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Alicia Pet Care Center

Alicia Pet Care Center

25800 Jeronimo Rd | Mission Viejo, CA 92691

Call 949-427-9218
Monday 7:00am - 7:00pm
Tuesday 7:00am - 7:00pm
Wednesday 7:00am - 7:00pm
Thursday 7:00am - 7:00pm
Friday 7:00am - 7:00pm
Saturday 7:00am - 3:00pm
Sunday Closed
  • Surgical Care
  • Dentistry
  • Class IV Laser Therapy
  • Boarding
  • Integrative Medicine
  • Animal Boarding
  • Animal Daycare
  • Animal Flea Control
  • Animal Grooming
  • Animal Microchipping
  • Emergency Veterinary Clinic
  • Holistic Veterinary Medicine
  • Small Animal Vet
  • Spaying/Neutering
  • Veterinarians
  • Veterinary Dentistry
  • Veterinary Euthanasia
  • Veterinary Medical Specialties
  • Veterinary Surgery
  • Veterinary Vaccinations
  • New Pet Initial Visit
  • Physical Exam

Alicia Pet Care Center is a full-service veterinary hospital that has been providing high quality care for its patients since 1975. With nearly 50 years in the community, APCC’s incredible team of highly trained and experienced doctors, supported by an engaged and friendly staff, offer an exemplary experience for both pet and pet parent. Quality pet care coupled with a results-oriented approach and a state-of-the-art facility, allow APCC to fulfill their promise to “take care of your babies!”

Services include: pet boarding, vaccinations, preventative care, laparoscopic surgery, and emergency care.

Dr. Wheaton, owner, is a graduate of UC Davis, which is widely known as the best veterinary school in the nation. He has completed a rigorous 1 year internship in surgery and emergency medicine and then went on to work emergency full-time for 3 years. This experience has allowed him to achieve a higher level of understanding and confidence in working with the most difficult and challenging cases.

Alicia Pet Care Center also offers clean, roomy boarding for both dogs and cats. Our dog runs feature glass and stainless steel with no bars. There are also no drains in the back of the runs (like most boarding kennels have) which tend to harbor bacteria and viruses. Dogs are walked 5-7 times daily. Cats board at the opposite side of the facility from the dogs, in large cat condos with perches and a sizable playroom with a view of the outside of the hospital.

All patients benefit from the facility having UV lighting in the air conditioning units that kill all incoming bacteria and viruses and the Lifesource water filter that provides a safe and clean water source for all bathing, cleaning and drinking water.

Our Mission Statement:

We are committed to providing the highest quality veterinary care available in a gentle and compassionate manner. Our goal is to make our patients live a long and fulfilling life. We pledge to treat each patient with dignity and expertise. Every patient's owner will be communicated to in a professional manner and every effort will be made to accommodate their needs. Through continuing education we will strive to stay on the cutting edge of veterinary medicine and to use this knowledge to educate our clients to assume their roles as vital members of the healthcare delivery team. We promise to stand out in the community as the veterinary facility that cares deeply for pets, their owners and has the knowledge and tools to back it up.

Our motto says it all:
We're Taking Care of Your Babies!

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The owner, Dr. Matthew Wheaton and his 3 dogs: Punch, Golgi and Starsky The owner, Dr. Matthew Wheaton and his 3 dogs: Punch, Golgi and Starsky
Front of office Front of office
Our beautiful lobby! Our beautiful lobby!
Spacious boarding! Spacious boarding!
Fabulous kitty condos! Fabulous kitty condos!
Comfortable exam rooms Comfortable exam rooms
Treatment Room Treatment Room
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Lara Ashbran
Lara Ashbran

Lara grew up in Redlands, California with her mother and brother. She also spent part of that time with her dad in Running Springs. There has never been a time in her life where she did not have at least one dog as a pet. When Lara was born, her family had two dogs: a Britney Spaniel and a Kuvasz, who were both so well behaved with her as a new baby. Having dogs around constantly during her childhood fostered her desire to work with animals as a career. Starting at 8 years old, Lara decided she wanted to become a veterinarian and never looked back. At the age of 16, she started her first job working at the local veterinary clinic as a kennel attendant and technician assistant.

Lara chose to attend Colorado State University for her Bachelor's degree because of the veterinary school. While at Colorado State, she worked in a Feline Immunodeficiency Virus laboratory, whose research was focused on trying to develop a vaccine to the Feline Immunodeficiency Virus. After obtaining her 4-year Biology degree, Lara finished a Master's in Anatomy and Biomedical Sciences at Colorado State as well. Living in Colorado was pretty amazing and Lara took full advantage of enjoying the outdoors. She also adopted her first dog of her own: Sahara, a Boxer-Shar Pei-Pitbull mix. Lara absolutely viewed Sahara as her first child.

