Author Bios

Ernest E. Ward, Jr. DVM
Dr. Ernest Ward is the owner of E3 Management, a North Carolina-based consulting firm, and founder of Seaside Animal Care, a National Practice of Excellence Award Winner.  Dr. Ward is an Editorial Advisory Board Member for Veterinary Economics and has authored and been featured in over 70 practice management and medical journal articles. Dr. Ward is a regular guest on the Rachael Ray Show and has appeared on Animal Planet, NBC Nightly News, and CNN, to name a few. He was awarded the North American Veterinary Conference (NAVC) and Western Veterinary Conference (WVC) "Speaker of the Year" awards, founded the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention in 2005 and is co-founder of VetPartners and the Interational Veterinary Senionr Care Society. Dr. Ward is also a certified personal trainer, USA Triathlon accredited coach and an Ironman triathlete.


Gary Landsberg, DVM, Dip ACVB, Dip ECVBM-CA
Gary Landsberg is a veterinary behaviorist at the North Toronto Veterinary Behaviour Specialty Clinic in Thornhill. He is a 1976 graduate of the Ontario Veterinary College, and is board certified in veterinary behavior by both the ACVB (American College) and the ECAWBM (European College). He is a frequent speaker at national and international conferences for veterinarians, technicians, students and the public. He is a consultant for Veterinary Information Network and Vice President, Veterinary Affairs and Product Development at CanCog technologies. He has authored numerous scientific publications and book chapters and is co-author of Behavior Problems of Dogs and Cats, 3rd ed, a 2013 Saunders Elsevier publication. In 2000 he received the AAHA “Friskies” Companion Animal Behavior Award and in 2014 the meritorious service award from Western Veterinary Conference.  


Debra Horwitz, DVM, Dip ACVB
Debra received her DVM from Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine, is a diplomate and past president of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, and practices behavioral medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. She lectures frequently in North America and abroad on behavioral topics and is a behavioral consultant for the Veterinary Information Network. In 2012 and 2014 she was voted North American Veterinary Conference Small Animal speaker of the year by conference participants. Her books include: Blackwell's Five-Minute Veterinary Consult Clinical Companion: Canine and Feline Behavior co-authored with Jacqui Neilson, BSAVA Manual of Canine and Feline Behavioural Medicine (editor and contributor), behavior section editor for the The 5-Minute Veterinary Consult: Canine and Feline, Third Edition, and Blackwell's Five-Minute Veterinary Consult: Canine and Feline, Fourth and Fifth Editions. She is the lead editor of Decoding your Dog, a book for pet owners written by members of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists published in 2014.

Dr. Downing is Hospital Director of The Downing Center for Animal Pain Management, LLC, the first comprehensive pain prevention and management practice for pets in Northern Colorado.  In 2000 she was named the Hill’s Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award winner, and 2001 the World Small Animal Association presented Dr. Downing the Excellence in Veterinary Healthcare Award (Small Animal Veterinarian of the Year).

Dr. Downing is a founder of the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management, a Certified Veterinary Pain Practitioner, a certified veterinary acupuncturist, a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner (University of Tennessee), a certified Tui Na practitioner (Chi Institute), is certified in canine medical massage (CSU), and is certified in animal chiropractic (IVCA). She is one of a handful of veterinarians to hold the Diplomate credential in the American Academy of Pain Management, the largest interdisciplinary human pain management organization in the US. In 2009 Dr. Downing became the first veterinarian to earn the designation Certified Pain Educator from the American Society of Pain Educators, a second human pain management credential.

As an affiliate faculty at the Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Downing mentors post-graduate veterinarians, veterinary students, veterinary technician students, and veterinary technician assistant students from various college and graduate programs. 

Dr. Downing has been sharing her passion for facilitating, enhancing, lengthening, and strengthening the Family-Pet-Veterinary Bond with audiences around the world since 1996.

Lynn Buzhardt, DVM
Dr. Buzhardt is a 1980 graduate of Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine and co-owns a practice with her husband in Zachary, Louisiana. Lynn has served as national spokesperson for major animal health companies on key issues of concern to pet owners working with major news outlets including TV, radio and print media. In addition to regionally focused media work, her national credits include The View, The Today Show, NBC Nightly News, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Parents Magazine, Investor’s Business Daily, Ladies Home Journal, Ebony, USA Weekend and Redbook. Known in the human medical community for her expertise on integrating babies into pet owning households, Dr. Buzhardt co-authored a book entitled Can We Have One? A Parent’s Guide to Raising Kids with Cats and Dogs.

