Dr. John Beccari
Dr. Beccari's Bio
Dr. Beccari’s passion for animals developed at an early age. He grew up in a large family but never owned a dog or cat of his own. He turned to the wildlife that frequently visited his backyard to see what he could keep. Feeding and taming toads, tree squirrels, and random tortoises never really worked out. Eventually, a pair of gerbils, named Rocky and Adrian, made a home in the Beccari household. Family and friends nearby offered Dr. Beccari the opportunity for additional interaction with pets. Being greeted every morning on the way to school by a neighbor’s Shih-Tzu named Mopsy was a big highlight in Dr. B’s day.
Realizing his passion for science and his to desire to own pets really shaped his future in becoming a veterinarian. During college breaks, he worked in a small animal emergency hospital fortifying his decision to become a veterinarian. He graduated from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University in 1995.
During his time at Cornell, he met his wife, Justie. They married in 1995 and headed west to escape the freezing cold in search of a new home and career.
They purchased AAH in 1999 and welcomed 2 additional partners in 2007. He wears many hats around the hospital including handyman and computer guru. His greatest passion lies in examining pets and getting to the bottom of what ails them. Ultrasound, dental procedures, intestinal surgeries are just a few of Dr. Beccari’s skills.
Dr. Beccari now has a large family of his own, most members being animals. He has 2 beautiful daughters, Madeleine and Alexandra and 8 pets collectively (not including the koi fish in their pond at home). In his time off Dr. B enjoys being with his family, hiking, traveling, camping, and exploring new places. He is also learning to play the guitar.
Dr. Justie Reimann
Dr. Reimann's Bio
After graduating high school in New York and McGill University in Montreal, Canada, she attended Cornell University Veterinary School, where she graduated in 1994. She met her husband (Dr. John Beccari) at Cornell and together they decided they were done with freezing cold weather and headed to California in 1995, cats, dog, and bird in tow. After working in other private practices, they bought Academy Animal Hospital in 1999 and have been proud to call it a family-owned practice since.
As an owner and partner at Academy Animal Hospital, Dr. Reimann enjoys putting her people skills to work by talking with pet owners about their pets’ health as well as getting to know pet owners on a personal level. She strives to make visiting the vet a positive experience for both the pet and owner. Always up for a challenge, she loves the investigative side of veterinary medicine.
Dr. Reimann and her husband, Dr. Beccari, have 2 daughters, Madeleine and Alexandra, who share in the passion for animals, always wanting more pets. They share their home with 2 Dachshunds, Rocket and Sebastian; 1 Yorkie-Poo and coyote-attack-survivor, Bella; and 5 cats: Otto, Dixie, Toby, Pierre, and a crazy Bengal named Briar. Outside of veterinary medicine (does that ever actually happen?) Dr. Reimann and her family love hiking, camping, skiing, traveling, and yoga.
Dr. Lou Serrano
Dr. Serrano's Bio
Dr. Serrano has had a special interest in animal welfare and the science behind it since he was a teenager. His first job in a veterinary practice, which wasn’t the great experience he had hoped for. Thankfully, through volunteer work at a humane society and a more positive experience at a different hospital, he realized where his passion laid. After graduating from Veterinary school, Dr. Serrano gained practical experience working at several different hospitals in the L.A. and Orange county areas before moving to San Diego in 1986.
Growing up in the L.A. area, Dr. Serrano spent a lot of time surfing as a kid. After high school, he moved to Washington State to pursue his veterinary degree. He earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Washington State University in 1983. Dr. Serrano lives in Carlsbad with his wife, Cathy. They share their home with their 2 cats, Stella and Porter. When not seeing pet patients, Dr. Serrano can be found paragliding over San Diego. He also enjoys playing golf, guitar, and drums. He and Cathy spend time hiking, biking, and going on road trips together.
Dr. David Zanders
Dr. Zanders' Bio
Dr. David Zanders (Dr. Z) grew up in the suburbs of Kansas City, Kansas. He frequently visited his friend’s family farm where he developed a caring connection with dogs, cats, horses, and other farm livestock. He made his decision to become a veterinarian after his personal horse broke her leg and, in spite of veterinary care, had to be euthanized. It was at that moment that he learned that veterinarians not only care for animals but for the people who are committed to those helpless creatures.
After only 2 years of undergrad, Dr. Z was lucky enough to get accepted into the veterinary program at Kansas State University, where he received his degree in 1976. Shortly after graduating Dr. Zanders decided to escape the cold and moved to San Diego to begin his career as a small animal veterinarian (he saw and treated large animals for 4 years too!).
Dr. Zanders is a partner at Academy Animal Hospital. His true passion lies in providing excellent preventative care for his patients. He treats all his clients like family (he has been known to call on weekends and holidays) and his patients like one of his own pets.
Dr. Z shares his home with his wife, Lyn, 1 dog (Eli), 2 cats (Trudy and Stuart), and 15-year-old goldfish named Guy. He has 2 daughters, Sophie who lives in Los Angeles, and Jennifer, a child psychiatrist in San Diego, and a grandson, Eli. During his spare time, Dr. Z enjoys playing his banjo and guitar with his band, playing golf, and visiting family. He served on the board of the Escondido Humane Society for 14 years and was president of the board for 2 years. He was also involved in the Spay/Neuter Program of San Diego for low-income households.
