Meet Our Veterinarians and Team Members

Our veterinarians and supporting team members turned their love of animals into an opportunity to help loving owners care for their four-legged companions. They share the philosophy that owners need just as much care as their pets, while bringing their own unique experiences and perspectives to the practice. Read their bios to learn more about them!

Veterinarians

Dr. Morton Update

erica morton, dvm

What is your educational and work background?

I graduated from Northern Illinois University in 2009, and the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine in 2016. I spent 9 years as a veterinary technician, and I have been a vet in this area since graduation from vet school.

What made you decide to become a vet?

I have wanted to become a vet since I was 9 years old. I just knew I had a strong affinity for animals of all shapes and sizes, and had an intense desire to save or better the lives of as many as I could.

Why did you decide to join the Companion team?

Once I met the amazing team, I jumped at the opportunity.

What is the best thing about being a vet?

I love helping animals feel as loved as if they were my own, and ensuring their visits are as stress-free as possible.

What is one of the most common problems you’ve encountered in pets you treat?

Husbandry issues in exotic pets, particularly all-seed diets in birds, and calcium deficiency in reptiles.

Do you have any special interests in vet medicine?

I love exotic pet medicine!

What is the most unusual patient you helped treat?

My bald eagle patient in vet school who snorted like a little pig when she was stressed.

What are some of your favorite activities outside of work?

I LOVE karaoke, I read constantly- mostly fantasy, romance and young adult. I play video games, Dungeons and Dragons, and I am a huge movie buff. I like archery and DIY projects, and of course hanging out with my three little chihuahuas is always great.

What is your biggest pet peeve?

When my dogs are surrounded by dozens of bones and toys, but they literally only want the one their brother is currently using.

Favorite place to eat?

Lately, Fresh Stack, Lazy Dog, and I can never turn down authentic Mexican food.

Favorite place to visit?

Arizona- its hot, sunny, no mosquitoes, and you can always find karaoke every single day of the week.

Favorite food?

Stuffed crust double pepperoni pizza, and I love me a good spicy chicken sandwich.

Favorite movie?

I have SO many! I love musicals, action, fantasy, and comedy the most.

What are your favorite sports teams?

As a general rule, I don’t follow any sports. But if MMA is on, I am glued.

Name 3 things that people might be surprised to learn about you?

  1. I enjoy archery and refinishing furniture.
  2. I have won several karaoke and singing competitions.
  3. I am an avid video gamer and can easily get lost for hours in a game or a good book.
Dr-Koza

Kalynn Koza, DVM

What is your educational and work background?

I completed my undergraduate degree from Kansas State University in Sociology and International Studies in 2008. I graduated from the University of Illinois in 2015 with a doctorate in Veterinary Medicine. Since graduating, I have been practicing in the small animal hospital setting seeing dogs, cats, rabbits, rodents, and guinea pigs.

What made you decide to become a vet?

Like many others, it was my childhood dream to become a veterinarian; as I matured, I discovered it perfectly merges my love for animals and my passion for science.

Why did you decide to join the Companion team?

Companion’s mission statement mirrors my belief to practice high quality medicine with a compassionate team.

What is the best thing about being a vet?

I love seeing my patient back after the treatments I have instituted and watching how happy both the pets and owners are at the progress they have made. It makes me feel as though I am truly making a difference in this world.

What is one of the most common problems you’ve encountered in pets you treat?

Dental disease. It surprises many owners to learn how quickly our pets teeth can decay and how a little home care can go a long way in preventing infection and pain.

Do you have any special interests in vet medicine?

Soft tissue surgery, internal medicine, and exotic small mammal medicine (rabbit, rodent, & guinea pig)

What is the most unusual pet you have helped treat?

Kinkajou

What are some of your favorite activities outside of work?

Spending time with my family, learning new crafts (stained glass, knitting, Cricut projects, etc), exploring the nearby forest preserves

What is your biggest pet peeve?

