Meet The Team

We don’t just care for animals, we also care for the people who love them

Specialists & Veterinarians

DIRECTORS & SPECIALISTS

Dr Eugene Buffa

BVSc MMedVet Surgery

SMALL ANIMAL SURGICAL SPECIALIST

Eugene is the founding surgeon of The Pet Specialists Group. He qualified as a Specialist Small Animal Surgeon in 1995 and brings many years of surgical experience and expertise to the team. He has worked in multiple Specialist small animal hospitals within Australia and abroad, including the University of Sydney Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Eugene has completed research into canine wound healing which was published internationally and is particularly interested in the surgical management of Canine Cranial Cruciate Ligament Disease. Eugene is passionate about animals’ wellbeing and focuses on helping his patients and their owners achieve the best possible outcome using the highest standards of veterinary care.

Dr Dave Collins

BVSc FANZCVS Small Animal Medicine

SMALL ANIMAL MEDICINE SPECIALIST

A Northern Beaches native, Dave graduated from the University of Sydney in 1995 and earned his specialist qualification if 2013 . He has 20+ years of veterinary experience, with the last eight spent focusing on referral medicine. Dave has been an examiner for the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists on several occasions, and a speaker and convener of veterinary conferences in New Zealand, Japan and Italy for more than  10 years. Dave is committed to ensuring the Northern Beaches has its very own quality veterinary care provider, and becomes acquainted with pets of the local community, along with his dog, Kirby, a frequent visitor at local clinics and dog parks.

Dr Kathleen Chow

BVSc (Hons I) BSc(Vet) MVS FANZCVS

VETERINARY DIAGNOSTIC IMAGING SPECIALIST

Kathleen graduated from the University of Sydney in 2006. After working as a small animal veterinarian she undertook an internship in small animal medicine and surgery. Her interest in veterinary imaging developed during this time and she then completed a residency in Veterinary Radiology at the University of Melbourne during 2014. Kathleen is a Member and a Fellow of the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists in Veterinary Radiology. She has published in internationally recognised journals and spoken at multiple international and local veterinary conferences. Kathleen has been working solely in the field of Veterinary Radiology for 7 years. 

Dr Alen Lai

BVSc(hons), GradCertVetStud, FANZCVS (Surgery)

SMALL ANIMAL SURGICAL SPECIALIST

Alen is a Fellow of the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists and a specialist in Small Animal Surgery. Following graduation from the University of Queensland with first class honours, he completed a multi-disciplinary internship at the University of Sydney Veterinary Teaching Hospital, followed by a surgical specialty residency at North Shore Veterinary Specialist Hospital. Alen has served on the membership examiner panel for the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists. His clinical research has focused on fracture biomechanics, canine cruciate ligament disease and hip dysplasia. He is active in providing continual education for general practitioners and referral clinicians, to ensure that optimal care is always provided to our patients. 

CLINICAL DIRECTOR

Dr Jennifer Smith

BVSc (Hons)

CLINICAL DIRECTOR AND HOSPITAL VETERINARIAN

Jennifer graduated from Sydney University in 2002 with honours and has over 17 years of practice experience, working at various leading Emergency and Specialist Centres within Sydney, along with ‘A’ class Small Animal Hospitals and mixed practice both in Australia and abroad. She has a diverse skill set and is a proficient surgeon while also holding a  keen interest in small animal internal medicine, oncology, dermatology, anaesthesia, imaging, palliation and critical care having further studies in each of these areas. Jennifer has a real passion in caring for our most critical and recovering patients and helps bridge the gap between the various hospital specialties throughout the day.  Her fundamental goal is to enhance the experience and outcome of our patients, clients and referring Vets. 

