Meet Our Team

Our Doctors

Dr. Johnathan Lax, BVSc

Veterinarian

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 40+ 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 Jill and has two adult children (Megan and Zachary) one of whom is in vet school, his dog Nelson, and a tank full of VERY old fish (Carrot top, Pinky, Gumbo, Brain, Speckles... and Jaws).

His favorite hobbies are traveling with his family and playing golf.

Dr. Yolanda Kenney, DVM

Veterinarian

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

Veterinarian

Dr. Dvorchak joined our wonderful team of veterinarians in 2017. 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. Dvorchak currently resides in Encinitas with husband David and her three children: Maya, Evan and Ava. She also shares her home with three dogs (Ella the Golden Retriever, 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. Dvorchak enjoys exercise (i.e, yoga & walks) and also hand makes jewelry which is sold in a few local boutiques.

Dr. Chloe Harrington, BVetMed

Veterinarian

Dr. Harrington is San Diego born and bred. She is our newest veterinarian here but has actually been part of the Bressi family since 2011 - starting out as an intern whilst completing her Animal Science degree from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and then working as a technician for a couple of years after graduating. She completed her training at the Royal Veterinary College in London, England.

While living in London, Dr. Harrington spent her time attending live music shows, practicing yoga, and exploring Europe. Since returning to the States, she has adopted a very friendly kitten called Macadamia and has plans to add a Pembroke Welsh Corgi puppy to the family in the near future.

For as long as she remembers, Dr. Harrington has been deeply passionate about caring for dogs and cats. She has a special interest in internal medicine and geriatric care.

Everyone at Bressi would agree that Dr. Harrington’s dedication to all her furry patients is second to none - and we’re very excited to have her back with us!

Our 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, and their two cats, Russell Puff and Toochie.

Linnaea Engelmann

CVT

Linnaea started working with Dr. Lax in 2002, she moved up north in 2007 for three years and is back working as a technician.  She lives in San Marcos with her husband Drew, their three children Alexis, Miles, and Harper, their cat “Zee” and dogs “Endo” and “Foxy”. 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 four years. She loves animals and has a special place in her heart for nervous dogs.  She lives in San Marcos with her husband Derek and two daughters, Haley and Jamie, and their dogs, “Mikko” and “Strider”, and cat, “Georgia.

Elizabeth Claussen

RVT

Elizabeth started working for Dr. Lax in 2000 and after taking a few years off to raise her children, she is back with BRPH as a client service representative.  When she is not at work she enjoys going to the beach and spending time with friends and family.  She lives with her husband Jim, two kids Marion and William, their dog “Maggie”, 3 tortoises (“Roxy”, “Little Foot” and “Koopa Troopa”), and a tank full of 25 mollies.  Elizabeth has a love for senior pets and wishes that everyone would adopt a senior pet…You won’t regret it!!!

Tyra Martinez

RVT

Tyra joined Bressi Ranch in March of 2014 after working emergency at both CVS and VSH for many years. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.  She lives in Fallbrook with her husband, and their daughter Hayven.  Tyra also has horses, goats, dogs, pigs, and a cat.

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 where she earned her degree in Veterinary Technology.  She worked at a pet hospital in Colorado for four years before coming to California. Jennie lives with her husband, their daughter Berlin, and cat “Vodka”. She loves all animals but has a particular affinity for cats, being a self-proclaimed “Crazy Cat Lady”.

Lisa Liners

RVT

Lisa joined the BRPH team in August of 2015, after working at different day and specialty practices in both MN and CA.  She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the team. She lives in Vista with her family along with their two dogs “Coal” and “Igua”. Lisa enjoys various physical activities such as hiking, working out, stand up paddleboarding, yoga, etc. In her spare time, she enjoys teaching yoga.  

Isaac Gutierrez

Technician

Isaac joined Bressi in March of 2016 after working many years in specialty, emergency, and day practices. When he is not working he enjoys watching anime, hiking, and anything that will get him out of the house. He lives with his girlfriend and dog “Mina”.

Chelsea Crowley

Technician

Chelsea joined BRPH in September of 2017 after years of working in other veterinary hospitals in California and with exotic animals. She lives with her boyfriend and their two cats “Bailey” and “Georgia”. Chelsea leads our intern program, where she shows students a behind the scenes look into the veterinary world.

Jen Rakovshchik

Reception

Jen joined the BRPH team in September of 2017 after working at a 24-hour emergency pet hospital in Hawaii for three years.  Jen lives in San Marcos with her dog “Tank”. In her free time, Jen enjoys going to the beach, riding motorcycles, snowboarding, hiking, going to Disneyland, and eating and cooking delicious food.

Jessica Jackson

Technician

Jess came to BRPH in July of 2017 after years of working at pet hospitals in Hawaii and Southern California. She was born and raised in Northern Arizona and now lives in Escondido with her wife and their two Australian cattle dogs “Kobi” and “Kaia”, two pet rats “Luna” and “Tonks”, and betta fish “Mister”. She enjoys hiking, the beach, going to the gym, photography, and anything that will keep her busy and connecting with nature, people, or animals.

Denise Madrid

Reception

After being a long time client of BRPH, Denise went to school to learn about veterinary medicine and after completing her internship through Mira Costa College with us, she joined our team in July of 2017.

Ashley Hobson

Technician

Ashley joined BRPH in November of 2018 after working in the vet field for over 10 years. When she’s not at work she can be found on the beach or with her 3 dogs and 2 cats watching a movie.

NILA WOOD

Technician

Nila joined BRPH in January of 2018. She is born and raised in Hawaii and moved to California in 2005. She went to Pima Medical Institute where she obtained her degree in Veterinary Technician Associate of Science. She went on to work at VSH in Sorrento Valley for 6 years in critical care. She currently lives with her husband and two German Shorthair Pointer dogs “Indy” and “Lolo” in Fallbrook.

SHAWNA CUNNINGHAM

Technician

CHELSEA THOMPSON

Reception/Veterinary Assistant

Chelsea joined BRPH in March of 2016 as a receptionist and had worked as a veterinary receptionist at another day practice before coming here. Inspired by medicine, her amazing coworkers, and brilliant doctors at BRPH, she’s now in school with the goal of becoming a veterinarian. Chelsea brings a smile and positivity every day to Bressi. She lives with her boyfriend and their two fur sons “Zulu” and “Tig”. While not at work or school, Chelsea enjoys going camping and hiking with her boyfriend and sons.

DENISE PERALTA

Reception

Denise has been part of the Bressi family since 1998.  She has taken time off to raise her two children and teach parenting classes. You can see Denise on Saturdays when she takes over as the face of Bressi and will greet you and your pets while working at the reception counter.

Olivia Trussell

Boarding / Veterinary Assistant

KAYLA LEHMAN

Boarding / Veterinary Assistant

KATRINA YU

Boarding / Veterinary Assistant

ALICIA ZATEZALO

RVT

"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.