After finishing her Master's degree, Lara was accepted into the inaugural veterinary class at Western University of Health Sciences. This is where Lara met her husband, Kevin. They both shared a love of animals and soccer and started dating during the first year of school. Another highlight of her time in veterinary school was the month she spent at the San Diego Wild Animal Park as well as a month with the Navy working with their trained dolphins and sea lions. Following veterinary school, Lara completed a 1 year medical and surgical internship at Southern California Veterinary Specialty Hospital. Since finishing the internship, Lara has worked both in an emergency clinic and small animal general practices. What Lara enjoys most about her job is seeing the close connection between owner and pet.

Lara now lives in Mission Viejo with her husband and daughter, Dempsey, and three dogs: Midge, Woolley, and Faru. In her spare time, she enjoys anything outdoors, especially hiking, camping, fishing and watching soccer.

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Jenifer Lassler
Jenifer Lassler

Hi, I'm Jen Lassler! I was born in the Los Angeles area where I grew up with my mom, older brother, and 2 (very large and furry) mixed breed dogs. Pumpkin and Barkey were my best friends and, when I was 5, we took them to our veterinarian to get their vaccines. They were tough cookies, and didn't cry at the doctor (like I did). I knew I wanted to help animals feel better and prevent them from getting sick. Mostly, I just wanted to be surrounded by dogs and cats! Every Career Day at school, veterinarian stayed at the top of my list? followed by baker and private eye.

In my sophomore year of high school I was part of a biomedical science program, and I wanted my annual project to focus on veterinary medicine. I walked into my local veterinary hospital and was given the opportunity to study the efficacy of a de-wormer on animals with tapeworms. During the project, I was offered an after-school job there as a kennel assistant. I worked there for the next 5 years, caring for animals that were boarding there and helping with appointments.

After high school, I obtained dual associate degrees at Pasadena City College. At my brother's suggestion, I enrolled in Mt. San Antonio College's veterinary technician program to get my tech license. This was one of the best decisions I have ever made, and would highly recommend it to anyone thinking about becoming a veterinarian. It strengthened my human-animal bond as well as provided me with a strong foundation to grow from.

During the program, I spent a very educational year training as a veterinary technician at an animal hospital in Pasadena. I then moved on to a full-fledged tech position at Animal Specialty Group, obtained my registered vet tech license, and worked there for 8 years in the intensive care unit and oncology departments. During this time I was accepted into Cal Poly Pomona, where I received my bachelor's degree in animal science.

New and interesting cases fascinated me (and my inner detective) and I always wanted to keep learning, so I continued to work throughout college. I was accepted into the Veterinary Program at Western University of Health Sciences, where I spent 4 years studying hard and traveling to many hospitals in and out of California. During my time at Western, I married my husband, Sean, who had introduced me to the joys of cat ownership! After achieving my doctorate, I did a small animal internship at Southern California Veterinary Specialty Hospital where I was able to work with very critical cases and advance my skills.

Now I live in Orange County with my husband and our two gray kitties, Marbles and Gandalf. There is never a dull moment with this bunch. I am pursuing general practice to be able to follow my patients from puppies to senior citizens, and help keep them healthy all their live-long days!

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Melissa Rellinger
Melissa Rellinger

Hi! My name is Melissa Rellinger and I am so happy to be part of the Alicia Pet Care Center team where I can help your pets thrive! I have always loved animals and decided early on that caring for animals would be my lifelong commitment. I was very fortunate to grow up in both Southern California and the Philippines, as having lived in such distinctly different countries and cultures gave me a richness of experiences and a foundation of flexibility, openness, and wanderlust. My family is comprised of ardent animal lovers, so even though I grew up as an only child, I was always surrounded by dog “siblings”. Being around our pups helped cultivate feelings of compassion, empathy, and an urge to help them when they could not help themselves.

I explored this notion of helping animals in high school when the career counselor organized an opportunity to shadow at a local veterinary clinic. My love for veterinary medicine was solidified after watching my first real life surgery – a canine neuter! With a clear goal of becoming a veterinarian in mind, I pursued my Bachelors degree in Animal Science at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. It was at Cal Poly that I met Graham, my sweet and supportive husband.

I continued my veterinary training and completed my doctorate degree at the University of California, Davis. My primary interests within the veterinary field include Internal Medicine, Dermatology, Geriatric Care, Preventative Medicine, and Acupuncture. I have a lifelong learner mentality and I continually strive to learn about the latest advances in medicine. For this reason, I am a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the California Veterinary Medical Association, and the Southern California Veterinary Medical Association.

