Meet the NorthStar VETS team: Heather Knapp-Hoch, DVM, MS, DACVS

Dr. Heather Knapp-Hoch is a member of the Veterinary Surgery team at NorthStar VETS. In this blog post and video below, she talks about her education, the types of surgeries in which she specializes, and why NorthStar VETS is at the same level as the nation’s top academic veterinary specialty hospitals.

Dr. Knapp-Hoch’s education
We caught up with Dr. Knapp-Hoch, who was checking up on a patient. Dr. Knapp-Hoch is a veterinary surgeon, and she has always had a passion for helping animals. “I originally went to school to become a marine biologist and got into some research. I fell in love with research and I went to grad school for genetics and molecular biology. While I was there, I fell in love with clinical medicine, and working with animals during that process. That’s when I decided to take a different approach and go into veterinary medicine to embark upon a clinical journey to help animals.”

“I did my veterinary education at Washington State, then I did my internship and residency at Cornell University. I stayed on as a clinical instructor at Cornell for three years after I finished my residency. I mainly specialized in soft tissue surgery, however I also did orthopedics.”

“What led me to NorthStar VETS was that I had family in the area and I wanted to get back into northern New Jersey, which is where I grew up. I was looking for a progressive private practice that had an academic feel to it and I found a really great home here at NorthStar VETS.”

Dr. Knapp-Hoch’s specialties
Dr. Knapp-Hoch has several different specialties, and she treats a wide variety of cases at NorthStar VETS. “I do surgery on pets either on an emergency basis or on a planned surgical basis as a referral. I do both orthopedics and soft tissue, however, my passion is definitely surgical oncology. I do a lot of tumor surgeries and excisions of large masses and I also really love minimally-invasive surgery. I specialize in both surgical oncology and minimally-invasive surgery as well as Interventional Radiology.”

Why NorthStar VETS is on par with the top academic veterinary hospitals
Dr. Knapp-Hoch works alongside 40 different doctors at NorthStar VETS. “The patient care and the expertise of the doctors here is on par with any academic university I’ve ever been at and I think that that’s wonderful because I know when an animal comes here, they can get the well-rounded, specialized care of every specialty needed and that’s really an amazing thing to find at a private practice.” Dr. Knapp-Hoch and the team at NorthStar VETS are looking forward to helping you and your pets. She continued, “Seeing my patients come back for a recheck and seeing them with an improved quality of life, and being happy and healthy and returning to what they were before they had their problem that led them to have to visit me is what I love. That’s a really cool thing about my job, and it’s pretty impressive that we can practice medicine and surgery at a veterinary level with the same expectations that humans get. One thing that makes me happy is when pet parents come in and say that they would rather be treated here than at a human hospital. That really makes me feel good about the kind of care and quality of care we provide.

Learn more about the Surgery service at NorthStar VETS

Heather Knapp-Hoch, DVM, MS, DACVSHeather Knapp-Hoch, DVM, MS, DACVS
Originally from New Jersey, Dr. Knapp-Hoch is excited to return home and join the NorthStar VETS surgical team. Dr. Knapp-Hoch earned her Bachelor of Science in biology from Long Island University in 2001. She then traveled across the US to obtain a Masters degree in genetics and cell and molecular biology from Washington State University where she also obtained her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine in 2007. Dr. Knapp-Hoch then completed a small animal rotating internship at Cornell University in 2008. Following her internship she completed a three-year surgical residency at Cornell University in 2011. She obtained board certification in 2012 and practiced as a small animal clinical instructor at Cornell University from 2011-2014.

Dr. Knapp-Hoch’s special areas of interest include surgical oncology and minimally invasive surgery including laser ablation of ectopic ureters. She is proficient in advanced wound management and has a special interest in the use of negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) to treat difficult surgical and traumatic wounds. She is trained in both the tibial plateau leveling osteotomy (TPLO) and the tibial tuberosity advancement (TTA) surgical procedures for cranial cruciate ligament disease.

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