SPECIALISTS

Dr Elizabeth Thrift

BVSc (Hons) FANZCVS

SMALL ANIMAL MEDICINE SPECIALIST

Elizabeth has been a veterinarian since 2007 and a registered Specialist Veterinarian and Fellow of the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists (ANZCVS) in Small Animal Internal Medicine since 2019.  She is a leader in the local veterinary community and demonstrates constant thought and consideration of how to exceed client’s expectations and make her patients comfortable whilst achieving good outcomes. Elizabeth is primarily a practising clinician, however also spends time as an educator and speaker in the veterinary industry on canine and feline medicine topics. She is the President of the Small Animal Medicine chapter of the ANZCVS for 2024-2026 and has been a prior examiner for the ANZCVS Small Animal Medicine chapter. Elizabeth is the Director of Clinical Improvement & Innovation and is committed to advancing veterinary science by providing leadership and advice on clinical excellence and innovation and implementing best practice. She also leads our Internship program and mentors our post-graduate veterinarians. Elizabeth is focused on maximising health outcomes for patients, improving care and safety, championing evidence-based practice and clinical innovation, supporting clinical collaboration, antimicrobial stewardship initiatives and prioritising positive mental health of veterinary professionals.

Dr Sarah Davies

BVSc MS DipACVR

VETERINARY DIAGNOSTIC IMAGING SPECIALIST

Sarah achieved her board certification in 2009, via a residency program at the Virginia Maryland Regional College of Veterinary medicine and is a diagnostic imaging specialist with the American College of Veterinary Radiology (ACVR). Prior to this, she also completed rotating internships at both the Adelaide Veterinary Specialist and Referral Centre as well as The Ohio State Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Sarah has co-authored chapters in the BSAVA handbook of Canine and Feline Musculoskeletal Imaging and the most recent edition of Thrall’s Textbook of Veterinary Diagnostic Radiology. She has previously taught undergraduate students and was involved in designing the curriculum for the University of Adelaide from 2010 to 2013. Sarah has been teaching with VetPrac and the CVE since 2014 and also volunteers her time for Vets Beyond Borders and Taronga Zoo. She serves as a reviewer for the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, Veterinary Radiology and Ultrasound and the Australian Veterinary Journal. She is also currently serving as Vice President of the Australian Association of Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging and has been actively involved in supporting them for many years.

Dr Mariko Yata

BVSc (hons), MANZCVS (Small Animal Medicine), PhD, DACVIM (Cardiology)

VETERINARY CARDIOLOGIST SPECIALIST

Mariko graduated from the University of Sydney with first class honors and worked as a general practitioner and emergency and critical care veterinarian across various practices in Sydney for several years. After completing a PhD investigating canine and feline congestive heart failure therapeutics in 2018, Mariko undertook a residency in veterinary cardiology at the North Carolina State University and became a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine in the field of cardiology in July, 2022. She is interested in the pathophysiology and management of congestive heart failure and arrhythmias, as well as collaborative research encompassing human and veterinary medicine.

Dr Ross McGregor

BVSc FANZCVS Small Animal Surgery

SMALL ANIMAL SURGICAL SPECIALIST

Ross is a fellow of the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists in Surgery. He graduated as a vet in 1989 and gained experience in general practice before joining the University of Sydney as a Surgical Registrar in 2003, where he worked under the renowned Australian Surgeon, Dr Geraldine Hunt. Ross has a vast amount of experience with soft tissue and orthopaedic surgery. Ross is currently an examiner for the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists  within the surgery chapter.

Dr Izidora Sladakovic

BVSc (Hons I), MVS, Dipl ACZM

SPECIALIST IN ZOOLOGICAL MEDICINE (AVIAN & EXOTICS)

Izidora is a Diplomate of the American College of Zoological Medicine with a sub-specialty in zoological companion animals (exotic pets) and is the only registered specialist within this field in NSW. She has published journal articles and book chapters, undertaken research projects to improve our knowledge of exotic pet medicine, and regularly presents at conferences and continuing education seminars. Izidora provides a comprehensive service for all exotics (birds, rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets, rats, mice, reptiles and amphibians), including health checks, nutrition and behaviour advice, diagnostics, endoscopy, dentistry and medical, emergency and surgical care. 

Dr Keely Wilson

BVSc MVetClinStud MVA MANZCVS DipACVAA RCVS

SPECIALIST IN ANAESTHESIA AND ANALGESIA

Keely graduated from Sydney University in 2008 before gaining experience in both mixed and emergency practices both in Sydney and overseas. She then joined an equine referral practice where she developed her love of anaesthesia. Following completion of her memberships, she completed a residency in anaesthesia and analgesia at Murdoch University, before workin in the UK for 18 months at the University of Cambridge and Willows Referral Centre. Keely enjoys all aspects of anaesthesia but has a particular interest in anaesthesia for cardiac interventions, anaesthesia of critically ill patients and the use of ultrasound guided locoregional anaesthesia. 

