Dr. George Cuellar and Abby
Dr. Cuellar is the owner and president of Southern California Veterinary Hospital. Dr. Cuellar worked at the Southern California Veterinary Hospital from 1985 to 1988 and loved it so much he bought the hospital in June 2005.
Dr. Cuellar was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada and immediately moved to Mexico City with his family then to California two years later in 1961. He attended school in the San Gabriel suburb of Los Angeles. Dr. Cuellar attended San Gabriel High School and then he moved to Atlanta Georgia and finished high school at Woodward Academy in College Park Georgia where he graduated Suma Cum Laude in 1977.
Dr. Cuellar graduated from the University Of Georgia College Of Veterinary Medicine, Cum Laude, in 1984. He decided it was time to go home and, in the summer of 1984, immediately following graduation, he drove back to California. His first job was as an associate veterinarian in a four-doctor practice in the San Fernando Valley where he met his wife Melissa and years later they have three children: his son, Jonathan, born in 1988, his daughter, Alison, born in 1990, and his daughter, Brenna, born in 1997. In addition, there are the “four-legged” children: three dogs: an English Pointer, Abby, a German Shorthaired Pointer, Penny, an Italian Greyhound, Luigi, three cats: Sebastian, Carter, and Buddy, and Timmy a California desert tortoise.
Dr. Cuellar has had several leadership roles past and present including:
Past positions- President and member Board of Trustees of the Southern California Veterinary Medical Association; President and member Board of Governors of the California Veterinary Medical Association, Scientific Program Committee Chair for the Wild West Veterinary Conference in Reno.
Current positions – Member of AVMA Judicial Council; The Judicial Council consists of five-member veterinarians that investigate all matters concerning allegations of unethical conduct on behalf of members of the American Veterinary Medical Association (91,000 members), Co-Chair of the Scientific Program Committee for the Pacific Veterinary Conference (PacVet).
Dr. Cuellar is a board certified specialist in canine and feline practice as a Diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (ABVP C/F) certifying in 1992. Recertification is required every 10 years and he re-certified in 2002 and again in 2012. Dr. Cuellar enjoys internal medicine, dermatology, and surgery.
Dr. Cuellar spends his off time enjoying a variety of sports.
Dr. Mark C. Rigoni and Soot (Our Hospital Cat)
Dr. Mark Christian Rigoni is the Medical Director of Southern California Veterinary Hospital. He has worked full time at Southern California Veterinary Hospital since 1996. He thoroughly loves working with animals and has enjoyed numerous pets in his lifetime.
Dr. Rigoni was born at the UCLA Medical Center and has lived in the Los Angeles area most of his life. He graduated with honors from Servite High School and started his college career at CSUF in 1979 studying physics, biology, and philosophy. A few years later, he embarked on his first career as a fashion model and commercial actor which lasted about 10 years. His first career allowed him to study on his own and live and travel extensively in Europe, Australia, New York, Caribbean, and Japan. While modeling in the Los Angeles area, Dr. Rigoni attended CSUN majoring in biology and philosophy. He ended his first career and moved to Oregon in 1990 to finish his college career. He graduated in 1991 Cum Laude from OSU attaining his B.S. Degree in Biology.
Dr. Rigoni finally graduated from the University of Washington and Oregon State University’s DVM program, Cum Laude, in 1995. Dr Rigoni is married to Natalie Lynn Rigoni who is a specialized animal surgical technician. Dr Rigoni has two children; his daughter Katarina Marie, born in 1997, and his son Hunter Christian, born in 2010. His pets include 3 cats: Maui, Pumpkin, Joey, and one dog Daughtie. Besides his love for animals, he also enjoys outdoor activities and water-sports, such as water skiing, surfing, swimming, and scuba-diving.
Dr. Rigoni has a special interest in Dermatology and Surgery.
Dr. Leticia Gonzalez and Carmella
Leticia Gonzalez,DVM was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley. She first started working in the veterinary field as a veterinary assistant in 1999. She went on to get certified as a veterinary technician while pursuing her degree in Pre-veterinary medicine at Pierce Community College. She worked as a technician for a referral oncology service, general practice and at an emergency critical care center all the while going to 2 colleges simultaneously to complete pre-requisites.
She was accepted to the Colorado State School of Veterinary Medicine and moved there a year early to complete her Bachelor’s degree in Biology. Dr. Gonzalez graduated from Colorado State University, School of Veterinary Medicine in 2013. She completed a specialty rotating internship at Animal Specialty Group in Los Angeles, CA in 2014. She gained experience in neurology, radiology, internal medicine, oncology and assisting with cutting-edge surgeries.
Dr. Gonzalez has since been working as a full time veterinarian in a general practice setting. When Dr. Gonzalez is not working, you may find her hiking, horseback riding in the mountains or walking her dog Carmella along the trails.
Dr. Lori Prater and Pumpernickel
Dr. Prater is our new Associate Veterinarian. She comes to us after a long-term position in Simi Valley.
