Cool Case Ceili


The tumor on Ceili's right elbow was cancerous and needed to be addressed.

The tumor on Ceili’s right elbow was cancerous and needed to be addressed.

Ceili, a rat terrier, has had fatty tumors before, but this one was different. This time around, Ceili’s growth was firm and she reacted when touched. Ceili’s veterinarian at Garden State Animal Hospital checked it out for her and determined that this one was cancerous. Ed and Nancy were told they needed to see a Veterinary Oncologist.

Ed and Nancy would do anything for Ceili, so their next step was to research veterinary specialty hospitals in the area. They read Yelp reviews and combed through websites. Ultimately, they settled on NorthStar VETS. “When we looked up NorthStar VETS, we felt like they were a great blend of experience and compassion. That’s why we chose to go there.”

When they came in for their appointment in the Maple Shade location, they met with Dr. Jennifer Kim of the Oncology service. Ed and Nancy didn’t know what to expect or what the diagnosis and prognosis would be when they came to the hospital. In the hour they spent, they built a great rapport with Dr. Kim as they explored the options. Dr. Kim performed additional tests to determine that it was a non-invasive, low-grade tumor and referred them to Dr. Daniel Stobie of the Surgery service to discuss removing it.

These innovative skin expanders allowed for removal of Ceili's tumor with enough skin to close the site afterward.

These innovative skin expanders allowed for removal of Ceili’s tumor with enough skin to close the site afterward.

At the second appointment, this time in Robbinsville, Ed and Nancy discussed the options with Dr. Stobie. “There were basically three,” they remembered, “chemotherapy, full amputation of the leg, or removal of the tumor with the innovative use of skin expanders to allow the site to close properly after surgery.” Ed, Nancy and Dr. Stobie felt that the skin expanders in combination with surgically removing the tumor would be the best option, and it would allow for the use of chemotherapy beads which would improve Ceili’s post-surgery prognosis.

Now Ed and Nancy were faced with their next big decision. Because Ceili is thirteen and has a known heart murmur, she is a higher-risk patient for anesthesia. they made an appointment with Dr. Ryan Keegan of the Cardiology service to have Ceili checked out. Ceili’s heart looked pretty good, so Ed and Nancy moved forward with scheduling her first surgery.

The skin expanders under Ceili's skin stretched the skin to allow for a successful phase 2 procedure.

The skin expanders under Ceili’s skin stretched the skin to allow for a successful phase 2 procedure.

To be fully successful, Ceili would require two surgeries. The first would be simple and involve the insertion of two little flat disks, each about the size of a nickel, under her skin near the tumor. These disks are designed to pull fluid from the surrounding tissue and soak it up like a sponge, inflating as they go. The slow pace of growth allows the disks to stretch the skin above it, which makes it more useful in the second surgery when they have to stretch that skin over the surgery site after the tumor is removed. This is exactly what happened and the first surgery was a complete success. Three weeks later, the skin expanders had done their job and Ceili was ready for phase 2.

Still confident, Ed and Nancy moved forward in the process. “Other than a luxating patella (loose kneecap), Ceili is active and healthy, especially for her age.” Ceili is Ed’s second dog, but his wife was raised with dogs. Their family has expanded to include Chance, a Black Labrador Retriever, and Lola, an Australian Shepherd. Years ago, when Ed and Nancy’s first dog, a Newfoundland named Max, passed away, their daughter wanted another dog and that’s when they discovered Ceili as a puppy. She shared a birthday with Ed, and it just felt right. It wasn’t long before the entire family fell in love with her. “Ceili is friendly and independent, but loves to be pet. She barks at every noise she hears and despite being the smallest of the three dogs in the house, is definitely the one in charge. As a pup, she loved snuggling into our laps, and learned lots of great tricks like playing dead. She’s a perfect blend of smart and loving mixed with a healthy dose of independence.”

The second surgery was a success, with the expanders and the tumor gone, there was room to implant chemotherapy beads into the site and close the skin with appropriate tension.

The second surgery was a success, with the expanders and the tumor gone, there was room to implant chemotherapy beads into the site and close the skin with appropriate tension.

