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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!


Dr. Derek Williamson: 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?

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.


Jessica: Veterinarians 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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