Outside of veterinary medicine, I am an avid reader, adventurer, foodie, yoga buff, and wine/craft beer enthusiast. I satisfy my wanderlust by traveling to obscure parts of the world. I recently completed an around the world journey where Graham and I lived as nomads for a few months. While traveling, I used this time to help build homes for disadvantaged families in Romania with Habitat for Humanity. I am also a proud doggie mom to Archie (or Archibald Sinclair when he’s been naughty), who I adopted from an animal shelter while still in veterinary school.

Over the past decade, I have had the pleasure of working with a multitude of pets, families, and rescues throughout Orange County. My favorite aspect of the veterinary profession is creating long-term relationships that allow me to watch my patients grow from little puppies and kittens all the way through to helping them transition gracefully into old age. I truly love what I do and consider my patients and their parents to be a part of my extended family. It is an honor to be trusted with your four-legged family member’s health and well-being. I look forward to meeting you and your pet to provide the highest quality of compassionate care.

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Ashley Dewey
Ashley Dewey

Hi! My name is Ashley Dewey and I grew up with two brothers and a sister on a small ranch in Santa Clarita, CA. Ever since I was a child I have had a deep, innate love for animals that has allowed me to enthusiastically spend hours observing and learning everything about them. Once I realized that every animal I interacted with ended up stealing a piece of my heart, I decided that a career advocating for animal health was the right profession for me. So instead of following in my family's footsteps entering the movie industry, I embarked on a journey to become a veterinarian.

I was very lucky to have found my passion at such a young age, because it allowed me to get a head start on my education. While I was in High school I also attended night classes at College of the Canyons, so by the time I was 17, I had graduated from high school and obtained my associate degree in Biology, making me one of their youngest college graduates.

I then attended California Polytechnic University, Pomona where I received by Bachelors degree in Animal Sciences. This is also where I met my husband, Noah. To be exact, we first met in physics class, but surprisingly, it wasn't me who first attracted Noah's attention away from the riveting physics lectures; it was my little poodle, Zoey, whom I would bring to class with me every day. There's nothing like bonding over a cup of coffee, a stack of physics notes and studying scientific theories to bring two people together. No, seriously... this is the perfect idea of a great night and it's a good thing Noah agreed, because he stood by my side through many more years of school.

To satisfy my desire to understand the prevention and control of diseases between animal and human populations, I obtained a Master's degree in public health at the University of Southern Mississippi. In 2008, my dream to become a veterinarian turned into reality when I got accepted to Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, CA. During my four year journey through veterinary school I was the North America Veterinary Conference representative, as well as the president of the Student Chapter of Christian Veterinary Missions. In 2012, I was elected to serve as a USA delegate at the International Symposium on Wildlife Utilization in South Africa, where I spent 4 weeks traveling throughout Africa working with various wildlife species including elephants, giraffes, zebras, rhinos and large cats.

I love working in a field that is continually evolving and I believe it's important to stay up to date on current diagnostic and treatment modalities. Therefore, after graduating with my doctorate in veterinary medicine I completed an extensive one-year internship in internal medicine and surgery at Southern California Veterinary Specialty Hospital in Irvine, CA. During my internship training, my interest in ultrasonography, surgery and alternative medicine grew and I have recently become certified in regenerative stem cell therapy.

When I am not working I enjoy hiking, traveling, dancing and spending time with my husband and our fur-kids: Dakota (Great Dane), Zoey (miniature poodle) and our two cats: Zack and Spot. My goal is to provide the highest level of care to all my patients, while emphasizing the tenets of compassion and client education. I look forward to getting to know you and your four-legged children.

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Matthew D. Wheaton
Matthew D. Wheaton

Hi, I'm Matthew Wheaton. I was born at Hoag Hospital and grew up in Laguna Beach with 7 brothers and sisters and a constant crew of pets. As I remember, we always had at least 3 cats and 2 dogs growing up, but there were also lots of orphan kittens and puppies, because my father was also a veterinarian. He owned Corona Del Mar Animal Hospital for about 25 years, took a break of about 5 years and built a family pest control business. He then opened Aliso Beach Animal Clinic in South Laguna, but passed away from brain cancer 3 years later.

I started working during the summer of 6th grade and haven't stopped since. My first job was definitely the most challenging job of my entire life. My father's pest control company also would flea dip the customer's dogs and cats which was my job. So, take yourself back to the 80s and remember how ridiculously bad the flea situation was in Orange County. Then put a 12 year old with a scared cat in the bath tub inside a sweltering pop-top van. Add some potent, flea-killing poison dip and you get the worst job on Earth. Oddly enough, that experience for three years did not dissuade me from working with animals for the rest of my life. Growing up in this kind of environment (lots of brothers and sisters and tons of pets) has given me a profound sense of patience and understanding. Putting these traits together with my love for animals, I figured that becoming a veterinarian would allow me to work in a career where I could help both people and animals. I made this decision in high school, so I started working with my dad in an official position as a veterinary assistant at that time.