When someone takes the last of something and doesn’t refill it

Favorite place to eat?  

Portillo’s

Favorite place to visit?

Glacier National Park

Favorite movie?

Star Wars: A New Hope

What are your favorite sports teams?

Hogwarts Gryffindor Quidditch Team

Name 3 things people might be surprised to learn about you:

  1. I love cult classic films
  2. I have been skydiving
  3. My favorite patients to treat are guinea pigs

Support Team

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Laurie, Hospital Manager

Hi, my name is Laurie and I am very excited to be a part of Companion Animal Hospital.

I have been a Veterinary Technician for 17 years now and has been managing the last 11 years.  I could not imagine myself doing anything else as being a patient advocate is my passion; the sense of pride I get from helping pets and their families makes it all worthwhile.

When I am not at work, I like to spend time with my family and friends and go to agility and scent training classes with my Pitbull, Hope.  I also have a cat named Hayden.

I look forward to meeting and working with you and your pets!

Stevie New

Stevie, lead veterinary assistant

Hi, I'm Stevie! I've happily been a technician for about 5 years, however I've been working with animals since I was 14. I'm forever filled with  bliss knowing I get to wake up every morning doing what I love, helping you and your furry family members. When I'm not at work you can surely find me somewhere with my dog, the light of my life, Tori Elizabeth. Looking forward to seeing you and your pets in the future!

Nicky New

Nicky, veterinary assistant

Hello, my name is Nicky! I joined the Companion family in September 2020. I graduated from Southern Illinois University with a Bachelor of Science in Zoology, with an emphasis in Wildlife Biology and Conservation. I started working in the veterinary field in 2019 when my interest in the field increased significantly after working as an Animal Cruelty Investigator for the Humane Society of Missouri in St. Louis. I then worked at an animal emergency clinic and regular veterinary practice 2 years after. I currently aim to improve my skills and attend further schooling to become a veterinarian. I have two dogs, a yellow lab/pit mix named Fitzpatrick, and a black lab named Roxanne. I also have an American Sable rabbit named Bolin. Other than animals, I also love playing video games, listening to music, and creating art! I look forward to working with you to provide the best care for your pet!

Kelly 1

Kelly, veterinary assistant

Hello! My name is Kelly! I recently completed the Veterinary Assistant program at College of Lake County. I decided to go into the veterinary medicine field because I have a passion to care for the health and well-being for all animals. I enjoy going to the gym, Six Flags, bike riding downtown and watching scary movies.

Fun fact about me: I have 3 chinchillas, 3 hermit crabs, 1 snake, 1 cat and a family dog!

Bobby

Bobby, Veterinary Assistant

Bio Coming Soon!

Elizabeth

Elizabeth, Certified Veterinary Technician

Bio Coming Soon!

Groomers

Jessica

Jessica, Pet Groomer

Hi, I'm Jessica.  I joined the team back in March of 2010. I became a professionally certified Pet Groomer in 2001. I pride myself on being able to give pets a low-stress grooming experience and am familiar with most dog and cat breeds. I share my time between grooming here at Companion Animal Hospital Mt. Prospect and at Companion Animal Hospital Vernon Hills. In my off time, I enjoy spending time with my husband and daughter. I have 2 dogs; Teddi Bear and Chloe, and 4 cats; Rascal, Harley, Mocha and Athena, that help keep me busy too. I look forward to meeting you and your pets and giving them a relaxing day at the pet spa!

Gilly pic

Gilly, Pet Groomer

Hi I'm Gilly and I have been grooming in the Chicagoland area for over 20 years and can’t imagine doing anything else! I love making your furry family member look and feel their best. One of my favorite parts about grooming is the bonds I form between your pet and getting to know all of you! I have always been an animal lover, and remember wanting a dog when I was a young girl - it only makes sense that this became my profession. I look forward to getting to know you and your furry family members!