There are two new vets in town! Dr. Jennifer Hacker and Dr. Zach Steffes just opened Ohana Animal Hospital. Dr. Hacker and Dr. Steffes met while studying veterinary medicine at UC Davis and practiced in San Diego for six years before returning to the Bay Area to open their own animal hospital in Livermore. Dr. Hacker treats cats and dogs, while Dr. Steffes treats cats, dogs, reptiles, amphibians, and other exotic animals like chinchillas and rabbits.
Ohana Animal Hospital is located in front of Kohl’s, in the shopping center next to Wheel Works. The hospital is bright and open, with a spacious waiting room, a few exam rooms, and species-separate boarding areas. There is a room with heated cages for boarding reptiles and a room with pens for large dogs. When I came to visit, there was a 17-year-old snake recuperating from eye surgery. Take a tour of their hospital here.
Dr. Steffes said, “When we built this hospital here the goal was to have your big corporate-like hospital that has all the fancy equipment—the ultrasounds, the digital x-rays, the ICU—all that stuff, but we wanted to have it also be a family hospital.” Drs. Steffes and Hacker were attracted to Livermore because it has the population to support a veterinary hospital while retaining its small-town feeling.
I came to Ohana Animal Hospital to ask them some questions, including what their favorite thing was about being a veterinarian. Dr. Hacker, who knew she wanted to be a veterinarian since the third grade, said her favorite things are “being able to help people, help animals, and no day is ever the same.”
When I asked Dr. Steffes, he said, “My favorite thing now is showing owners what we can do, especially with exotic animal medicine. I think a lot of people come in here thinking that we can look at them, give them some antibiotics, and send them home. I get to do some really cool stuff. I amputated the tail from a 9 foot crocodile monitor, I did an enterotomy on a 120 gram bearded dragon the other day. These are things that we weren’t doing 20 years ago.”