RESIDENT

Dr Joshua Bool

BVSc MANZCVS (Small Animal Medicine)

 SMALL ANIMAL MEDICINE RESIDENT

Following graduation from the University of Sydney in 2016, Joshua began his career as a medicine intern, before joining a well-established general practice in the Northern Beaches. During his four years in general practice, Joshua developed a keen interest in internal medicine and medicine-based practical skills and joined us as a resident, in order to pursue this passion. Joshua achieved Membership with the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists in Small Animal Medicine in 2021 and is currently training to become a specialist in Small Animal Medicine under the incredibly talented and experienced Internal Medicine Team at The Pet Specialists.

VETERINARIANS

Dr Carissa Stamati

BVSc MANZCVS (Small Animal Surgery)

SURGICAL VETERINARIAN

Carissa graduated from the University of Sydney in 2015 and began her career in a general practice on the Central Coast. She subsequently undertook a Rotating Internship at the University of Sydney Veterinary Teaching Hospital before joining us as a surgery intern in 2019. In 2021 Carissa attained Membership in the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists in Small Animal Surgery. She has remained with the surgery team, post internship, and currently assists the wonderful team of surgeons in their day to day work.

 

Dr Helen Paris

BVSc MANZCVS Small Animal Medicine

HOSPITAL VETERINARIAN

Helen has extensive experience as an emergency vet, and is rapidly becoming our expert in ventilation to improve management of tick paralysis (a huge problem for Northern Beaches pets). 

Dr Claire Bowland

BVSc, Graduate Diploma in Small Animal Emergency and Critical Care

HOSPITAL VETERINARIAN

Claire graduated from the University of Sydney in 2002 and has spent the past 15 years of her career working as a dedicated Emergency and Critical Care Veterinarian.  Her special interests are ventilation, kidney failure and critical care. 

Dr Ingrid Au

BVSc

HOSPITAL VETERINARIAN

Ingrid graduated from the University of Sydney in 2017 and has gained  experience across a number of general practices. During a pivotal Rotating Internship at a specialist hospital, Ingrid discovered her profound passion for emergency veterinary care. Thriving on the dynamic nature of emergency work, she finds fulfillment on the frontline, managing a spectrum of cases and witnessing the joy of reuniting patients with their families. 

Dr Adrian Simon

BVSc (Hons) MANZCVS (ECC) GCM

HOSPITAL VETERINARIAN

Adrian graduated in 2006 from the University of Sydney. He immediately entered emergency practice and has never looked back, working in emergency and specialist practices throughout Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. In 2010 he attained Memberships in Emergency & Critical Care. He has held various positions within the ECC chapter of the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists including; Science Week Convenor, Examiner, and Head Subject Examiner for ECC Memberships. In 2012 he helped establish Eastside Veterinary Emergency Hospital, becoming part-owner and practice manager soon after. This grew to become Sydney Veterinary Emergency & Specialists, a large multidisciplinary hospital in Rosebery, Sydney. He is currently a locum emergency veterinarian at clinics up and down the east coast of Australia.

Dr Barbara Capellini 

BVSc

HOSPITAL VETERINARIAN 

Barbara graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Veterinary Science degree in 2010. She initially worked in small animal private practice for three years, before completing a Rotating Internship at a multi-specialist hospital, followed by an Emergency and Critical Care Internship. On completion of the internships, she continued to work as emergency vet at different small animal practices throughout Sydney, before joining the team at The Pet Specialists.

 

Dr Lucy Kirton

BVetMed MANZCVS (VetECC) MRCVS

HOSPITAL VETERINARIAN

Lucy graduated from The Royal Veterinary College, London in 2004. She initially worked in mixed practice in the South West of England before moving into small animal practice around London and the South East of England.
In 2011 she moved to Australia, initially travelling and then settling on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. Lucy has worked as an Emergency and Critical Care Veterinarian for 7 years, passing her Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists Emergency and Critical Care Membership Exams in 2014, and was then an examiner for them in 2017 and 2018. Her particular interests are critical care, tick paralysis and CPR and she is also a RECOVER CPR trainer who facilitates CPR courses for vets and vet nurses

