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Veterinarians

Below are the veterinarians of CARE. To meet other parts of our team, please visit our pages for physical therapists and staff.

Jessica H. Waldman, VMD, CVA, CCRT

Veterinarian
Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist
Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist

Dr. Waldman realized that the unique collaboration of a physical therapist and veterinarian would provide optimal pet therapy outcomes and founded California Animal Rehabilitation (CARE) in June of 2007.

Dr. Waldman received her Bachelor of Arts in Biology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1998. She continued her education at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Veterinary Medicine and received her Veterinary Medical Doctorate in 2004. Dr. Waldman achieved the Dean’s List each year during veterinary school.

While attending veterinary school, Dr. Waldman was the Alumni Representative for four years and volunteered in a program in the Native American Reservations of the Southwest to spay and neuter pets in need. Dr. Waldman completed two additional externships in small animal surgery with board certified veterinary surgeons at the Animal Medical Center in New York and at the Surgical Group for Animals in Los Angeles.

Following graduation, Dr. Waldman completed an additional year of specialty training as an intern at California Animal Hospital in Los Angeles. During this internship year, she worked with board certified surgeons, neurologists, internists, cardiologists, and dentists. Dr. Waldman also published a paper on the topic of critical care in Pulse veterinary publication. Since completion of her internship in July of 2005, Dr. Waldman has enjoyed practicing small animal medicine.

Dr. Waldman completed a certificate program from the Canine Rehabilitation Institute to become a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist. She is also a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist through the Chi Institute. Dr. Waldman enjoys integrating acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine into her practice of pet rehabilitation.

Dr. Waldman is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the California Veterinary Medical Association, the Southern California Veterinary Medical Association and the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society. She is licensed to practice veterinary medicine in the states of New York and California. Dr. Waldman is one of the founding members of the American Association of Rehabilitation Veterinarians.

Dr. Waldman speaks at veterinary meetings on the subject of canine rehabilitation and has a special interest in neurological rehabilitation and in preventative physical exercise for all life stages. Dr. Waldman loves to see her patients’ quality of life improve, and she counsels in nutrition utilizing a combination of Western Medicine and Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine for the best possible outcome. On the personal side, Dr. Waldman enjoys volleyball, hiking, painting, and spending time with her family. She currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband Stuart and her three daughters Gemma, Delia, and Blythe.

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Lori Polkowski, DVM, CVA, CCRT

Veterinarian
Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist
Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist

Dr. Polkowski received her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Environmental Biology/Zoology from Michigan State University in 1999 and her doctorate of veterinary medicine from Purdue University in 2004. She moved to Los Angeles and completed an internship at Animal Specialty Emergency Center (ASEC) in 2005. Dr. Polkowski then practiced general and emergency small animal medicine at McClave Animal Hospital in Reseda, CA from 2005 until 2014.

Dr. Polkowski has always loved the holistic medicine approach and became certified in acupuncture in 2012 through the Chi Institute. She is very fond of senior patients and found that acupuncture was extremely beneficial for them, but wanted to do even more for them, as well as other orthopedic and neurologic patients. Finding that many of these patients did not have the opportunity to receive proper treatment at other facilities, she eventually found her way to CARE.

Dr. Polkowski is a member of the American Association of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (AATCVM), the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the Southern California Veterinary Medical Association (SCVMA), and the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society (IVAS)

She appeared on Hallmark Home and Family Show discussing and demonstrating acupuncture on dogs in the summer of 2014, which was much less treacherous than when she appeared on Wipeout as a veterinarian in 2011.

Dr. Polkowski has a Giant Schnauzer named Uma, the best cat in the world named Stella, and a hen named Kopitar.

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Krista Welsh, DVM, CVA, CCRT

 

Veterinarian
Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist
Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist
 

Dr. Krista Welsh received her Bachelor of Science in zoology from Washington State University in 2009. She continued her education at WSU, becoming a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 2013. After completing a one-year rotating internship in surgery and both internal and emergency medicine at VCA Hotel Circle, Dr. Welsh moved from San Diego back home to Seattle. There, she bolstered her experience working as a general practitioner at VCA West Seattle from 2014 until 2017.

Animal physical rehabilitation has long been a passion of Dr. Welsh’s, as she has witnessed firsthand the many ways physical therapy benefits human patients. Motivated by a strong desire to help animals in this same way – and by a drive to employ the latest technology to optimize quality of life and mobility – Dr. Welsh completed her certification in canine physical rehabilitation at the Canine Rehabilitation Institute.

Dr. Welsh has been a longstanding member of CARE’s family, as she completed her canine rehabilitation internship here. After witnessing Dr. Welsh’s intuitive treatments and naturally calming demeanor, CARE was excited to invite Dr. Welsh to join our team. We were honored when Dr. Welsh obliged, moving back to southern California to pursue her position at CARE.

In her free time, Dr. Welsh enjoys exercising, traveling, eating good food, and spending time with family and friends. She is also a loving and devoted “mother” to her two kitties, Sam and Zoe.

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Carissa Hoffman, DVM, CVA

Veterinarian
Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist

 

Dr. Carissa Hoffman’s love of animals has been a lifelong defining characteristic.  As a child, Dr. Hoffman immersed herself in learning about her favorite subject, poring over every Zoobook edition she could get her hands on.  Precocious in her pet care, Dr. Hoffman personally took care of a menagerie of pets in her youth, including dogs, cats, hamsters, pigs, rabbits, and turtles.

It is no surprise, then, that Dr. Hoffman decided to pursue a career in veterinary medicine.  Dr. Hoffman began her higher education in her home state of Ohio at Youngstown State University, graduating Summa Cum laude (“with highest distinction”) with a major in Biology and a minor in Chemistry.  Dr. Hoffman continued her pursuit of veterinary education in the Buckeye State, completing her Doctorate at the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

After attaining her goal of becoming a veterinarian, Dr. Hoffman – lured by our irresistibly temperate weather – decided to relocate to Los Angeles with her husband, who is also a veterinarian.  In order to satisfy her intrinsic thirst for knowledge and desire to advance her skills as much as possible, Dr. Hoffman completed a certification in Veterinary Acupuncture (CVA) at The Chi Institute.

Dr. Hoffman’s empathetic nature is second to none.  This ability to personally understand how to navigate the road towards finding quality care – and to understand the emotions that come along with accompanying a beloved pet on the path towards optimum quality of life – is a result of her own journey with a pet that developed chronic pain.  Dr. Hoffman has truly “walked a mile in your shoes.”

When she’s not delivering exceptional care to pets, Dr. Hoffman enjoys hiking, travelling (especially to Hawaii), beach days, live music, crafting, pop culture – and, most importantly, spending time with her family.

 

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