Dr. Carolyn Neilson
Dr. Neilson's Bio
After high school, Dr. Neilson set off east, attending Amherst College for her undergraduate degree. She then went to Tufts University, where she earned a Master’s in Science in Conservation Medicine. Massachusetts apparently was not far enough east for her, so she moved across the pond and attended the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Edinburgh. She graduated in 2019 with her B.V.M.S. (same as D.V.M., only British; just like color and colour.) During her time there, she participated as a student researcher for the Scottish Wildcat Action Plan, a conservation organization working to protect the remaining population of Scottish Wildcats.
Between her experience at the Safari Park and involvement in the Wildcat conservation, Dr. Neilson initially thought she would become a zoo veterinarian. Fortunately, the sweet smiles of small animals beckoned her instead. After spending a year practicing in Phoenix, Dr. Neilson returned to sunny San Diego and joined Academy’s team in August 2020.
Dr. Neilson has two cats, Mobi and Jack. Mobi was born and raised in Scotland and meows with an accent. Jack is as orange as the pumpkin he was found behind as a kitten and has classic second child syndrome (basically, he’s the baby, and he knows it.) In her free time, Dr. Neilson enjoys volleyball, glass fusing, and cosplaying. She views the San Diego Comic-Con as an Olympic sport, and her cosplay talents have been featured on multiple Comic-Con stages.
His interest in science and medicine combined with his passion for animals naturally drew Danny to the veterinary field. He grew up with pocket pets, but could often be found pet sitting for his neighbors. Danny started at Academy at the ripe old age of 16 and has never left! He has truly dedicated his life to making pets as comfortable and healthy as possible. Danny can be found assisting the doctor, making sure our systems are working properly and engaging with clients.
Growing up right here in Solana Beach, Danny first started his journey helping out and learning as much as he could. Through his time and experience, Danny became a veterinary assistant and eventually was able to achieve his RVT license. He currently lives with his girlfriend, Debbie, and their daughter, Lily (who shares her dad’s passion for animals.) Together they enjoy going to the beach and the San Diego Zoo. Their four-legged family members include 2 cats, Raziel (who will steal your food), and Ariel (who is constantly begging for food) and 1 dog named Louie (who has perfected the art of begging).
Kathy always knew she would have a career in animal care. Growing up with dogs, birds, hamsters, a horse, and having family in the veterinary field, it is no wonder that Kathy would follow suit. Her natural curiosity and love of learning, coupled with a strong desire to care for animals propelled Kathy into veterinary nursing. She joined our team in 2006 as a receptionist and has moved to nursing through training and experience.
Originally from Arizona, Kathy moved to San Diego in 2003. She lives with her 3 cats (Azula, Purrsephony, and Rigby.) Kathy enjoys hiking; while the kitties prefer a more laid back life style lounging on the couch and enjoying a treat or two. Kathy enjoys exploring new places, meeting new people, and learning about new cultures. Her travels have taken her to England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, and Australia.
Katie’s huge love and compassion for animals has been the key for her entering the veterinary field. Ever since she was a small child, Katie has wanted to make a positive impact in every animal’s life that she encountered, no matter how big or small. After earning her license, she worked at other hospitals before finding her home at Academy in 2011. Her passion to make a difference makes her a huge asset to our Academy family.
Originally from Northern California, Katie moved to San Diego in 2003 and attended the Animal Health Program at Mesa College, where she received her credentials as a Registered Veterinary Technician. She and her husband, Pete, met in San Diego and have 2 daughters, Lorelei and Madeleine. They share their home with an Akita mix named Bender, and 3 cats (Benjamin, Baloney, and Carlos Santana.) When not taking care of pets at Academy Katie loves being outdoors with her family (including Bender). They enjoy going to the beach, swimming, and horseback riding.
As a child, Laura was always bringing home stray animals, mainly cats and dogs, many of whom her family ended up keeping. This was her segway into the veterinary field. Laura came to Academy Animal Hospital in 2011. Although her first priority is making everyone who comes to Academy feel welcome at the front desk, Laura can be found helping our nurses and doctors where needed.
Laura was born in San Diego, raised in Arizona, and attended Arizona State University where she received her degree in Kinesiology and met her husband, Justin. She and Justin moved back to San Diego in 2011. They have a little boy named Jackson who loves bubbles and Mickey Mouse. They share their home with a Black Lab, Jasmine, whose hobbies include sleeping and sharing Jackson’s food. During her off time, Laura enjoys yoga, cooking/baking, and reading. As a family, they enjoy exploring new places together (Jackson has already been to Europe!)
Misha’s nurturing personality was present even as a child, always caring for younger kids and pets alike. Growing up she had 1 dog, a Briard named Anya, who was her best friend (she would often sneak her sugar cubes!). Originally she planned on becoming a teacher but got sidetracked when she was given an opportunity to learn dog training and behavior. From there Misha took it one step further and entered the veterinary field. She came to Academy in 2007 as a receptionist and has moved to Hospital Manager where she runs the in and outs of the hospital.