Dr. Buzhardt serves on the Louisiana Pet Overpopulation Committee, the East Baton Rouge Parish Animal Control Committee, is a past board member of the American Heartworm Society and was named 2010 Louisiana Veterinarian of the Year. Her research experience includes 35 years working with pharmaceutical companies and the FDA in product discovery, protocol review, and new drug development.  She lectures to veterinary students at LSU-SVM and to veterinary colleagues on a variety of topics.

Scott and Lynn are parents to two married sons, both human medical doctors, and one spoiled Labrador. The rest of their family includes two daughters-in-law who are also in the medical field (one doctor, one nurse) and most importantly, two wonderful grandchildren.    

Jan Bellows, DVM, DAVDC, DABVP
Jan has devoted his career to helping animals and veterinarians.  He received undergraduate training at the University of Florida and his DVM from Auburn University. After completing a small animal internship at The Animal Medical Center in New York City, he returned to south Florida where he still practices companion animal medicine, surgery and dentistry at Hometown Animal Hospital and All Pets Dental in Weston, Florida. He is doubly certified by the Board of Veterinary Practitioners (canine and feline) since 1986 and the College of Veterinary Dentistry since 1990.

Jan’s veterinary dentistry accomplishments include: author of three dental texts - The Practice of Veterinary Dentistry …. A team effort (1999), Small Animal Dental Equipment, Materials, and Techniques (2005) and Feline Dentistry (2010).  He also is a frequent contributor to DVM Newsmagazine and a charter consultant of Veterinary Information Network’s (VIN) dental board since 1994.  He was also chosen as one of the dental experts to formulate AAHA’s Small Animal Dental Guidelines published in 2005 and updated in 2013. For fun he runs marathons -- 73 so far and counting.

Steve Marsden, DVM ND MSOM LAc DiplCH AHG
Steve is one of the chief educators of veterinarians worldwide in the use of complementary and alternative therapies. He regularly lectures for the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society, the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association, and the American Veterinary Medical Association. He has been a guest speaker for veterinary courses, colleges, and associations spanning five continents, and is co-founder of the College of Integrative Veterinary Therapies, an Australia-based institution offering distance learning programs in integrative medicine. He is also a director of the National College of Natural Medicine, a fully accredited and leading educational institution in the United States offering comprehensive training in a diversity of alternative therapies for physicians. His textbook, Manual of Natural Veterinary Medicine, published by Elsevier in 2003, has been translated into multiple languages, and is a leading resource worldwide. Dr. Marsden is extensively trained in alternative medicine, receiving one of the first Master's of Science degrees in Oriental Medicine ever to be awarded in North America, as well as board certifications in Chinese herbology, acupuncture and naturopathic medicine. When not teaching, he divides his time equally between veterinary and naturopathic medical practice in Edmonton, Alberta.

Cheryl Yuill, DVM, MSc, CVH
Dr. Cheryl Yuill obtained her DVM and MSc (Clinical Studies) degrees from the Ontario Veterinary College. She is the sole owner of a multi-veterinarian companion animal practice in Ontario, where she has been practicing since 1990. In the late-1990's she pursued her interest in homeopathy, completing several courses in veterinary homeopathy and becoming a Certified Veterinary Homeopath with the Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy. Professionally, Dr. Yuill has retained active ties with the Ontario Veterinary College and is currently one of the communication coaches for the Art of Veterinary Medicine course. She has served on numerous professional committees, including chairing the CVO (Ontario's provincial regulatory body) Complaints Committee and Executive Committee, chairing the Board of the Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy, serving two terms on the executive of the Golden Triangle Veterinary Academy (a 100-member regional veterinary continuing education organization), and currently serving as chair of Health Canada's Expert Advisory Committee on Veterinary Natural Health Products.

Shawn Messonnier, DVM
Dr. Shawn Messonnier practices integrative medicine at Paws & Claws Animal Hospital in Plano, Tx. He writes regularly for Dog Fancy, Dog World, Body+ Soul, and Animal Wellness. He is the author of several books on integrative pet care including The Arthritis Solution for Dogs, The Allergy Solution for Dogs, the award-winning The Natural Health Bible for Dogs & Cats, The Natural Vets Guide to Preventing and Treating Cancer, and 8 Weeks to a Healthy Dog. He was recently voted Best Veterinarian in the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex by D and is spokesman for Pet Togethers, a pet supplement company. He recently released his own line of USDA certified organic pet shampoos called Dr. Shawns Pet Organics. Dr. Shawn can be heard each Tuesday night on Sirius and XM radio on his award winning show, Dr. Shawn-The Natural Vet, on Martha Stewart Living Radio.