Ed and Nancy were nervous on the day of the big surgery, but it came and went successfully. Dr. Stobie performed the procedure to remove the tumor with good margins along with the skin expanders, inserted chemotherapy beads into the site, and closed the skin with just the right amount of tension to heal well. Dr. Stobie called Ed and Nancy to give them the good news while Ceili woke up from her anesthesia and they were ecstatic. The next day, she went back home. “Ceili is fine at home. She doesn’t love this cone she’s got to wear, but she’s using the leg more and more. We’ll be back soon to get the sutures removed, and she seems much more comfortable.” Now Ceili and her family look to the future. “Hopefully, things will be good. Both locations (Maple Shade and Robbinsville) were honest and compassionate, and cared about our emotional state through the process. Plus, the entire team seemed completely smitten with Ceili! We’ll be back!”
Ceili woke up from surgery feeling much more comfortable thanks to the good decisions of Ed and Nancy along with the expertise of the NorthStar VETS team.

Ceili woke up from surgery feeling much more comfortable thanks to the good decisions of Ed and Nancy along with the expertise of the NorthStar VETS team.

Learn more about the Surgery and Oncology services at NorthStar VETS.


Daniel Stobie, DVM, MS, DACVSDaniel Stobie, DVM, MS, DACVS – Founder and Chief of Staff
A New Jersey native, Dr. Stobie completed his undergraduate work at Cook College/Rutgers University and is a 1990 cum laude graduate of the University of Missouri-College of Veterinary Medicine. He completed an internship in small-animal medicine and surgery at the Angell Memorial Animal Hospital in Boston, then went on to complete a three-year surgical residency at the University of Minnesota and earn a Master’s Degree in Veterinary Surgery, Radiology, and Anesthesia in 1994. Dr. Stobie became a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons in 1995. In 2007, he completed the mini-MBA certificate program at the Rutgers School of Business. Read the full bio for Dr. Stobie.

Jennifer Kim, DVM, DACVIM (Oncology)Jennifer Kim, DVM, DACVIM (Oncology)
Dr. Kim grew up in New York and received her BA from the University of Pennsylvania. After two years at the National Cancer Institute performing cancer genetic research, she attended veterinary school at Tufts University. Dr. Kim completed a rotating internship at the Animal Medical Center in Manhattan, New York, and an oncology internship at Cornell University. She began at NorthStar VETS as an emergency clinician in 2005 and returned in 2010 to treat oncology patients after completing her residency in medical oncology at Michigan State University School of Veterinary Medicine. In her free time, Dr. Kim is an avid foodie and knitter.

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Struvite Dissolution Pearls for Veterinarians


Struvite (magnesium ammonium phosphate) bladder stones are a common stone seen in younger dogs. 99% of struvite stones are related to a urease-producing bacteria associated with a urinary tract infection. The great things about these stones are that they are completely dissolevable with medical therapy! Any patient that presents with bladder stones should have a urinalysis and urine culture. If the urine culture is positive, consider trying dissolution with a combination of antibiotics, a struvite dissolution diet, and periodic radiographs to monitor your progress.

Here are some pearls of wisdom when performing a struvite dissolution protocol:

  1. Base your antibiotic therapy on a urine culture. The diet AND the antibiotics must be given throughout the dissolution protocol. Do not stop the antibiotics until you document that the stones are gone! The diet must be fed EXCLUSIVELY!
  2. Once the stones are dissolved and the infection is resolved, these dogs do not need to stay on a stone prevention diet. This is an infection-related stone, so monitoring for infection is the most important preventive therapy.
  3. It is a very small risk to develop a urinary obstruction as the stones get smaller in size. This is a RARE complication and should not be a reason not to attempt struvite dissolution.
  4. Dogs with struvite stones who present with stranguria and hematuria often have these signs secondary to infection rather than the stones themselves. Once you treat the infection, you will often see a resolution in clinical signs.
  5. Some of the dissolution diets are high in fat, so make sure there are no contraindications in your patients.

Learn more about the Internal Medicine Service at NorthStar VETS.

Kimberly Hammer, DVM, DACVIMKimberly Hammer, DVM, DACVIM – Medical Director, Robbinsville
Dr. Hammer received her veterinary degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in 2000. She spent a year at Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine for a small animal internship and returned to the University of Pennsylvania for a two-year residency in small animal internal medicine. She earned board certification from the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine in 2004. She has a special interest in interventional radiology/endoscopy and minimally invasive procedures. Her other interests include endocrinology, gastroenterology and hematology. She currently serves as the medical adviser for the NorthStar VETS blood bank. She joined the NorthStar VETS team in September 2007.

