what makes us different

Our Approach to Veterinary Specialty Care in Gilbert, AZ

We believe there is a reason it’s called ‘Specialty’ Medicine. Yes, we’re board-certified specialists, but it is the very special families and pet’s we have the privilege of caring for that make our profession so fulfilling.  We sincerely appreciate the dedication of the primary care veterinarians  who entrust the care of their patients to us, this unique collaboration provides outstanding care for our patients.  We receive referrals from veterinarians across Arizona and the southwest and appreciate being called upon to provide specialized care.

To become a specialist, one must obtain a four-year veterinary degree and then pursue additional training in an accredited program. This typically includes a one-year internship, followed by a two to three-year residency in a particular medical discipline. Gaining acceptance into a residency training program can be quite competitive, therefore only those with the highest academic and professional achievement gain entry. In addition to the clinical training, a veterinarian may also publish original research and pass a series of rigorous examinations to earn this designation.

At DVMS, every patient is special, and every patient’s family deserves the time, compassion, and information they need to make decisions that are right for their pet. Please know that our goal is to assist you, in any way we can. We are glad you chose Desert Veterinary Medical Specialists.

Meet Our Doctors

Dr. Whit Church

Dr. Whit Church

DVM, DACVIM (Cardiology)
Dr. Church earned his veterinary degree from Oregon State University in 2002. After graduation he completed a one-year internship at Cornell University followed by a cardiology residency and Master of Science degree at the University of Illinois.
Dr. Melissa Riensche

Dr. Melissa Riensche

DVM, DACVIM
Dr. Riensche has particular interests in nephrology, gastroenterology, infectious disease, respiratory medicine, and endocrine diseases. She shares her home with her husband Bryan, son RJ, 2 dogs named Monroe and Barrett Jackson, and 1 cat named Shelby.
Dr. Angie Mexas

Dr. Angie Mexas

DVM, PhD, DACVIM, DACLAM
After training in North Carolina State University, Dr. Mexas returned to Arizona in 2014. Her areas of most interest include immune medication and infections of dogs and cats. She continues to practice, teach and do research. She also shares her home with 4 cats.
Dr. Victoria L. Heffelman

Dr. Victoria L. Heffelman

DVM, DACVR
Dr. Heffelman special areas of interest include abdominal ultrasound, CT, and nuclear medicine. She lives with her husband Richard, Welsh Corgie named Quinn, and tabby cat, Piccolo, and enjoys traveling, spending time with family, movies, hiking, and enjoying all that Arizona offers!
Dr. Amy Roth-Jones

Dr. Amy Roth-Jones

DVM, DACVR
Dr. Roth-Jones became a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Radiology in 2017. Amy developed the first comprehensive veterinary ultrasound education program for industry. Her special interests include echocardiography and interventional radiology.
Dr. Sasha Naugler

Dr. Sasha Naugler

DVM - Residency Trained in Radiology
After work hours, Dr. Naugler enjoys her amazing dogs, a one-eyed chug (pug-chihuahua mix) named Chalupa and her unknown breed, red-haired step-mutt named Gumbo. She also enjoys gardening and exploring nature.
Dr. Emery Jones

Dr. Emery Jones

DVM - Residency Trained in Internal Medicine
Bio Coming Soon
Dr. Casandra Jacobs

Dr. Casandra Jacobs

DVM, DACVIM
Meet Dr. Casandra Jacobs, our internist! Dr. Jacobs hails from Wisconsin, where she obtained her undergraduate degree in biology, with a minor in chemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside.She went on to receive her doctorate in veterinary medicine from the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine in 2016.
Dr. David Pelio

Dr. David Pelio

DVM-Residency trained in Cardiology
Coming Soon.
Dr. Amanda Liggett

Dr. Amanda Liggett

DVM, Cardiology resident
Coming Soon.
Dr. Michelle Greer

Dr. Michelle Greer

DVM, DACVR
Coming Soon.
Dr. Whit Church
Dr. Melissa Riensche
Dr. Angie Mexas
Dr. Victoria L. Heffelman
Dr. Amy Roth-Jones
Dr. Sasha Naugler
Dr. Emery Jones
Dr. Casandra Jacobs
Dr. David Pelio
Dr. Amanda Liggett
Dr. Michelle Greer

Meet Our Team

Bryan Riensche

Manager
Bio Coming Soon.

