VCA Advanced Veterinary Care Center
15926 Hawthorne Blvd | Lawndale, CA 90260Call 310-953-4671
- Emergency & Critical Care
- Cardiology (Heart & Vascular System
- Oncology (Cancer)
- Internal Medicine
- 24-Hour Vet
- Emergency Veterinary Clinic
- Small Animal Vet
- Veterinary Medical Specialties
- Veterinary Surgery
- Veterinary Vaccinations
- New Pet Initial Visit
- Physical Exam
VCA Advanced Veterinary Care Center is a referral and emergency center founded to provide specialty services to support the needs of referral veterinarians. Our team of specialists works closely with your veterinarian to provide compassionate and effective therapies, using the most up-to-date advances in veterinary medicine. We are here to provide extensive medical and surgical services on an emergency basis to all veterinarians and pet owners. Our full-service emergency center is open 24 hours a day to provide complete and continuous patient care so that your pet may be discharged to your veterinarian or your home in stable condition.
Please call us today with inquiries about our specialty services or to schedule your pet's appointment.
Dr. Carolyn Briggs received her veterinary degree from the Ontario Veterinary College in her native Canada. Upon graduation, she completed a rotating internship in small animal medicine and surgery at the University of Prince Edward Island. Dr. Briggs then practiced in a busy private small animal hospital located in Washington before moving to California where she completed a residency program in small animal internal medicine at the University of California Davis.
Dr. Briggs became a board certified Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine in 2000. Dr. Briggs enjoys all aspects of internal medicine including endocrinology, immunology, gastroenterology, hematology, infectious diseases, nephrology/urology, and respiratory disease. Dr. Briggs is well experienced in various endoscopic procedures including esophagoscopy, colonoscopy,
gastroduodenoscopy, bronchoscopy, rhinoscopy, and cystoscopy. She has also obtained additional training in tracheal stent placement.
Dr. Briggs lives in Orange County with her family, her Bulldog Lola, and her cat Tommy.
Dr. Tamara Da Costa G�mez is a 2000 graduate of The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine. After a rotating internship at VCA Berwyn/Franklin Park Animal Hospitals in Chicago, she completed a 3 year residency in small animal surgery at the University of Wisconsin � Madison. She practiced in Chicago for 5 years, during which time she became a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons. She recently moved to California with her husband and joined Advanced Veterinary Care Center in 2010.
Dr. Da Costa G�mez enjoys both soft tissue and orthopedic surgery with a special interest in reconstructive surgery and minimally invasive techniques. She is certified to perform Penn hip radiographs and stem cell therapy and has had additional training in microvascular techniques. Using cutting edge medicine and multimodal pain management techniques, her goal is to work as an advocate for her patients and help their owners determine the best course of treatment for them and their loved ones.
When not taking care of her patients or her many pets at home, she enjoys time outdoors, wildlife rehabilitation, international travel, and scuba diving.
Dr. Heather Elliott received her Veterinary Degree from Western University of Health Sciences in 2008.
Following graduation, she completed a rotating internship in small animal medicine and surgery at Advanced Veterinary Care Center.
After successfully completing her internship with Advanced Veterinary Care Center, she worked for Crossroads Animal Emergency Center in Norwalk, CA.
Dr. Elliott has worked in the animal industry for 13 years. Even though veterinary school was intensely demanding, she was able to work at a busy high specialty practice concurrently. Her goal is to one day pursue an Emergency and Critical Care Residency.
Dr. Elliott enjoys the unpredictable aspect as well as the fast pace of emergency medicine. Her philosophy is to provide compassionate care to clients and patients, especially during stressful emergency situations.
Dr. David Heller graduated from Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine in 2002. From 2002-2003 he served as an intern in small animal medicine and surgery at the Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Thereafter he went on to complete a 3-year combined residency and masters program in Oncology at the University of Illinois, College of Veterinary Medicine.
Upon completion of his residency and examinations, Dr. Heller attained diplomate status with the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. In 2006, Dr. Heller and his family relocated to Southern California. He has practiced in the region since then and joined the staff at Advanced Veterinary Care Center in 2009.
Dr. Heller values the relationship that develops between the patient and owner, family veterinarian, and specialist. This relationship serves to benefit the patient in many ways. Dr. Heller believes that providing patients with an excellent quality of life is the most important aspect of his practice as a veterinary oncologist.