Dr Alex Heggie

BVSc MANZCVS (Small Animal Radiology)

HOSPITAL VETERINARIAN

Alex started her career in the veterinary industry in 2008, as a veterinary nurse. She enjoyed working with animals so much, that she went on to complete her veterinary studies at the University of Sydney and graduated in 2016. The following few years were spent in various mixed animal practices throughout the Sydney area, were she developed a passion for diagnostic imaging and internal medicine, whilst also gaining more experience with her surgical skills. Alex joined The Pet Specialists in 2021 and completed a Rotating Internship, followed by a Radiology Internship. Alex is passionate about the welfare of our animals and understands their value in the family.

Dr Lizzy Gan

BVSC

HOSPITAL VETERINARIAN

Lizzy graduated from the University of Sydney in 2010 with First Class Honours and spent the next few years gaining experience in a variety of settings including general practice, emergency, specialist and university clinics. Lizzy attained Membership of the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists in Small Animal Medicine in 2015 and was awarded the medal for the highest overall mark achieved within Australia and New Zealand. In 2018 Lizzy completed a Graduate Certificate in Small Animal Emergency and Critical Care with the University of Melbourne.

INTERNS

Dr King Mak

BVSc (Hons)

SURGICAL INTERN

Dr Sophie Sweet

BSc DVM

ROTATING INTERN

Dr Alexandra Berry

DVM

EXOTICS INTERN

Dr Amelie Cowan

BSc (Hons) BVetMed MRCVS

INTERNAL MEDICINE INTERN

Dr Bruce Thompson

BVB DVM

SURGICAL INTERN

Dr Alana Ryan

BSC DVM

ROTATING INTERN

Support Staff

Practice Manager

Laura topham

BSc RVN DipAVN (RCVS) DipMgt

PRACTICE MANAGER AND VETERINARY NURSE

Laura graduated in the UK with a degree in Veterinary Nursing. She is also a Registered Veterinary Nurse and holds a College of Veterinary Surgeons Certificate. Laura has also completed a Diploma in Leadership & Management and is currently undertaking a degree in Business & Commerce.

Laura has many years of experience working within multi-disciplinary referral hospitals, with a special interest in oncology. As a Practice Manager, she discovered a passion and commitment to improving the working environments of the veterinary industry. With 20 years in the field, Laura has valued insight into all aspects of clinic life and operations.

Department Coordinators

Amanda

Client Services Coordinator

Chellan

Registered RVT (AVNAT)

Internal Medicine Coordinator

Francesca

Cert IV VN

Critical Care Coordinator

Lani

cert iv vn

facilities & animal attendant Coordinator

Maria

cert iv vn

Surgery Coordinator

Melissa

Cert IV VN

Radiology Coordinator

client services

Grace

Client Services

Jo

Client Services

Ruby

Client Services

Sophie

Client Services

veterinary nurses

Fran

ccrp rvn

Rehabilitation Therapist

Jane

Cert IV VN

Veterinary Nurse

Eve

Cert IV VN

Veterinary Nurse

Clerinda

Cert IV VN

Veterinary Nurse

Connor

Cert IV VN

Veterinary Nurse

Eve

Cert IV VN

Veterinary Nurse

Fynn

Cert IV VN

Veterinary Nurse

Hannah

DipRVN CertVNECC

Veterinary Nurse

Harriet

Cert IV VN

Veterinary Nurse

Liam

Cert IV VN

Veterinary Nurse

Lisa

Cert IV VN

Veterinary Nurse

Stella

Cert IV VN

Veterinary Nurse

Sophia

Cert IV VN

Veterinary Nurse

Tori

Cert IV RVN (AVNAT)

Veterinary Nurse

Vanessa

Cert IV VN

Veterinary Nurse

Vanessa

Cert IV VN

Veterinary Nurse

Vicky

Cert IV VN

Veterinary Nurse

Catherine

cert III vn

veterinary nurse

Animal & facilities attendants

Abbey

Animal & Facilites Attendant

Beth

BSc/BAdv(AVBS) (Hon 1)

Animal & Facilites Attendant

Bo

Animal & Facilites Attendant

Charlie

Animal & Facilites Attendant

Lucy

Animal & Facilites Attendant