president. One of Dr. Chalhoub’s favorite memories was organizing the National Veterinary Student’s symposium at FMV in 2000 as part of his mandate as Canadian SVMA president.
Upon graduating the DVM program in 2004, Dr. Chalhoub enrolled in the faculty’s one-year internship program which rotated between small animal medicine, surgery and emergency care. From 2005-2007, Dr. Chalhoub worked full-time as a daytime emergency clinician at DMV Center in Montreal and part-time as a general practice veterinarian in a northern suburb.
In 2007, his passion for internal medicine took over and Dr. Chalhoub was selected as an Internal Medicine Resident at The Animal Medical Center in New York City. The 2-year intensive residency emphasized learning by clinical exposure and Dr. Chalhoub became proficient in gastroenterology, respiratory medicine, interventional radiology (tracheal and urinary tract stenting), ultrasound, and renal medicine—his number one passion.
Offered the first-ever renal fellowship position under Dr. Cathy Langston at The Animal Medical Center (NYC) in 2009, Dr. Chalhoub was exposed and trained on all aspects of upper and lower urinary tract medicine, diagnostics (cystoscopy, fluoroscopy), and therapeutics (dialysis, stenting, lithotripsy, ectopic ureter laser ablation). Dr. Chalhoub began working as a staff internist and nephrologist for The Animal Medical Center in July 2010.
Fulfilling a dream to move south, Dr. Chalhoub serves as Internal Medicine Specialist at Charleston Veterinary Referral Center. “I am excited by the intense vision and team of specialists that Dr. Green has assembled for CVRC,” explains Dr. Chalhoub, who was officially admitted as a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Medicine (ACVIM), Specialty of Small Animal Internal Medicine in March of 2011. “Great chemistry already exists between CVRC specialists, easily lending itself to the practice of best medicine and the ability to work as a team with local referring veterinarians and patients.”
Perfectly bilingual in English and French, Dr. Chalhoub takes an active interest in administrative functions, teaching and continuing education for veterinary interns, technicians and colleagues. A product of the various Canadian seasons, Dr. Chalhoub enjoys soccer in the summer, rugby in the fall, hockey and skiing in the winter, and hiking in the spring. Dr. Chalhoub is the proud parent of a hound mix named Luna.
Dr. Jason King was not one of those people who knew from an early age that he wanted to be a veterinarian. Born in Camden, South Carolina, King attended Kershaw County Public Schools and graduated from the South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Math in Hartsville. He went on to attend USC (Columbia campus) where he received his Bachelors degree in Marine Science and Biology in 1997.
While working as a veterinary technician at the Greater Charleston Emergency Veterinary Clinic, King fell in love with veterinary science. He applied to veterinary school at the University of Georgia where he would go on to complete his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) Magna Cum Laude in 2006.
“I started with an interest in critical care during vet school,” explains Dr. King, “but it was during my first neurology class that I found exactly what I wanted to do—I became hooked on the intricacies of neurology.” Dr. King completed a Small Animal Medicine and Surgery Internship at Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine in 2007. In 2010, Dr. King completed a Neurology/Neurosurgery Residency at the University of California and also became board certified by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (Neurology).
Dr. King will serve as the Staff Neurologist and Neurosurgeon when Charleston Veterinary Referral Center opens its hospital in March of 2011. The addition of onsite MRI at CVRC will enable Dr. King to better diagnose a variety of neurological disorders as well as perform intricate neurosurgical procedures—something that previously has not been available in the area.
Dr. King moved back to Charleston in the summer of 2010 with his wife Rachel and their three adopted “Carolina” dogs: Duke, Sheba and Scout. Dr. King enjoys volunteering with the South Carolina Aquarium and Marine Mammal Stranding Network.
Kerry Rissetto grew up in New Jersey but has spent her entire adult life in the Midwest. After receiving her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Notre Dame, she received her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine Magna Cum Laude from the University of Illinois. She did her small animal rotating internship at the University of Missouri and happily stayed on for a 3 year Oncology residency after her internship. During her residency, she also received a Master’s Degree with her research focused mainly on immune system dysfunction in cancer patients, and how the immune system might be modified to better recognize and eliminate cancer cells in patients with lymphoma and osteosarcoma. Kerry completed her Oncology residency and became board certified by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (Oncology) in July of 2011.