Born in the Czech Republic, Misha moved to the San Diego with her parents when she was 5 years old. She met her husband, Bryan, in high school and they have 2 kids, Anicka and Seth. They share their home with their Golden Retriever, Topper, and their black cat, Jack. They enjoy spending as much time in the water as possible, whether it’s on the lake, at the river, or at the beach. They also love going tent camping with family and friends.
Tracy De La Vega
Tracy had the joy of growing up with an assortment of pets. From dogs and cats to turtles and chickens, she wanted to make sure each pet lived a long and comfortable life. She came to Academy in 2007 to pursue her passion for taking care of pets. As a veterinary nurse, she can make a difference in a pet’s life through kindness and a gentle touch.
Born and raised in El Centro, Ca, Tracy attended Pima Medical Institute and got her certification as a Veterinary Assistant. She lives with her boyfriend, Hector, and their son, Christian. Tracy has 2 cats, Vasily and Suki, both of whom are rescues, and Coco, a cockatiel. She is passionate about her favorite sports team, the San Diego Padres, and loves watching and attending sports events. She has played the clarinet, bass, sax, and guitarron in various bands of different genres over the years including jazz, rock, and mariachi.
MaryJane came to Academy Animal Hospital after 5 years in the pet retail business. She found her passion lies in connecting with owners, their pets, and client education. Her main focus is making sure your visit is positive for both you and your pet. Whether in person or over the phone, her smile is radiant!
Born and raised in Southern California, MaryJane earned a degree in Cultural Anthropology from Willamette University with a music scholarship. She has played the flute for 23 years, including playing in the San Diego Youth Symphony. She lives with her 2 dogs, Marley and Georgie, and kitty, Zaika. Marley is a 6lb Chihuahua princess who enjoys a warm lap to lie on and Georgie, a Corgi-Jack Russell Terrier mix, loves nothing more than a good game of fetch with her favorite tennis ball. During her time off, MaryJane can be found volunteering at a Zebra Rescue in Ramona!
Maya has loved animals since she was a child. Although she wasn’t able to get a dog until she was 10, her first word was “dog.” Her passion for animals drove her to her first job at Petsmart, where she eventually became a Pet Care manager while earning her degree in Biology from the University of Delaware. She went on to work for a veterinary clinic and eventually earned her license as a Registered Veterinary Technician. She uses those skills every day to provide the best possible care for our patients.
She moved to San Diego in 2010 and shares her home with her little Terrier Mix, Artemis, and 2 cats, Percius and Achilles. (Someone likes Greek mythology.) When Maya isn’t working, she enjoys long-distance ocean swimming, cooking, and baking. She loves taking Artemis to doggie play-dates and other outdoor adventures.
Michelle has always loved animals. She grew up with a cat as her best friend and feels a close connection to felines. After receiving her associate’s degree, she became an animal care liaison, working for the foster program at a local rescue in San Diego. From there, she realized she wanted to gain more hands-on experience in the veterinary field. She joined the Academy family in December 2016. You can find her interacting with clients and pets alike at our front desk. She always makes sure pets and owners feel welcome and cared for.
She grew up in Rancho Bernardo and attended Palomar College for liberal arts. Currently living with her boyfriend, David, they share their home with their rambunctious Husky, Stella, and Polly, a polydactyl kitty. (Polydactyl means she has several extra toes, which Michelle absolutely adores!) When not working, you can find Michelle camping, hiking, snowboarding, and going to the beach. She is very creative and enjoys crafts and baking!
Shea always knew she wanted to work with animals. She grew up in a household full of rescue animals, from cats and dogs to pocket pets and turtles. After gaining experience and working at a rescue organization, Shea joined our team in 2017. She is able to use her nursing skills assisting the doctors, whether in surgery or in an exam room and making sure each pet in her care is treated like one of her own.
Born and raised in San Diego, Shea attended UCSD where she earned her Bachelor’s of Science in Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution. She and her husband, Blake, and their son, Finley share their home with their 2 rescue dogs, Blueberry (a 7-year-old Terrier mix) and Thor (a 3-year-old Chihuahua mix). During her free time, she enjoys painting, hiking, and watching movies with her husband, son, and dogs.
Growing up, Annie was always surrounded by animals, cats, dogs, chickens, goats, horses, and even an occasional pet duck. It is no wonder that her love for animals followed her into her adult life. Wanting to expand her knowledge in the animal field, brought her to Academy Animal Hospital at the beginning of 2019 where she can be found getting clients and their fur-babies checked in for their appointments and helping the nurses and doctors as needed.
She is a native San Diegan, growing up just a few miles from Academy! After graduating from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, she followed her passion for horses, which led her to become a Ranch hand in Northern California. During her time there, she gained great experience in animal handling. During her time off, Annie can be found at the beach, surfing, running, or playing volleyball. When she ventures off the coast, she enjoys hiking and camping. She currently does not have any pets of her own (we’re working to remedy this) but loves watching and caring for her parents’ dogs, Choco (a lovable, gentle chocolate lab) and Duke (a spunky cocker spaniel).
We treat your pets like the valued family members they are.
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