Dr Prater was born in Illinois and spent her childhood in Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, and Connecticut before ending up in Colorado which her family calls home. Dr Prater attended high school in Boulder, Colorado before moving to Herndon, Virginia where she finished high school and then attended the University of Virginia. She completed her BA in Environmental Sciences at University of Virginia in 1995.
Dr Prater then went back home to Colorado to attend veterinary school. She graduated from Colorado State University, College of Veterinary Medicine in Fort Collins, Colorado in 2002. She initially practiced veterinary medicine in northern California and Colorado before moving to Southern California in 2005.
In California, Dr. Prater has been in general small animal practice with additional work providing medical care for Guide Dogs of America. Her special interests include emergency medicine, dentistry and gastrointestinal disease.
Dr. Prater lives with her husband and two cats Pumpernickel, 11 (pictured) and Peanut, 6. While not working, she is an avid martial arts enthusiast with 26 years’ experience in a variety of styles. Her hobbies are varied and, while not sparring, include baking, canning and, lately, knitting. Her favorite activity, though, is relaxing with a good book on the couch with her husband and her kitties.
Dr. Erin Bennett and Zora
Dr. Bennett is transitioning back to working as a relief veterinarian, providing relief services for doctors throughout the Southern California area and Oregon. She will no longer be working a regular schedule but instead, will be here from time to time.
Dr. Bennett’s love of animals started at a very early age. She grew up surrounded by pet dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, and even a lizard, and learned early-on, the impact that loving a pet can make on a person’s life. To this day, she feels that one of the most important roles of a veterinarian is to strengthen the human-animal bond.
She attended Cal Poly Pomona, earning high academic honors while competing as a student-athlete in cross country, and graduating with degrees in Animal Science and Microbiology. Dr. Bennett went on to attend Western University of Health Sciences for veterinary school, where she was part of a very important historical milestone in veterinary medicine, graduating as a member of the charter class of veterinary students from that school. In order to complete her clinical training, she traveled to veterinary hospitals all over the country. Some of her favorite clinical rotations included animal behavior, a very chilly equine medicine rotation in the state of Washington, where she slept in the loft above the horses in the hospital barn, and a rotation at the CDC studying bacteriology. For over four years after graduating from veterinary school, she worked as a small animal associate in private practice before transitioning to working as a relief veterinarian, providing relief services for doctors throughout the Southern California area.
In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family (furry included!), practicing yoga, visiting farmer’s markets and using the fresh finds to create delicious meals, and reading. Having grown up in a family of outdoor enthusiasts, she continues to find true contentment while camping (especially in heavily-treed areas), hiking, bike riding, and exploring new adventures in the great outdoors.
Dr. Dana Hernandez and Katey
Dr. Hernandez is an associate veterinarian of the Southern California Veterinary Hospital. She has worked here on occasion for 3 ½ years and recently started working 1-2 days every week including Saturday. She decided to come here for “the great staff I get to work with and wonderful clients”
Dr. Hernandez was born in Fontana and grew up in Southern California and attended from Ontario and Fillmore High Schools.
Dr. Hernandez graduated from University of California, Davis College of Veterinary Medicine in 1998. Dr. Hernandez did a private practice residency in Internal Medicine at Los Angeles Veterinary Specialists in West Hollywood. Dr. Hernandez is Board Qualified and interested in Internal Medicine.
Dr. Hernandez lives in Thousand Oaks with her pets. She has one dog, Koby, a Pomeranian, and two cats, Katey and Lafawnduh. Dr. Hernandez spends time learning martial arts and doing Pilates. Her other hobbies include hiking, tennis, reading and traveling.
Dr. Ashley Burgos and El Che
Ashley Mustakas, DVM, is a graduate of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Western University of Health Sciences. After earning her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine credentials, she successfully completed a 14 month rotating small animal internship at the Hollywood Animal Hospital in Hollywood, Florida. During her rotating internship, additional training in surgery, internal medicine and emergency medicine was obtained under the auspices of boarded specialists. Dr. Mustakas then worked as an emergency and critical care veterinarian at a referral and specialty hospital in Palm Beach, Florida. Her experience at the referral hospital helped to deepen understanding of complex critical cases, emergency stabilization and advanced diagnostic and treatment options. Her profile interests now include primarily small animal (dog and cat) general practice with a focus on wellness, geriatric care, preventive care, soft tissue surgery, internal medicine, pain management and dermatology. Nutrition consulting is also available for healthy pets as well as pets suffering from illness.
Dr. Mustakas has two dogs, Dakota, an older Golden Retriever and El Che a Chihuahua mix that looks like he was made from spare parts. She also has two California desert tortoises that will be 2 years old in September 2015 named Dusty Little Foot and Tortzilla.
Che speaks: Yes, that is young, handsome me in the picture. I was found about six months prior and had just gained some weight finally. I was found emaciated, parasite infested and needed surgical removal of my nails from my paw pads to walk normally. I have traveled extensively and have been to 38 states, Canada and Mexico. I like hiking, fishing, snorkeling, traveling, eating cat food, and visiting friends. I do not like the cold nor the rain and I am very opinionated. I prefer the company of adults and can’t be bothered with children and other species. I am who I am, El Che.