Luckily, I was accepted at UC Davis for my undergraduate studies. I applied to veterinary school after 3 years of undergraduate work and was accepted, making me one of the 5 youngest members of my class. During my time in Davis, I transitioned from skateboarding and skimboarding to snowboarding. Lake Tahoe was only a short drive away, so my love for the outdoors grew. Much of my free time was spent snowboarding, mountain biking, back packing and fishing in the plentiful wilderness areas. I still enjoy these things very much, but don't get to spend as much time playing like I used to.

After graduating from veterinary school, I moved to West Los Angeles to a one year internship program at California Animal Hospital (now ASEC). The internship was half emergency medicine and half surgery, so I had the opportunity to learn a variety of different procedures and concepts. My mentors at my internship and the very challenging experiences there had a huge impact on my life and are responsible for who I am as a veterinarian today. I enjoyed the emergency aspect of the internship so much that I took a full time position at our local emergency hospital in Mission Viejo, Animal Urgent Care. Taking the job there also allowed me to move back to my home town, where I ended up meeting my wife, Blythe.

When Blythe and I decided to get married, I started looking for a veterinary hospital to purchase so that I could have more normal hours for a family. I approached Dr. Dykstra, who I knew from managing his cases at the emergency clinic. He had been thinking of retiring before I spoke with him and decided that the timing was right for him to spend more time with his family. I purchased Alicia Pet Clinic in the summer of 2000. Since that time, I have worked to turn Alicia Pet Clinic into the state-of-the-art veterinary facility that it is today. We have upgraded every aspect of the facility here and have added countless tools to help us provide the best quality medical and surgical care for all of our patients.

The Wheaton babies started arriving in October 2003 with my son, Flynn Milton. Scarlett Elizabeth came in May of 2005. Our son Callan Becker arrived in December 2009. They are very sweet, intelligent and happy kids that also have their periods of being horribly challenging. We also have 2 dog "babies", Sally Sparkle and Fezzik Hodor. We recently dealt with the passing of Starsky, Blythe's labrador who was the reason she was at the dog park in Laguna Beach the day we met. After the passing of my two Australian Shepherds within the past couple years we rescued "Sally Sparkle" an Aussie of course and a rescued Orange Tabby Cat named "Grover."

Having a herd of dogs at home gives me a great deal of empathy for my clients when they are dealing with their own pet problems. My compassion is born of my own experiences with illness and loss in my own life and with the many pets we have had over the years. Combining that compassion with ultra-high quality medical and surgical care is what makes Alicia Pet Care Center the outstanding veterinary facility that it is today. It is my hope that Alicia Pet Care will feel like another family for all of my clients. All of our team here truly strive to help and stand by our motto, "We're taking care of your babies!"

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Sarah Northrop
Sarah Northrop

Hi, my name is Sarah Northrop.

I grew up in Sacramento, CA with one sister, one brother, four golden retrievers, two cats and a rabbit. Growing up, I always said I wanted to become a veterinarian.

Throughout high school, I focused my time and energy on competitive swimming and cross-country running. My love for these activities led me to seek a degree in kinesiology/ pre-physical therapy at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. I enjoyed this path and the fact that I combined my loves for an active lifestyle, medicine, and people. But one of my favorite things was missing…Animals. In 2003, during my final year at Cal Poly, I began to reconsider my dream of becoming a veterinarian.

With endless support and encouragement from my parents and my now-husband, Brandin, I began the process of applying to vet school. In 2008, I graduated from Western University of Health Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine in Pomona, CA. Following graduation, I completed a one-year internship in emergency medicine, internal medicine, and surgery at an emergency and referral hospital in Sacramento, CA.

Aside from the one year back in Sacramento, I've lived in Orange County since 2003 with my husband and our two dogs, Ace and Cora. Ace is an English Bulldog whom we’ve raised since puppyhood (a bit of a learning process); and Cora is a Boxer/Pitbull mix who found me and won my heart during my internship. They are both nuts but we love them :)

In my free time, I enjoy spoiling my dogs, hiking, trail running, mountain bike riding, yoga, camping and backpacking, gardening, cooking gourmet meals with family and friends, good wine, and just lounging!
I am full of gratitude to have found a profession that allows me to witness, admire, and be a part of the ‘human-animal bond’ every single day. And I couldn’t be happier to have the opportunity to do so as part of the Alicia Pet Care Center family (animals and humans!). I look forward to years of maintaining and improving the health of animals and in doing so, strengthening those bonds between them and ‘their people’.

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