Margo S. Tant, BSc, DVM, DVSc
Dr. Tant received her veterinary training at the Ontario Veterinary College in Guelph, Ontario and completed her DVM in 1983. She spent the next 10 years in small animal practice in southern Ontario before returning to OVC to take up graduate studies. She completed a doctorate in Clinical Pathology in 1998, meeting the eligibility requirements for Board Certification for the American College of Veterinary Pathologists. After graduation, Dr. Tant joined Vita-tech Laboratory (now Idexx Canada Laboratories) as a full time clinical pathologist and consultant specializing in hematology, cytology, and the interpretation of laboratory data.  


Kristiina Ruotsalo, DVM, DVSc, ACVP
Kristiina graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College in 1990. Following a number of years in mixed animal practice, she returned to the University of Guelph, Department of Pathobiology, to complete her Doctor of Veterinary Science in Clinical Pathology. Following the completion of this degree, she consulted for several privately owned veterinary laboratories as well as practiced small animal medicine on a part-time basis.  Kris became a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists (Clinical Pathology) in 2004. Currently she is a clinical pathologist with the Animal Health Laboratory at the University of Guelph. She resides on a small farm just outside of Guelph where, along with her husband and son, she raises purebred Scottish Highland Cattle.


Joan R Rest, BVSc, PhD, DiplECVP, MRCVS
RCVS Recognized Specialist in Veterinary Pathology. Joan qualified from the University of Bristol in 1966 and then obtained a PhD in animal pathology from University of Cambridge. Subsequently awarded membership of the Royal College of Pathologists (by examination in diagnostic pathology) and foundation diplomate status of the European College of Veterinary Pathology. She became an RCVS Specialist in Pathology when the specialist register started in 1991. She has been a diagnostic and research pathologist as well as a clinician. After three years as Editor in Chief of the Journal "Veterinary Dermatology" she has returned to diagnostic histopathology with a particular interest in dermatopathology. 


Rick Axelson, DVM
Rick graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College in 1987. He practiced with his father, Dr. R. Dean Axelson, a pioneer of exotic animal and avian medicine in Canada and founder of The Links Road Animal & Bird Clinic (1973) until he purchased the hospital in January 1996. The Links Rd. Animal & Bird Clinic is a referral center for exotic animals in the Greater Toronto area and Southern Ontario. Its client base is 85% birds and exotic animals plus 15% dogs and cats. He is a member of the College of Ontario Veterinarians (CVO), Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA), Ontario Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA), Association of Avian Veterinarians (AAV), Association of Reptile, Amphibian Veterinarians (ARAV) and the Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians (AEMV). Rick has lectured extensively to local and regional veterinarians and veterinary technicians, as well as students at the Ontario Veterinary College. He has appeared on local and national television and radio shows and He is a contributing author for Pets Quarterly Magazine.

Justine Lee, DVM, Dip ACVECC
Dr. Justine Lee is the CEO and founder of VETgirl, a subscription-based online podcast and webinar service offering RACE-approved veterinary continuing education (CE). Dr. Lee obtained her veterinary degree from Cornell University, her internship at Angell Animal Medical Center, and her emergency fellowship and residency at the University of Pennsylvania. She is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care (DACVECC) and a Diplomate of the American Board of Toxicology. Dr. Lee is the author of two humorous pet reference books entitled It's a Dog's Life... but It's Your Carpet and It's a Cat's World... You Just Live In It. Dr. Lee lectures throughout the world on emergency and critical care.


Sidney W Ricketts, LVO, BSc, BVSc, Dip ECEIM, FRCPath, FRCVS RCVS, Recognized Specialist in Equine Stud Medicine
Sidney qualified at the University of Bristol Veterinary School in 1971. He then interned in Equine Medicine and Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania on a Thouron Fellowship before joining Rossdale & Partners in Newmarket, where he is currently senior partner.  He has been specifically interested in equine stud medicine and clinical pathology and is a Fellow of both the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and the Royal College of Pathologists.

Deidre M Carson, BVSc(Syd), MRCVS
Deidre qualified at the University of Sydney Faculty of Veterinary Science in 1982.  She has been working for Rossdale and Partners, Newmarket, since 1983 except for a brief period spent in mixed practice.  She is currently a member of BEVA council with responsibility for nursing issues.