Kerry is extremely passionate, not only about the specialty of Oncology, but more specifically, her patients. “I am so grateful to be in a specialty that attracts the very best and most dedicated clients and patients; My patients are those that have lived wonderful lives with families that care for them enormously and seek out cutting edge care for their companions. I owe it to these patients to see to it that whatever time they have remaining (be it months or years) is GOOD quality time to spend with the families that love them.”
Dr. Rissetto’s goal is to change the way pet owners view the word "cancer" and all that it implies. The negative connotation that is so strongly associated with cancer treatment in human medicine does not hold true for our veterinary patients. “Because of the progressive science and technology that we have available to us at CVRC, "cancer" is no longer a death sentence, and in the majority of cases, it is a disease that can be lived with and "managed," much like diabetes or high blood pressure. My goal as an oncologist is to make sure that the management of that disease provides a better quality of life than allowing the disease to go untreated. If my patients do not feel BETTER under my care, than I am not doing my job properly. The treatment for any disease (especially cancer) should NEVER make the patient feel worse than the disease itself and each consultation will be centered around ensuring that the quality of life of the patient is maintained throughout treatment so that they continue to enjoy swimming, playing frisbee, and of course, taking naps on the beach.”
Dr. Rissetto is available for appointments at the Cancer Center at CVRC Monday through Friday and encourages pet owners to come for a consultation to discuss what is new in veterinary oncology and what cutting edge treatment options are available to their pets. “Most of my clients are pleasantly surprised with the treatment options we have to offer, as well as the prognosis for long-term management and survival. Some cancers require only surgery to provide a cure, while other cancers will require further follow-up therapy and long-term management. Regardless, a visit will help us determine the best treatment that meets the client's goals for the care of their beloved pet.”
In her free time, Dr. Rissetto enjoys playing volleyball, traveling, and spending time with her dog, Elvis. She is excited to be in Charleston and looks forward to exploring the city.
Having grown up in Boston, Dr. Jason Balara is a true “New Englander” who can’t remember a time when he didn’t want to be a veterinarian. “Lots of kids say they want to be a veterinarian when they grow up—I was one of those kids that never changed my mind,” laughs Dr. Balara. His interest in surgery became apparent while he was still in high school working at a local animal hospital. “I assisted in a surgery to help fix a dog’s broken leg and knew that was where I should be.”
Dr. Balara attended the University of New Hampshire–Durham, where he earned his Bachelor degree in Animal Science in 1997. From there, he went on to receive his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) in May of 2004 from Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine, Grafton, Massachusetts.
In 2004, Dr. Balara entered a one-year internship in Small Animal Medicine and Surgery at Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston, MA, followed by a Small Animal Surgery Residency at Tufts University. Dr. Balara achieved his board certification in Small Animal Surgery from the American College of Veterinary Surgeons in February of 2009. His professional interests include hip and elbow dysplasia, fracture repair and minimally invasive surgery.
Since 2005, Dr. Balara has spoken at continuing education presentations about the following topics: Canine Hip Dysplasia, Forelimb Lameness, Oral Tumors in Dogs and Cats, Biosurgery, Fracture Complications, Small Animal Reconstructive Surgery Basics, Thoracolumbar Intervertebral Disc Disease, and Septic Peritonitis.
Dr. Balara escaped the harsh Massachusetts winters in 2008 to work as the Small Animal Surgeon at Carolina Veterinary Specialists in Huntersville, North Carolina. In 2010, Dr. Balara was seriously looking into starting his own specialty practice in Charleston when he came across a CVRC posting looking for a surgeon in the Charleston area.
“I was immediately excited about Dr. Green’s vision to create a veterinary center of excellence where best medicine and client care are top priority,” says Dr. Balara, who accepted the position Board Certified Veterinary Surgeon when Charleston Veterinary Referral Center opened in 2011.
Dr. Balara has been a member of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons since 2009 and an American Veterinary Medical Association member since 2004. In his spare time, Dr. Balara enjoys soccer, triathlons, home improvement projects, and spending time with his Chocolate Lab, Bermuda.