Amber DeOliviera

Practice Manager of Peoria
Amber although originally from Arizona moved around a lot due to being part of a military family. She got her Associates in veterinary technology at Pima Community College in Tucson, and eventually landed back in the phoenix area. In August of 2015 she was hired as a CVT for patient care and has continued to grow and learn alongside DVMS. She was recently promoted to practice manager for our Peoria location that has been opened now for 1 year. She has a beautiful baby girl named Mollie and a 14.5yr old cat named Spaztaztic, (Tazzie cat for short). She spends most of her free time chasing around Mollie as she has learned to walk and is a very busy little girl. When Amber is not running after her baby she enjoys drawing and crocheting. 

Ashley Kedrowski

Practice Manager of Gilbert
Coming Soon.

Ashley

Customer Care Representative
Although originally from Florida, Ashley has lived in Arizona for most of her life. She has always had a passion for animals and while growing up there was always family pets in the house. While in High School, Ashley was enrolled in EVIT, a technical school where she had the opportunity to take both the Veterinary Assistant and Multimedia programs. After graduating, Ashley worked in various roles at a general practice animal hospital. Two years later, in August 2019, Ashley joined the DVMS team. In her free time she enjoys photography, traveling, and spending time with family. Combining her love for animals and art, Ashley is currently learning animal photography. Ashley is happy to share her home with 2 Maine Coons (Flynn and Katniss), and a Beta Fish (Pinto).

Courtney

Customer Care Representative
Bio Coming Soon.

Mikaela

Customer Care Representative
Bio Coming Soon.

Malorie H.

Customer Care Representative
Malorie just joined our Peoria team as a CSR at the end of October 2021 and will split her time at our Scottsdale location in the future.  She attended Pima Medical Institute for her veterinary assistant certificate back in 2018 and has worked as a veterinary assistant and receptionist in the veterinary field. She loves to read cheesy romance novels and enjoys cheering on the Packers to victory. When she is not working, most of her free time is spent playing with her beautiful 18mo old daughter. 

Megan M.

Senior Lead Technician
Megan one of our die-hard Broncos fans was born and raised in Colorado which is where she received her Associates in veterinary technology. Through growing up in Colorado she has learned to love gardening and plants, which I am pretty sure takes up at least ½ her home here in Arizona. She has been known to use her gardening skills to supply her kitchen with fresh foods, and don’t even get her started on her love for sandwiches and Korean BBQ. She is our Senior Lead CVT and joined our Gilbert team back in 2014. She brings her trusty new companion Tony a young chihuahua mix with her to work, because let’s be honest who would want to leave their pets at home if they didn’t have too. Don’t get her wrong though she has three cats at home and is a sucker for heavier feline patients. 

Danette

CVT - Internal Medicine
Danette grew up in Montana and graduated from the University of Montana with a BS in Business Management. She moved to Arizona in 1994 and worked for several years as an Office Manager before deciding to change career paths. She attended and completed the Veterinary Technology program at Pima Medical Institute and has been working as a technician in general practice since 2004. She joined the Desert Veterinary Medical Specialists team in August of 2012 and thoroughly enjoys working in our Internal Medicine department. We are fortunate to have her on our team, as she always has a positive and determined attitude. Danette currently has 1 cat, Wyle, and 2 dogs, Moon and Starla. She enjoys walking and training her dogs, is an avid reader and likes to spend her leisure time with her friends or relaxing at home.

Dina

CVT - Cardiology
Dina grew up in Chicago and moved to Arizona in 2003 to escape the Midwestern winters.  She has been working as a veterinary technician since 1997, and originally joined Arizona Veterinary Specialists in Surgery.  Two years after Dr. Church joined Arizona Veterinary Internal Medicine, now Desert Veterinary Medical Specialists, we were lucky to have Dina join us to keep Cardiology running smoothly.  Dina is such an asset since she is organized, can handle a large workload, and is always positive.  She is married to Dave, and they have two wonderful children, Sophia and Jack, and 2 pit bulls, Petunia and Violet.