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FDA Issues Recalls on Three Brands of Pet Food


The FDA recently issued notices on its website regarding three pet food manufacturers with food containing excessive amounts of vitamin D. The companies have issued voluntary recalls. More information is available at the links below.

  1. Natural Life
  2. Orlando
  3. Nutrisca
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Coco to Warm Your Heart


CocoCoco came quickly into Gail’s life. One afternoon, Gail was busy taking care of her human patients at work at Robert Wood Johnson when a coworker found a young stray cat and wanted to find it a home. When the cat was offered to Gail, she immediately said yes and brought Coco home to meet Gracie, her seven-year-old cat. They were fast friends.

Soon after that, Coco was taken to see his family veterinarian for a procedure. Things seemed to go well until the next night at home when Gail awoke to the sound of banging in a different part of the house. Upon investigating, Gail found Coco walking into furniture and looking confused. “Was he blind?” she thought to herself. In panic, she made the decision to bring Coco into NorthStar VETS to get checked out.

Within minutes of arriving and checking in, Siobhan, a technician at NorthStar VETS, was seated beside Gail. “She was so good to me,” Gail exclaimed. In this moment, Gail was in shock and feeling guilt-stricken at the thought that her cat may be blind. Although Coco had suffered a seizure, Gail wasn’t sure what was going on and whether he’d make it. “Siobhan took care of me right away and put my mind at ease. Dr. Tasker, who examined Coco, was amazing and did the same.” It seemed that Coco had a neurological problem that was destined to come out eventually, but going under anesthesia brought it to light sooner. That’s when Dr. Gaemia Tracy of the Neurology team took over the case the next day.

“Dr. Tracy called me on Monday morning, and that’s when I accepted that Coco didn’t have a quick fix in his future, but did have hope.” It was recommended that Coco have an MRI of his brain to see what was going on, and Gail knew what she had to do. She approved the testing and awaited the results. Later that day, Dr. Tracy called. “It looks like Coco has an inflamed brain due to immune-mediated Meningioencephalitis.” This meant he would be in the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit for more than two weeks to undergo treatment and recovery.

Gail came to visit Coco every day in the ICU, and sometimes twice a day when she could do it. “They never rushed me and let me stay and hold him as long as I needed. Everyone got to know me and Coco. The receptionists greeted me warmly each day, the nurses showed me respect, and I never felt like I was a bother to anyone.” In spite of that, Gail was still feeling unsettled. “The waiting was excruciating,” she admitted, “and going to work was the only time I could take my mind off things.” Her coworkers were empathetic and offered support through the ordeal. Finally, after two long weeks, she received the phone call from Dr. Melanie Puchot of the Internal Medicine service she was waiting for. “Would you like to take him home today?” she asked.

Gail was ecstatic because she couldn’t wait any longer to bring him back home. “I just wanted him close to us,” she said, “and I was willing to give him the continued care at home that he needed. I gave him his three different medicines each day without issue and helped him find his new normal at home.” Coco is still mostly blind, and figuring out how to navigate around the house. Gail is holding out hope for the future that by sixteen weeks, he will regain more vision.

Coco2For much of this time and especially since then, Gail and Coco have been back to see Dr. Puchot for continued additional care. “They don’t come any finer!” Gail gushed. She really connected with Dr. Puchot during her visits and the feeling was mutual. Dr. Puchot now proudly displays a framed photo of Coco on her desk and said, “this was one of my favorite cases this year because I connected so deeply with Coco and Gail.” Dr. Puchot was happy to get to know Coco and help in a big way with this case.

By this point, Gail was slowly getting used to her new pace of life with Coco at home. “I feel so good now,” Gail continued, “we got through it, and I couldn’t have done it without the team at NorthStar VETS. Every person was pleasant, and I hope to give the patients I work with the same level of care! When you’re giving great care, you have to take your time and be present with people, and NorthStar VETS gets that. They treat people well!”

Learn more about the Internal Medicine service at NorthStar VETS.


Melanie Puchot, DVM, DACVIMMelanie Puchot, DVM, DACVIM
Dr. Melanie Puchot is a Texas native who received her veterinary degree from Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2013. After graduation, she completed a small animal rotating internship at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. She then returned to Texas A&M University and completed a 3-year residency in small animal internal medicine in 2017. She has a special interest in endocrinology, nephrology and interventional endoscopy / radiology. Dr. Puchot is excited to join the team at Northstar VETS.

