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

Veterinarians in Vernon Hills

Dr. Derek Williamson, DVM, Medical Director

What is your educational and veterinary medicine background?
I did my undergraduate work at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point majoring in biology and minoring in chemistry.  I received my Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Wisconsin in 2003.  After graduation I practiced small animal medicine and surgery for eleven years at a mixed animal practice in Elkhorn, WI.

Why did you decide to become a veterinarian?
I knew I wanted to study a science related field when I left for college.  I thought about going to medical school but didn't want to have to specialize as much as is required in human medicine.  Veterinary medicine allows me to be a surgeon, general practitioner, anesthesiologist, internal medicine, etc all in the same day.  I had always loved animals so it seemed a natural fit.

What is your most memorable moment as a vet?
My first day on call after graduating from veterinary school was pretty memorable.  In the span of a few minutes, I saw a dog with a gastric dilatation/ volvulus (required emergency surgery), a dog in severe heart failure, and a dog whose tail was shut in a door which required a tail amputation.  Being after hours, I was by myself at the clinic with these three very labor intensive cases.  For a doctor fresh out of school, it was definitely trial by fire!

How did you come to join Companion Animal Hospital?
A veterinarian friend recommended me for the position.  I met with the partners and we seemed to have common goals, styles of practice, and personalities.

What are the best things you find about being a veterinarian?
I enjoy interacting with both pets and people on a daily basis.  It is fun getting to know my clients and pets.  Over time, pet owners come to know and trust you enough to put a family member's life in your hands.  Every day is different and dealing with both routine appointments and the most stressful problems can each have their own rewards.

What was the most rewarding case you have had as a veterinarian?
I don't know if I can come up with a specific case, but I definitely have a favorite situation.  I find the career most rewarding when a pet presents with a very life threatening problem which requires surgical intervention to resolve.  Some examples would be a GDV, pyometra, enterotomy, gastrotomy, etc.  Though they can at times be tense cases, knowing you are performing a procedure to save a life is a great feeling.  A positive outcome in these cases is the greatest reward I have found in veterinary medicine.

What are your special interests in the field of veterinary medicine?
I enjoy soft tissue and orthopedic surgery, ultrasonography, and working through and solving complex medical cases.

What is the most unusual pet you have helped treat?
I have seen many strange animals- a Bengal tiger, fox, lynx, sugar gliders, pot bellied pigs, snakes, lizards...

What is your biggest pet peeve?
Slow traffic

Favorite place to eat?
Qdoba

Favorite place to visit?
Central America, Costa Rica

Favorite food?
Burritos.  With extra hot sauce.

Favorite movie?
Forrest Gump

What are your favorite sports teams?
Wisconsin Badgers, Milwaukee Brewers, and Chicago Bears.

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

  1. I summited Mount Kilimanjaro (19,340 ft) with my brother in Tanzania, Africa.
  2. I cut my finger off on a table saw a few years ago.  It was reattached and completely functional.
  3. I enjoy doing mission work with my church and have been involved in an ongoing project in Honduras.  We have done mostly construction work, but I have been able to do a little veterinary work while down there as well.
Veterinarians in Vernon Hills

Dr. Christopher Lin, DVM

What is your educational and veterinary medicine background?
I received my DVM from University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign – College of Veterinary Medicine in 2015. I received my BA in Economics and minored in Cognitive Science as an undergraduate at University of California, San Diego in 2008.

Why did you decide to become a veterinarian?
Like many others in veterinary medicine, I have always loved animals and grew up with pets. However, being a veterinarian is a second career for me. I wanted to innovate and introduce technological products that change people’s lives for the better. Over time I realized that I enjoy working with my hands and bringing a product from concept to market simply takes too long. I am fortunate to have a veterinarian sibling, so I shadowed her to learn what being a veterinarian means. The rest is history.

What is your most memorable moment as a vet?
My most memorable moment was watching on fluoroscopy (video X-ray) a Ductal Occluder (a device that blocks blood flow) deploy to correct a congenital defect called Patent Ductus Arteriosus (where the blood flows inappropriately from the aorta to the pulmonary artery). I was scrubbed in with a board certified veterinary cardiologist during this procedure and I thought to myself “I’m exactly where I want to be.”

How did you come to join Companion Animal Hospital?
I was approached by Companion Animal Hospital’s founding members, Scott Petereit and Derek Williamson. Their practice philosophy for high quality medicine with the human-animal bond with mind resonated with me. It is important to me that we take care of the owner or “pet parent” while helping their beloved family member.