Outside of work, Dr. Heller enjoys spending time with his wife, also a veterinarian, and his 2 young children. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling and learning about economics.
Dr. Kobayashi is a 1985 graduate of the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. Following graduation Dr. Kobayashi completed a rotating internship and a residency in internal medicine at the Animal Medical Center in New York City in 1988. She spent four years at Rowley Memorial Animal Hospital in Springfield, Massachusetts and subsequently served as staff internist at a large referral center in Fountain Valley, CA until 1995. She became board certified in internal medicine in 1994. From 1995 to 1998, Dr. Kobayashi served as an internal medicine consultant for a regional veterinary laboratory. Her special interests include complex cases in endocrinology, hematology, nephrology and gastroenterology, as well as interventional ultrasound and endoscopy.
Dr. Kobayashi is a native Californian who was born and raised in the South Bay; she attended Fern-Greenwood Elementary School, Torrance High School and University of California, Los Angeles. She owns two cats, Jackson and Oliver, and two dogs, Remy and Ruslan. She is also an avid music and basketball fan.
Dr. Michael Lesser graduated from Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine in 1987. He went on to complete an internship in small animal medicine and surgery; and a residency in veterinary cardiology at the Animal Medical Center in New York.
In 1991, Dr. Lesser moved to Southern Californ and achieved Diplomate status in the American College of Veterinary Medicine specialty of Cardiology shortly thereafter. Over the years he has developed a specialty referral practice in the Los Angeles area and is now the medical director and head cardiologist at Advanced Veterinary Care Center in Lawndale, CA.
Dr. Lesser's expertise includes non-invasive techniques such as echocardiography, color flow Doppler ultrasound, electrocardiography and non-invasive blood pressure monitoring. He also performs interventional cardiology including pacemaker implantation, balloon valvuloplasty, angiography and trans-catheter occlusion for patent ductus arteriosus.
Dr. Lesser's philosophy is to help provide animals with a good quality life for as long as possible. This is best achieved when there is a team effort which includes the owner, referring veterinarian and Dr. Lesser all working together to achieve a common goal.
Dr. Cynthia Panek was born and raised in central Minnesota. She attended the College of Saint Benedict, achieving a B.A. in Biology. She obtained her DVM from the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine in 2007.
After completing her DVM, Dr. Panek moved to Northern California�s east bay, where she completed her Small Animal Internship and Internal Medicine Residency at Bay Area Veterinary Specialists.
Dr. Panek joined the staff at Advanced Veterinary Care Center in December of 2010. Dr. Panek�s experience working at Northern California�s largest multi-specialty veterinary referral and emergency hospital makes her uniquely qualified to work at Advanced Veterinary Care Center. She works closely with Drs. Kobayashi and Briggs to meet the internal medicine needs of our referring veterinarians and pet owners.
Dr. Panek has special interests in gastroenterology, renal disease, immune mediated disease and performing various endoscopic procedures. In her spare time, Dr. Panek enjoys beach volleyball, outdoor activities and spending time with her dog Bodhi and cat Pip Squeak.
Dr. Danielle Yuhas earned her DVM from Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2005. She completed two (2) one year internships: the first in small animal medicine, surgery and critical care services from the Animal Medical Center in New York and the second in cardiology at Florida Veterinary Specialists, Tampa, Florida. In July 2007, Dr. Yuhas was accepted into Advanced Veterinary Care Center's 3-year small animal Veterinary Cardiology Residency Program and completed her residency in July 2010. Subsequently, in the same month and year, she passed her cardiology board certification exam and became a Board Certified Cardiologist.
Upon successfully completing her residency, Advanced Veterinary Care Center was fortunate to have her join our team of veterinary cardiologists.
Dr. Yuhas enjoys traveling and photography. She and her husband reside in Redondo Beach with their two dogs.
Dr. Mari Waterman received her docotr of veterinary medicine degree from Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2007. After graduation, she completed 2 consecutive internships: a rotating small animal internship at VCA Veterinary Specialty Center of Seattle and a cardiology specialty internship at Animal Surgical and Emergency Center in Los Angeles. She trained in cardiology as a resident at Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine in Blacksburg, Virginia from 2010-2013. In September 2013 Dr Waterman joined the medical staff at Advanced Veterinary Care Center.
Dr. Waterman works hard to provide exceptional cardiovascular disease diagnosis, management, and client education in both the Lawndale and San Fernando Valley locations. When not working, she enjoys baking, hiking, and spending time with her husband and animals at home.