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Is Anesthesia Safe for My Pet


Fear of anesthesia is often cited as a reason why pet parents hesitate to put their dog or cat under for a procedure. Although risks inherent to anesthesia do exist for veterinary patients, the chance of death from anesthesia is low in healthy cats and dogs undergoing routine elective procedures. The chances of death in healthy cats and dogs are less than 0.1 percent and the chances of death in sick cats and dogs is less than 1.5 percent.

Source: Veterinary Anesthesia and Analgesia Fifth Edition

Source: Veterinary Anesthesia and Analgesia Fifth Edition

A study of cats under anesthesia reported that anesthetic risk decreases with adequate monitoring of the patient’s vitals and blood oxygenation levels. In an effort to minimize risk to our patients, we at NorthStar VETS adhere to current veterinary anesthesia standards by implementing diligent monitoring of patient vitals. Standard monitoring includes pulse rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate, mucous membranes and capillary refill time, temperature, ventilation (measuring exhaled carbon dioxide), blood oxygen levels, and EKGs.

Because anesthetic risk is associated with the health status of patients, we recommend pre-operative bloodwork in our patients to complement the results of our physical examination to better assess our patient’s health status prior to anesthesia. Diagnostic tests sometimes help us identify hidden diseases so you can make an informed decision about your pet’s health.

Source: Veterinary Anesthesia and Analgesia Fifth Edition

Source: Veterinary Anesthesia and Analgesia Fifth Edition

While old age is not a disease, geriatric patients commonly present with additional diseases that can predispose them to anesthetic complications. Many of the patients that come to NorthStar VETS are older and sick. This sub-population of patients therefore will benefit most from a thorough pre-anesthetic diagnostic workup. Surgery and anesthesia doctors and nurses at Northstar VETs benefit from the support of specialists in Surgery, Internal Medicine, Cardiology, Emergency and Critical Care and our residency-trained Anesthesiologist to improve the safety of anesthesia in our higher-risk patient population. We are able to tailor our anesthesia protocols to an individual pet’s needs to ensure the safest anesthetic experience possible.

Learn more about the different services at NorthStar VETS.


Raphael Vezina-Audette, DVM, MScRaphael Vezina-Audette, DVM, MSc
Raphael Vezina was born in Montreal, Quebec and lived in Mexico, Brazil and Ireland. Dr. Vezina attended McGill University and graduated in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science degree (Anatomy and Cell Biology) and in 2009 with a Master of Science degree (Biology). He attended the University of Montreal, School of Veterinary Medicine from 2010-2014. Immediately after graduating veterinary school, Dr. Vezina worked in private practice in Montreal for a year. Then, Dr. Vezina pursued a residency veterinary anesthesia in Philadelphia, PA at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Veterinary Medicine with Dr. Bernd Driessen as his program director. Dr. Vezina completed his residency before joining NorthStar VETS in August of 2018. Dr. Vezina’s professional interests include pain management and locoregional analgesia. Dr. Vezina is available for consults if you need to discuss the risks of anesthesia as it pertains to your pet ahead of surgery!

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Believing in Magic


Dr. Coggeshall watches over Magic in the hospital's Intensive Care Unit.

Dr. Coggeshall watches over Magic in the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit.

Jose considers himself a man of faith, a faith which was tested recently when his dog was lost for two days under a building collapse in Philadelphia. Fortunately, his story didn’t end there. Watch the news stories which cover the first half of Magic’s saga at NBC and 6ABC. You’ll see in these videos Dr. Jason Coggeshall of the NorthStar VETS Surgery service examining the dog. Dr. Coggeshall doesn’t live too far from Jose and Magic, so as soon as he heard about what happened, he rushed over to help.

Jose was beside himself after thinking that he lost his dog, then miraculously getting him back. “A piece of my heart went away when I tried to find him, but couldn’t. I had a dream that he was still with me, but I was starting to think he was gone.” Jose still remembers the flood of emotion that came over him when the construction crew called him to tell him they uncovered Magic and he was still alive. “I immediately broke down crying. He’s always been a fighter, I just had to keep the faith and give him a chance.” Jose called his family to rejoice.