What are the best things you find about being a veterinarian?
There’s nothing better than curing an ailment or relieving discomfort. I especially love it when my client and staff work as a team to diagnose and treat a patient. Often times my clients are an integral part of their pet’s recovery.

What was the most rewarding case you have had as a veterinarian?
My favorite patient happens to be the star of my most rewarding case. He is a little white Shih Tzu who showed up on a Thursday afternoon for an ear infection that just would not go away. His ears were so inflamed that they were practically shut closed. I told the anxious owners that the ears might end up requiring surgery from how badly shut they were, but I will try my best to clear his infection. Thanks to owner’s perfect compliance (they never missed a recheck), we actually cured his ear infection and restored his ear canal to it’s former glory! What made this case special was that the pet was acting like a puppy again – full of energy and playing all the time. His ears must have been so uncomfortable that he just wasn’t himself.

What are your special interests in the field of veterinary medicine?
I love the variety of ailments we see in general practice! However, I do enjoy ultrasound and cytology.

What is the most unusual pet you have helped treat?
A Liger kitten. Yes, they are real! He is a cross breed between a male lion and female tiger. Luckily for us, he was only 30 lbs. and presented for a wellness exam by the rescue organization.

What is your biggest pet peeve?
Metal utensils on non-stick pans. Hell hath no fury.

Favorite place to eat?
The Beacon Tavern in Chicago.

Favorite place to visit?
Boston

Favorite food?
I love my protein – steak, sushi, tofu!

Favorite movie?
The Alien series, including the recent additions.

What are your favorite sports teams?
Team USA!

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

  1. I moved here from California for the weather. Yes – it’s because I love the freezing cold and the abundant snow!
  2. Folks have mentioned that they’re surprised to see me with an American Eskimo Dog. No one has explained why to me yet, but I love the breed.
  3. Prior to veterinary medicine, I was once an engineer intern at a Volkswagen laboratory.

Support Team

Vets in Vernon Hills

Jaclyn, Hospital Manager

Hi! My name is Jaclyn and I joined the Companion Animal Hospital Team in 2010 and came to Vernon Hills in January 2018. I went to Southern Illinois University Carbondale and received a B.S. in Animal Science. I have been working in animal hospitals since 2001 and can’t picture myself doing anything else. I currently have 3 dogs of my own. Julie and George are both Chihuahuas and Cinnamon is a Chihuahua/Dachshund mix. I also have a snake named Sam, and she is a Colombian Red Tail Boa. In my free time, I love to play pool and currently play in a few leagues. I also like to bake, knit and crochet, and spend time with friends and family. I look forward to meeting you and your pets at Companion Animal Hospital!

Vets in Vernon Hills

Jessica, Certified Veterinary Technician

Hi! I'm Jessica and I have recently earned my Certified Veterinary Technician License and Associate of Applied Science in Veterinary Technology! I fell in love working with animals as a kennel attendant and still continue to look forward to making new furry friends every day! I have two dogs of my own, Taffy, my Basset Hound, and Sir Walter, my Shih Tzu. I also have three cats, Meiko, Aries and Boo. I look forward to meeting you and your pets, and helping assist in any way I can!

Vets in Vernon Hills

Destiny, Veterinary Assistant

Hi, my name is Destiny. I am a veterinary assistant here at Companion Animal Hospital. Animals have always been a huge passion of mine. I began rescuing and rehabilitating wildlife with my family, and this has become what I choose to do in my free time, besides hanging out with my own animals at home. I have a Siberian black cat named Binx, a Rottweiler named Zeus, a guinea pig named Mr.Gin Gin and a bearded dragon named Fluffy--things can get a little crazy at my house! I look forward to meeting you and your furry companions!

Alli

Alli, Receptionist & Veterinary Assistant

Hi! My name is Alli and I am one of the receptionists here at Companion. I am also cross training to become an assistant. I started back in September 2017. This is a new field for me and I love everything I’ve learned. I grew up with animals, which started my love for them. I currently have two dogs; Millie, who is a black lab mix, and Layla, a terrier mix. I also have two cats, their names are Walter and Payton. I can’t wait to meet you and your pets!

Lauryn

Lauryn, Veterinary Assistant

Hi! My name is Lauryn. I am a Veterinary Assistant and joined Companion Animal Hospital in September 2017. My mom and I ran a rescue for about 10 years, and that started my passion for animals. In my free time, I spend time hiking with my two German Shepherds, Remmie and Kate. I also barrel race with my horse, Tater, year-round. I look forward to meeting you and your pets!

Groomers

Pet Groomers in Vernon Hills

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!

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