Veterinary Surgical Specialists

Veterinary Surgical Specialists was founded in 1983 by Dr. Stephen Levine in response to local veterinarians' desires to provide advanced surgical care for their patients. By 1996, Dr. Levine found it necessary to add an associate to his practice as the demand for services grew. There are three board-certified surgeons within Veterinary Surgical Specialists.

In 1994 Dr. Levine began using Inver Grove Heights Animal Hospital as his main base of operation the more complex orthopedic surgeries; however, he and his associates continue to travel to area veterinary clinics to perform various surgeries. The goal of Veterinary Surgical Specialists is to make expert surgical care attainable to as many patients as possible.

Dr. Levine and his associates are available for consultations and medical examinations at Inver Grove Heights Animal Hospital via referral from your regular veterinary clinic.

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Dr. Stephen Levine

Dr. Stephen Levine is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon with Veterinary Surgical Specialists. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Dr. Levine received a Bachelor's Degree in Biology in 1974. He went on to attend the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine and was awarded his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine in 1979.

Dr. Levine completed an internship and residency in small animal surgery at the University of Minnesota from 1979 to 1983. He also taught as a clinical assistant professor of surgery at the university from 1984 to 1989. Dr. Levine became a Diplomate in the American College of Veterinary Surgeons in 1986. He is also a member of the Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association and the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Dr. Levine has authored numerous journal articles and textbook chapters on various aspects of veterinary surgery. He has also lectured on surgical procedures in the United States and Europe. His particular interests are in small animal surgery, joint reconstruction and fracture repair.

During the annual MVMA State Convention held in February 2009, Dr. Stephen Levine was presented with the prestigious Veterinarian of the Year Award by the Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association.

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Dr. Scott Hammel

Dr. Scott Hammel is a board-certified small animal veterinary surgeon with Veterinary Surgical Specialists. Dr. Hammel earned his Bachelor's Degree in Marine Biology at Boston University in 1996. He attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine and graduated in 2001. After a medical internship at the Animal Medical Center in New York City and a surgical internship in Houston at Gulf Coast Veterinary Surgery, Dr. Hammel completed his three-year surgery residency at the University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center in 2006. While at the University of Minnesota he earned a Master's of Science Degree. Dr. Hammel became a Diplomate in the American College of Veterinary Surgeons in 2007.

Dr. Hammel's surgical and research interests include fracture repair, reconstructive surgery, respiratory surgery, and pain management. He has completed research papers on the strength of various bone plates used to repair fractures in dogs, reconstructive surgery, and laryngeal paralysis.

When not at work, Dr. Hammel enjoys many outdoor activities. His favorites include snowboarding, hiking, and participating in triathlons. He also loves traveling and spending time with his wife, Heidi and his two dogs, Naya, a Jack Russell Terrier, and Crash, a German Shepard.

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Dr. Lara Rasmussen

Dr. Lara Rasmussen is a board-certified surgeon working with Veterinary Surgical Specialists since 2005 and enjoys orthopedic and general surgery. A graduate of the University of California-Davis, Dr. Rasmussen received her Bachelor's Degree in Biological Sciences and Policy Studies in 1988 and continued at the UC Davis College of Veterinary Medicine, completing her veterinary medical degree in 1993. She completed a small animal medicine and surgery internship at South Shore Veterinary Associates in Massachusetts in 1994 and went on to complete a three-year small animal surgical residency and Masters Degree at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Rasmussen taught as a clinical instructor at Washington State University and as an associate professor and, later, an adjunct clinical professor at Western University of Health Sciences from 1999 to 2006.

Dr. Rasmussen completed her surgery credentials and was awarded Diplomate status with the American College of Veterinary Surgeons in 1999. Her professional interests include laryngeal paralysis, pain management, gastrointestinal surgery, trauma surgery, critical care and multimodal anesthesia. Dr. Rasmussen provides surgical services to animals without permanent homes through the Animal Humane Society and various pet rescue organizations.

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