Jose and Magic leaving the hospital to go home

Jose and Magic leaving the hospital to go home

Shortly thereafter, Dr. Coggeshall was there to examine Magic and encourage Jose to bring him to NorthStar VETS in Maple Shade. “He was severely dehydrated, had head trauma, and needed care right away” Dr. Coggeshall reported. Jose took the advice, loaded Magic into his car, and brought him in. Magic received fluids and care for a couple days after his ordeal, then was discharged to go home with his family.

“It’s about helping each other,” said Dr. Coggeshall, “because I’d want someone to do that for me.” Jose felt similarly. “I help people with their cars. Helping others is so important to me, which is why I was so grateful for Dr. Coggeshall and my neighbors who rallied around me. Magic is like a son to me, I am so attached to this dog. I trained and taught him to be kind and he loves other people the way I love him. I am so happy he’s home.”

Learn more about the Surgery service at NorthStar VETS.


Jason Coggeshall, DVMJason Coggeshall, DVM
Dr. Coggeshall is a Maryland native with a passion for veterinary surgery, research and teaching. He earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Maryland and his doctorate in veterinary medicine at Tuskegee University’s School of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Coggeshall completed internships at the Dallas Veterinary Surgical Center and Iowa State University. He also completed a Comparative Orthopedic Research fellowship at the University of Florida. Dr. Coggeshall completed the first year of his surgical residency at the Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge and the subsequent two years at the Veterinary Referral Center in Malvern, PA. Dr. Coggeshall has a strong interest in clinical research, orthopedic surgery, minimally invasive surgery, and trauma surgery.

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Canine Distemper Deals Fatal Blow to Raccoons in Ocean County


NorthStar VETS wants to make pet parents aware of a serious problem happening at the shore. Canine Distemper is currently running rampant through the raccoon population because they have no immunity to it. This disease can also affect pets, so it is advised that you visit your family veterinarian to discuss keeping your pet safe against canine distemper.

Read news coverage of the issue at NJ.com and ABC7 NY.

Separately, Dr. Steven Berkowitz of the NorthStar VETS Emergency and Critical Care team recently warned area pet parents about the spike in Leptospirosis cases in the region and advised them to see their family veterinarian to discuss getting their pets vaccinated.

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NorthStar VETS Behaviorist Reviews New Book in JAVMA


This book review appeared in The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA) Volume 253 No. 6, September 15, 2018.

The Dog: A Natural History
Adam Miklosi, DSc, PhD
224 pages. 2018. Princeton University Press.
ISBN 978-0-691-17693-2. Price $27.95.


In the introduction to The Dog: A Natural History, the authors state their wish to show the dog from many different perspectives. They achieve that goal, albeit inconsistently. The authors draw on research findings to present information about dogs including current concepts in dog ecology and evolution, anatomy and physiology, and basic genetics. It is presented in a textbook-like format with beautiful color photographs and clear diagrams. The text was written in short discrete paragraphs, which makes for easy reading for today’s typical easily distracted readers. Given that the authors are primarily researchers in canine cognition and ethology, it is not surprising that the sections on canine behavior, especially those on sensing, thinking, and personality, and explanations of normal canine behaviors are the strongest.

Unfortunately, the book has inconsistencies that may make it difficult or inaccessible for some readers. Although the authors do a good job of explaining canine behavior, they do not always define behavioral terminology. Readers may not understand terms such as agonistic encounters or afflictive interactions. There are also instances when a research finding is presented in context but not fully explained. This occurs more frequently in sections that are outside of the authors’ areas of expertise, such as nutrition and the very brief section on behavior problems and illnesses entitled “Malformation in Behavior.” Overall, I believe this a book that dog owners will enjoy, especially those seeking to easily expand their background knowledge of what dogs are and where they come from; however, readers should be aware that the information provided is more of a stepping stone than a definitive reference.

Learn more about the Behavior service at NorthStar VETS

Laurie Bergman, VMD, DACVB
Dr. Laurie Bergman received her VMD from the University of Pennsylvania in 1993. She worked in small animal practice on Cape Cod and completed an internship in Wildlife Medicine and Surgery at Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine. She began working in behavior practice in 1998 and entered a residency in behavioral medicine at the University of California Davis in 2000. Since becoming a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists in 2003, Dr. Bergman has worked in academic practice in California and private practice in Pennsylvania.

