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Bressi Ranch Pet Hospital
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Our Staff

Our Doctors

Dr. Johnathan Lax, BVSc  graduated from the Veterinary School (Onderstepoort) at the University of Pretoria in South Africa in 1980. He owned a Veterinary practice in Mafikeng , a rural town 100 miles from anywhere for 10 years before coming to the USA. He was responsible for the entire town’s pet population, as well as cattle ranches, dairy farms, wild animal parks, a crocodile farm, and the local horse/donkey/mule population.

Dr. Lax immigrated to the USA in 1990 with his wife Jill and after a short stay as a relief vet in Oklahoma City, moved to San Diego, where both he and Jill gained employment in North County. Jill is a very famous local high school teacher.

In 1995 Dr. Lax opened Alga Pet Hospital in Carlsbad. In August 2009 he relocated the Hospital to bigger premises in Bressi Ranch. He prides himself in trying to stay current or ahead of the curve in new developments in Veterinary medicine and brags that in 30+ years as a vet he has never had a day when he did not feel excited to go to work.

He lives in Encinitas with his wife and 2 children (Megan and Zachary), 2 dogs (Roli the lab and Byron the Basset), a Guinea pig (Sweet pea), and a tank full of VERY old fish (Carrot top, Pinky, Gumbo, Brain, Speckles... and Jaws).

His favorite hobbies are traveling with his family, playing golf, and watching his children play sports



Dr. Yolanda Kenney, DVM, Dr. Kenney is a San Diego native.  She received her undergraduate degree in music from the University of San Diego.  After working in the music industry for 5 years, she returned to school to pursue her dream of becoming a veterinarian.  She received her doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the University of California, Davis in 2000.

While in Davis she had the unique opportunity to work with non-human primates in the veterinary hospital at The California Primate Center.  She also spent time rehabilitating injured raptors at the UC Davis Raptor Center.  But her first love is working with dogs and cats.  Her interests include internal medicine and surgery, with a special affinity for senior patients.  She joined the original Alga Pet Hospital in 2005.  In her free time she still enjoys playing the cello.  She lives in Carlsbad with her husband John and their two dogs.



Dr. Paula Dvorchak, DVM, Dr. Dvorchak is the latest addition to our wonderful team of veterinarians.  She comes to us with many years of experience as both an Associate Veterinarian and as a previous hospital Medical Director.  Dr. Dvorchak received her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) from the University of California Davis in 2006. She did a year of ER training at California Veterinary Specialist in Murrietta before transitioning to general practice veterinary medicine.  She has worked in North County San Diego exclusively since that time. 

Prior to veterinary school, Dr. Dvorchak received her Master’s Degree in Animal Behavior and Physiology.  She did multiple international externships during her time at Davis including ones in Spain and South Africa.  It goes without saying that traveling has long been one of her favorite activities.

Dr. Paula Dvorchak currently resides in Encinitas with husband David and her three children:  Maya, Evan and Ava.  She also shares her home with three dogs (Zoe, the Rottweiler, Lilly the Terrier and Charlie, the French Bull Dog) and three cats (Buddha, Shiva and Nala).  When she is not working and spending time with her family, Dr. Paula Dvorchak enjoys exercise (i.e, yoga & walks) and also hand makes jewelry which is sold in a few local boutiques.












Support Staff

Katie Cincotta, Practice Manager/Technician. Katie has worked with Dr. Lax since 2002. She started working as a technician and is now the practice manager. She earned her bachelors degree in liberal studies with a concentration in leadership. She lives in Encinitas with her husband Chris, their two sons, Jackson and Connor.

Linnaea Engelmann, CVT.  Linnaea started working with Dr. Lax in 2002, she moved up north in 2007 for three years and is now back working as a technician.  She lives in San Marcos with her husband, their three children, their cat and dog. Linnaea earned her degree in animal health technology by attending Bel-Rea Institute of Animal Technology in Colorado. 


Lauren Decker, Technician.  Lauren joined Bressi Ranch Pet Hospital in 2010 after working emergency medicine at California Veterinary Specialist for 4 years. She loves animals and has a special place in her heart for nervous dogs.  She lives in San Marcos with her husband Derek, their new daughter Haley, and their dogs, "Mikko" and "Strider" and their cat "Georgia".


Christina Cano, Technician. Christina is from back east and moved to California after meeting her husband in 2011.  She started working for BRPH in fall of 2012.  Christina lives in San Marcos with her husband, daughter, and their dog Stella.


Elizabeth Claussen, RVT. Elizabeth has worked for Dr. Lax since 2000.  She took some time off to raise her two children, now that they are both in school, Elizabeth is back working part time as a technician and receptionist.  We are so happy to have her back with the team. 


Tyra Martinez, Technician. Tyra joined Bressi Ranch in March of 2014 after working at both CVS and VSH for many years.  She lives in Fallbrook with her husband, and their daughter Hayven.  Tyra also has horses, goats, dogs, cats, and pigs.   


Jennie Kelley, RVT.  Jennie joined Bressi Ranch in October of 2014, she came to us from Colorado.  She went to Bel-Rea Institute of Animal Technology and earned her degree.  She worked at a pet hospital in Colorado for 4 years before coming to California to live near her boyfriends family. Jennie lives in Esondido with her boyfriend, their daughter and cat.


Lisa Liners, RVT. Lisa joined the BRPH team in August of 2015, after working at different day and specialty practices in the past.  She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the team.  Lisa also teaches yoga on the weekends. She lives in Vista with her boyfriend and their two dogs.


Isaac Gutierrez, Technician,Isaac joined Bressi in March of 2016 after working many years in both specialty, emergency, and day practices.  He has been a great addition to our team.

Tania Medler, Assistant, Tania joined the team in the summer of 2014.  She originally did an internship through her high school and soon after her position became permanent.  Tania is currently studying to become a R.V.T. She has 2 dogs, a rescue puppy named "Peanut" and a senior dog named "Rusty", she lives in Oceanside with her husband, Evan.

Chelsea Crowley, Technician, Chelsea joined BRPH in September of 2017 after years of working in other veterinary hospitals in California and with exotic animals.


Jen Rakovshchik, Reception, Jen joined the BRPH team in September of 2017 after working at a pet hospital in Hawaii for three years.


Jessica Magana, Technician, Jessica came to BRPH after years of working at pet hospitals in Hawaii and Southern California. 


Katelynn Rise, Assistant, Katelynn joined BRPH in January of 2017 after completing Mira Costa's Veterinary Assistant Program.


Denise Madrid, Receoption, After being a long time client of BRPH, Denise went to school to learn about veterinary medicine and after completing her internship here with us, she joined our team in July of 2017


Gabby Nosewicz, Kennel Assistant.  Gabby joined the team in the Summer of 2013.  She came in to intern over the summer and it has since turned into a permanent position.  She is currently taking classes at Cal State San Marcos.


Chelsea Thompson, Receptionist Chelsea joined BRPH in March of 2016 as a receptionist.  Chelsea had worked as a veteriniary receptionist at another day practice before coming here.  Chelsea brings a smile and positivity everyday to Bressi. 


"Bender", our resident house cat came to us in 2009. While he prefers to spend time in his kitty condo, Bender can sometimes be seen helping up front at reception.