Nicole

CVT - Internal Medicine
Nicole has been a technician for 6 years. She has 2 dogs (Max and Mya) and 3 cats (Lefty, Jade and Alice). I have lived in Arizona my whole life.  I enjoy hiking and indoor rock climbing. She is engaged and lives in Gilbert. She has been with DVMS since Jan 2014.

Alexus

CVT - Internal Medicine
Coming Soon.

Jennifer

CVT - Cardiology
I'm an Arizona native, grew up in Tempe. I went to college in Oregon but missed the sunshine so after 2 1/2 years, I moved back to Arizona. I love animals and decided I wanted a career working with them. I have been a veterinary technician since 2003. I currently have 4 dogs (Cosmo, Sage, Blackie and Foxy) and 1 cat (Buckaroo). I have a wonderful husband and son. When I have free time, I enjoy hiking, fishing, camping and off roading.

Ben

CVT - Internal Medicine
Coming Soon.

Allison

CVT - Cardiology/Radiology
Allison was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. She attended Western Michigan University and received a B.S. in Psychology with an empasis in Behavior Analysis. Allison knew she always wanted to work with animals at a very early age. I guess you could say her 1st job in the veterinary field was veterinary clinic in her basement. Her first patients were extremely tolerant Brahms, a Golden Retriever and 2 rabbits, Laces and Shoes. She then enrolled at Bel-Rea School of Veterinary Technology the next month. Allison started her veterinary technology career in 2010 as a surgery technician at AHSC in Denver, CO. After a few years as a surgery technician she switched specialities and joined Rocky Mountain Veterinary Cardiology. We are so fortunate to have another Cardiology tech join the team with Cardiology and Radiology! Allison had been with Desert Veterinary Medical Specialists since April 2019.

Megan D.

CVT - Radiology
Megan grew up in New York. She graduated with her AAS in Veterinary Technology from SUNY in Delhi, and her B.S. in Biology from SUNY Old Westbury. She has been a veterinary technician for over 12 years. She shares her home with 2 cats (Azazel and Angwyn) and 1 dog (Baltsaros). She has a passion for behavior and exotics. She works with DVMS part-time since 2018 as well as the emergency service at AzVECCC.

Katie

Veterinary Technician - Cardiology
Katie was born in Germany and, as a military child, has lived in many places throughout the U.S.  Her family eventually settled in Arizona. She has wanted to work with animals since she was a child when she discovered her dog loved her back rubs! She completed a nursing and veterinary technician program through her high school and began work as a veterinary technician in 2004. She joined Arizona Veterinary Internal Medicine, now Desert Veterinary Medical Specialists, in 2007. She has loved learning more about Internal Medicine every day and we love that she is so sweet and caring to our clients and patients! Katie and her wonderful husband, Sean, have 3 dogs, Red, Seamus and Camber, and 2 cats, Wesley and Butters.  Recently, they have added 2 new member to their family – a son, Izaak, and a daughter Khloe. We  are sure Izaak and Khloe will love animals as much as their parents. In her spare time, Katie enjoys going out to eat, watching movies, and riding dirt bikes with her husband.

Chelsea F.

Lead Veterinary Technician - Peoria
Chelsea originally from Lake City, Florida joined us over 1 year ago. Her love for the water and her bachelor’s degree in marine biology could not keep this sea goer away from the desert. With a pool in her back yard, she has made Arizona her home. She enjoys hanging out with family and friends as well as outdoor activities. She is the Lead Veterinary Technician for our Peoria location and is studying for her VTNE to further her career as a CVT. She enjoys all aspects of the veterinary field but loves seeing our severely ill patients become happy and healthier living their best lives. 

Malorie

Veterinary Technician Internal Medicine
Malorie being born and raised in Glendale is our very own Arizonan native. She is one of our veterinary technicians located in our Peoria office. Malorie has been with the company for 8 months now and is enjoying the team that she is a part of. She has a love for watching movies in her free time, but once you get to know her you will find out that Harry Potter is a favorite. She has even done the patronus test and hers goes perfectly with her animal loving heart as a saint Bernard. She keeps our team vibrant and laughing with her singing to our patients and her killer dance moves. Malorie has an adorable dog named Sullivan and a spicy orange feline who goes by Yuuki. 