Dr. Bergman’s interests include pet-family interactions, finding practical approaches to behavior problems and treating behavior problems in birds and exotic pets. Dr. Bergman lives in Pennsylvania with her two human children, senior dog, Riley, Australian Terrier puppy, Ivan, Leopard Gecko, Mo, and Bearded Dragon, Frederick. She competed in agility with her previous Australian Terriers and hopes that Ivan can grow up to be an agility dog, too.

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NorthStar VETS Cool Case Ranger


The team at NorthStar VETS is doing innovative and amazing things every day as they work to advance the level of care available to your pet. This series of posts highlights cool cases at NorthStar VETS and the types of things done to save pets and improve their quality of life. These are cases using innovative and cutting-edge medical techniques, and/or stories of pets beating the odds. This is the story of Ranger, a patient of both our Oncology and Surgery teams.

RangerRanger’s Story
Ranger is an eight and a half year old Golden Retriever who was diagnosed with a bone tumor. It was in an unusual location involving the right ulna, which in dogs is a non-weight bearing bone. The radius in the front limbs bears most, if not all, of the weight. Because of this, Ranger did not have to undergo a forelimb amputation. Instead, he had an ulnar ostectomy which allowed us to remove just the affected bone. Biopsy was diagnostic for hemangiosarcoma. This tumor arises from blood vessels and is mostly seen affecting the spleen and heart. Ranger is doing well since surgery and just received his third dose of chemotherapy in hopes of delaying disease recurrence for as long as possible.

The middle of Ranger's ulna is less bright in this radiograph due to disease in the bone.

The middle of Ranger’s ulna is less bright in this radiograph due to disease in the bone.

In the post-operative radiograph, Ranger's ulna is removed to prevent the spread of cancer. You can also see little circles near where the bone used to be. These are implantable beads that deliver medicine to the area.

In the post-operative radiograph, Ranger’s ulna is removed to prevent the spread of cancer. You can also see little circles near where the bone used to be. These are implantable beads that deliver medicine to the area.


This CT image confirmed the extent of Ranger's disease.

This CT image confirmed the extent of Ranger’s disease.

Ranger's diseased ulna can be seen in cross section on this CT image. It is the one on the bottom left.

Ranger’s diseased ulna can be seen in cross section on this CT image. It is the one on the bottom left.

Learn more about the Oncology and Surgery services at NorthStar VETS.

Dorothy Jackson, DVM, DACVIM (Oncology)Dorothy Jackson, DVM, DACVIM (Oncology)
Originally from the South, Dr. Jackson attended Mississippi State University for her undergraduate studies and veterinary school. Following veterinary school in 2009, she completed a rotating internship at the University of Missouri followed by a specialty internship at Georgia Veterinary Specialists in Atlanta. Dr. Jackson was lucky enough to obtain both academic and private practice experience during her residency, training at the University of Pennsylvania and Veterinary Cancer Center in Connecticut. Following her residency, Dr. Jackson obtained board certification in Oncology and worked at Red Bank Veterinary Hospital for 2.5 years before joining the Northstar VETS team.

Being an Italian from the South, Dr. Jackson loves food. She loves cooking new recipes and trying new restaurants with her wife…another Italian. When not traveling to new places, they enjoy their time at home with their 3 cats who keep them quite entertained.

Daniel Stobie, DVM, MS, DACVS - Chief of StaffDaniel Stobie, DVM, MS, DACVS – Chief of Staff
A New Jersey native, Dr. Stobie completed his undergraduate work at Cook College/Rutgers University and is a 1990 cum laude graduate of the University of Missouri-College of Veterinary Medicine. He completed an internship in small-animal medicine and surgery at the Angell Memorial Animal Hospital in Boston, then went on to complete a three-year surgical residency at the University of Minnesota and earn a Master’s Degree in Veterinary Surgery, Radiology, and Anesthesia in 1994. Dr. Stobie became a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons in 1995. In 2007, he completed the mini-MBA certificate program at the Rutgers School of Business.

Following his residency, Dr. Stobie headed a surgical service at the Animal Medical Center in New York City for two years, joining a specialty practice in New Jersey as a staff surgeon in 1996. In 2000, he formed Veterinary Surgical and Diagnostic Specialists (a mobile surgical and ultrasound practice) that evolved into what is today, NorthStar VETS, where he serves as Chief of Staff.

