Our Veterinarians

Dr. Scott Amsel

Medical Director

dr amsel

Dr. Amsel was born into and raised in a medical family on the East Coast of the United States. He has lived in California since 1978 and in the Los Angeles area since 1986. During his undergraduate college and early vet school years, Scott developed and nurtured his interest in exotic animals while working at the Miami Seaquarium, the San Diego Wild Animal Park and the former Marine World, Africa USA. Subsequently, while attending veterinary school at the University of California at Davis, Scott specialized in the study of zoo and wildlife medicine.

Since receiving his veterinary degree in 1984, Scott has studied epidemiology and preventive medicine and experienced a wide variety of fascinating veterinary adventures. These include working on a movie in the Amazon with wild river dolphins, working to secure the release of wild dolphins trapped by fishermen in Taiwan, helped rescue and provide medical care for ex-captive orangutans in Taiwan and Indonesia, helped develop a wildlife rescue program in Thailand, and worked for two years as staff veterinarian at the Los Angeles zoo. He has presented papers before the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians as well as publishing original work in various veterinary journals.

Dr. Amsel’s interests cover the entire spectrum of the animal kingdom. After working at Disney’s Animal Kingdom for a year in 2000 he moved back to Los Angeles to partner with another zoo vet to run a private practice caring for the many species of animals working in the entertainment industry. He starred in a national Science Diet television commercial and provided veterinary supervision for two reality television shows about dogs.  Since then he has worked hundreds of hours for low-cost spay and neuter programs and continued attending to regular pets in private practice.

Specialized Veterinary Services By Appointment Only

Dr. Jason Balara, Veterinary Specialist 

DVM, Diplomate American College of Veterinary Surgeons

Dr. Balara

Dr. Jason Balara is a Massachusetts native who received his veterinary schooling and training right in his home state: he attended veterinary school at Tufts University, completed an internship at Angell Animal Medical Center, and finished his residency at both institutions between  2005-2008. Upon the completion of his residency, Dr. Balara went "in search  of better weather," where he spent several years working in the Carolinas and found his fiance. They then moved to Houston, TX where Dr. Balara spent three years working for Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists; at the end of  his tenure, they both heard sunny Southern California calling and promptly made their way west.  Dr. Balara believes in constantly improving the state of veterinary medicine, and therefore passes on his wisdom by teaching students, interns, and residents alike. Dr. Balara is also passionate about minimally invasive surgery and joint replacement. 

Dr. Bruce Barrett

Veterinarian - Surgery

Dr. Bruce Barrett graduated from the University of Prince Edward Island in 1993. He has a special interest in orthopedics and reconstructive soft-tissue surgery. From Tibia Plateau Leveling Osteotomy and Medical Patellar Luxation correction to traumatic fractures and skin grafts, he performs them all. Dr. Barrett has been licensed and certified to do TPLO since 2002 and has successfully performed more than 2,000 TPLOs. He is also certified to do the Total Knee Replacement (TKR) Biometrix taught at The Ohio State University. In addition, he is also trained and licensed to do PennHIP evaluations. Dr. Barrett has completed a surgical internship and started a residency but did not complete it for personal reason. Although not ACVS board certified, he regularly attends the surgical symposium annually to stay current and informed in his career . His special interests include breeding and showing English Cocker Spaniels and going to the movies, as well as swimming, dancing, and traveling. He is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Southern California Veterinary Medical Association. Favorite shop: Starbucks.

Dr. Sarah Young 

Veterinarian- Ultrasonographer


Dr. Sarah Young was born in Sweden to British parents and was fortunate to experience life in several countries before settling in California as a teen. She received a BS in Biology in 1991 at UC Davis, and went on to complete the rigorous UC Davis veterinary school curriculum, receiving her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine in 1995.

Dr. Young completed a veterinary internship in Ventura County before entering private practice and practiced mixed and small animal medicine for 10 years. General practice showed her the tremendous value and benefit of ultrasound in medical diagnosis and treatment, and she began intensive training in ultrasound techniques and interpretation.

Dr. Young subsequently purchased Echo Service for Pets, a mobile ultrasound service for companion and exotic animals, and has been providing veterinary ultrasound services for over a decade.She greatly enjoys helping animals and their owners with accurate and timely ultrasound care to assist in medical diagnosis and treatment. In her free time, Dr. Young delights in hiking with her dog, camping, scuba diving, horseback riding and travel.

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