Camryn

Veterinary Technician Internal Medicine
Camryn comes to us as a transfer from emergency veterinary medicine. She has been a technician since 2016 and is originally from California. She has a pack of her own who we all refer to as dingoes, however they are 3 beautiful heelers with the names of Ollie, Cash and June. She also has 3 cats. She loves the outdoors, and you better believe that her “herd of dingoes” travel with her. She has a huge heart for animals which shows with each individual patient she meets. She joined our DVMS family in April of 2021 as an Internal Medicine technician and has been a great addition to our team.

Theresa

Veterinary Technician Internal Medicine
Meet Theresa one of our newest members of the Peoria team. She joined us in September 2021 as an Internal medicine technician. She is our go to girl for our larger patients. A fun fact about her, she can dead lift over 400 pounds. Never underestimate your technicians. She is also a native to Arizona and graduated from NAU with a bachelor's degree in exercise science. She has fallen in love with the veterinary field and continues to grow her knowledge in specialty medicine. Her hobbies include powerlifting, visiting local coffee shops and concerts

Carlos

Veterinary Technician Radiology
Carlos received his associate degree in veterinary medicine from Pima Medical Institute. Carlos was hired as a Radiology Veterinary Technician for our Peoria location and joined our team back in May of 2021. He has great organizational skills that help with the continued growth of this department. He has a small pack of chihuahuas, with his newest addition being an adorable polydactyl calico kitten named Nebula, whom we are positive will rule the house. He has what he calls a moderate obsession with Korean culture, anywhere from their TV shows, music and of course the fabulous food.

Leonardo

Veterinary Technician Radiology
Leonardo or nicknamed “Leo” is one of our Radiology technicians. With an interest in IT and imaging made him the perfect addition to support our radiologist as she performs ultrasounds, CTs and radiographs. Leo joined DVMS in June of 2021 and continues to help our radiology department grow as we add in new technology. He loves helping make our patients comfortable during any procedure they undergo and truly cares for their well-being.  Leo has a crafty/problem solving side to him and enjoys coming up with solutions to help things function or flow better. This probably comes from how he loves to spend his free time from gardening to crafts and video games

Chelsea S.

Veterinary Technician – Internal Medicine
Bio Coming Soon.

Alex

Veterinary Technician - Internal Medicine
Bio Coming Soon.

Whitney

Veterinary Technician – Cardiology
Bio Coming Soon.

Want To Join Our Team ?

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Patient Stories

Our pet stories tell our story, one of dedication to improving pet lives through compassionate care.

Over 150 5-Star Reviews
Find out What Your Neighbors Are Saying About Us

Sandy Harmsen
5.0 ★★★★★
It looked like a great place to work.  Very clean and organized without a long wait.  I knew this but still think its a bit expensive.  But everyone was very nice and polite and professional.
Andi Rosado
5.0 ★★★★★
Dr. Heffelman was fantastic as was our tech Allison. Top notch team where I feel 100% confident referring clients and patients. Thanks for all your wonderful care of Porkchop!
Michelle Brust
5.0 ★★★★★
Amazing vet care and they follow up with you as expected. As soon as they get results from lab work, they call you the same day you are expecting it. Front office staff and techs are all super nice and professional, and the vet (also super nice and professional) always seems readily available to answer questions.
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Maryann Gagliano
5.0 ★★★★★
I just live the compassionate manner that Dr. Church has with my BabyDoll. I can see he is a dedicated doctor to our fur babies. Having spoken to him in person on our first visit, I felt secure in the fact my dog was in the best hands to save her life. The technician and office workers are very kind and loving to BabyDoll because she can be very scared. Than you Dr. Church and staff for loving my BabyDoll as if she were yours.
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Kathy McCaffrey
5.0 ★★★★★
During this time of extra difficulties with Covid, the staff and doctors try to make the process of taking care of your pet as easy as possible. I have great faith in Dr. Church in their cardio division and look forward to sharing in his expertise as we work to help my dog.
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Barb Adams
5.0 ★★★★★
ou communication with me was excellent. You kept me informed of the tests, results and discussion of the problems my pet was facing.  I felt my pet was in very hands with your staff and doctors.
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