Committed to helping advance the veterinary industry, Dr. Stobie participates in many organizations and is a member of the New Jersey Veterinary Medical Association (where he has served on the executive board), the South Jersey VMA, Jersey Shore VMA and the Metropolitan VMA.

He also has served as an adjunct clinical instructor in small-animal surgery at the Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. He is widely published in veterinary journals and textbooks, and lectures locally, nationally and internationally. Dr. Stobie also participates in veterinary management groups, providing guidance on veterinary economics and practice management.

In addition, he is involved in development of new and novel surgical techniques including the dome trochleoplasty for patellar luxations in dogs, and is currently helping an implant company to develop a new hip replacement prosthesis. In March 2013, he led a group of veterinarians to Malawi, Africa to help improve animal health in local villages there.

Dr. Stobie is a strong advocate for child welfare and the more than 60,000 children in New Jersey’s foster care system. He lives on a farm with his husband, their three children and enough animals to fill Noah’s Ark. He enjoys spending time with his family and loves the beach. His hobbies include horseback riding, gardening, and beekeeping.


The information presented on this web site is not intended to take the place of your family veterinarian’s advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Discuss this information with your own veterinarian to determine what is right for your pet. All information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. We can not and do not give you medical advice via this blog. The information contained in this online site and emails is presented in summary form only and intended to provide broad understanding and knowledge. The information should not be considered complete and should not be used in place of a visit, call, consultation or advice of your veterinarian. We do not recommend the self-management of your pet’s health problems.

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Meet the NorthStar VETS Team: Laura Tasker, DVM, CVMA


Laura Tasker, DVM, CVMA is a doctor in the Emergency and Critical Care service at NorthStar VETS. In this video, she talks about how horses got her into small animal medicine, the types of cases she sees, and what she loves about working at NorthStar VETS.

Dr. Tasker’s Path to Small Animal Veterinary Medicine
We caught up with Dr. Tasker, who was seeing a patient. Dr. Tasker has been riding horses since she was two, and caring for her animals inspired her to become a veterinarian. “I did my veterinary school training at Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine and did my clinical year at Colorado State University. I did an Emergency and Critical Care internship at the Veterinary Surgical and Emergency Center. Originally, I went to veterinary school to become an equine veterinarian, but I felt like I should have a little more experience with small animals, which is why I chose a small animal internship not knowing it would turn into a career! I really liked it, and I keep the horses as my hobby.”

The Most Common Types of Cases Dr. Tasker Sees in the Emergency
Dr. Tasker sees a wide variety of different cases each day. “I see anything from congestive heart failure, bite wounds, toxicities, collapse, trauma, and anything along those lines. One of my favorite cases to treat was a ‘big dog-little dog’ bite wound attack. The little dog had so much trauma that the skin flap came entirely off the dog’s side. He was very unstable when he came in. We were able to stabilize him and take care of the wounds. He went home a completely happy, healthy, and well-adjusted dog who looked great at the time of recheck.”

The Best Thing About Working at NorthStar VETS According to Dr. Tasker
Dr. Tasker enjoys the team atmosphere at NorthStar VETS, and she can always find another doctor to bounce ideas off of and help. “We’re all a cohesive group, which is wonderful because you can always get optimum care any time. It’s a beautiful environment in which to work, and we have everything we need at our disposal. It’s definitely gold-standard medicine.” Dr. Tasker and the team at NorthStar VETS are available 24/7 to help you and your pets. “It always keeps things fresh, I never know what I’m going to see, and I love my coworkers. I really like people in general, so I like communicating with the public and sometimes getting people through some hard times.”

Learn more about the Emergency and Critical Care service at NorthStar VETS.

Laura Tasker, DVM, CVMA
Dr. Tasker earned her bachelor of science degree in animal science from the University of Delaware. She continued her veterinary studies at Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine, with a year of clinical training at Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine. She completed an internship in emergency and critical care at the Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center in Levittown, Pennsylvania. Her professional interests include trauma stabilization, wound care, and metabolic diseases. She is certified in both large and small animal veterinary acupuncture, and has a particular interest in pain management. Outside of NorthStar VETS, Dr. Tasker enjoys spending time with her family and friends, playing with her Australian Shepherd, and all things horses.

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