Surgery / Orthopedics - Staff

To learn more about any of our staff members, simply select their name below to reveal their information.

Brian

Brian Van Vechten, DVM

Brian

Brian Van Vechten, DVM is a surgeon and an owner of Veterinary Surgical Services at VRCC.  Dr. Van Vechten has a broad background and interest in soft tissue surgery, orthopedic surgery, oncologic surgery, and reconstructive surgery.  He is a member of the Veterinary Society of Surgical Oncology (VSSO.org).  Dr. Van Vechten was raised in east San Diego County.  An early interest in animal care led to involvement in 4-H and FFA where he showed dogs, cattle, and sheep. After graduating Granite Hills High School in 1974, Dr. Van Vechten attended the University of California at Davis majoring in Zoology.  He was accepted into U. C. Davis Veterinary School and attained a doctor of veterinary medicine degree in 1982. Following graduation from veterinary school Dr. Van Vechten owned and operated Valhalla Veterinary Clinic in El Cajon, California. In 1989 after 7 years in general practice Dr. Van Vechten sold Valhalla Veterinary Clinic to further a longtime interest in veterinary surgery.  He was accepted into a small animal surgery residency program at the University of California at Davis where he obtained training in soft tissue surgery, orthopedic surgery, and microvascular surgery.  Study projects included growth plate deformities and the resulting alignment problems and evaluation of porto-systemic shunts.  Dr. Van Vechten completed his residency in 1992 and was voted resident teacher of the year by the graduating class. He then did extensive traveling and lecturing in Europe, Africa, and Asia.  In 1994 Dr. Van Vechten moved to Fort Collins, Colorado to pursue a fellowship in surgical oncology at Colorado State University Comparative Oncology Unit.  This training included surgeries in limb sparings, soft tissue resections, and surgical options for vertebral tumors.  Dr. Van Vechten moved to Denver following the completion of his fellowship in 1995 and joined VSS in June of that year.

Outside of work, Dr. Van Vechten and his wife Liz enjoy spending time with their three children: Alexandria, Jacob, and Nicholas.  Their German shepherd Rhea and golden cross Rocky are integral parts of the home.  Two grey tabby brothers Bingo and Bobo are additional members of the house.  Dr. Van Vechten and his wife Liz are actively involved with “Be the Change Volunteers”, an organization that builds and maintains schools in underdeveloped countries.  Dr. Van Vechten is an avid golfer and frequently combines golf with his passion for travel.  The proximity of the Colorado mountains allows the family opportunity for weekend trips of hiking and skiing.  Dr. Van Vechten is proud to be part of the Veterinary Referral Center of Colorado and feels blessed to be able to work with such a dedicated and talented staff.

Chad

Chad M. Devitt, DVM, MS, Diplomate ACVS

Chad

Chad M. Devitt, DVM, MS, DACVS is a board-certified surgeon and an owner of Veterinary Surgical Services at VRCC.  Dr. Devitt attended Iowa State University for his undergraduate and Veterinary Training and graduated from Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine with honors in 1992.  After graduation, he was an intern at the Animal Medical Center in New York City. Chad graduated from his internship in 1993 and received the President’s award for Intern of the Year.  From New York City, he traveled to Fort Collins, Colorado, beginning a three-year small animal surgical residency at Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital.  During his residency at CSU, he developed many of his professional interests including reconstructive surgery, minimally invasive surgery and surgical oncology.  He also completed a Masters Degree in Veterinary Clinical Sciences (Surgery).  Following, his surgical residency, Dr. Devitt became a Surgical Oncology Fellow at the Animal Tumor Center at Colorado State University in 1996.  During his fellowship, he received additional training and experience in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer in small animal patients.  Performing surgeries such as limb salvage in dogs with osteosarcoma, radical maxillofacial surgery, and brain tumor resections.

In February of 1997 Dr. Devitt passed the American College of Veterinary Surgeons board exam and became a board certified Surgeon.  He moved to St. Petersburg, Florida following his fellowship to join the Tampa Bay Veterinary Specialist in 1997.  During a summer trip back to Colorado in 1999, he visited VRCC’s new facility and soon after, he joined Veterinary Surgical Services.  When away from the hospital, Dr. Devitt enjoys mountain biking, windsurfing, fly-fishing, and backcountry skiing.

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Kurt Grimm
DVM, MS, PhD, DACVA, DACVCP

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Kurt Grimm, DVM, MS, PhD, Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Anesthesiologists and Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Clinical Pharmacology is a former assistant professor of anesthesiology and pain management at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. He earned his DVM from Iowa State University in 1995 and later his MS and PhD from the University of Illinois. He is co-editor of several texts including Pain Management for the Small Animal Practitioner and Lumb and Jones’ Veterinary Anesthesia and Analgesia, 4th edition.

Etta

Etta Wertz
DVM, MS, DACVA, CVA

Etta

Etta is a native Coloradoan and grew up in Denver. She graduated from Colorado State University and completed a small animal internship at the University of Missouri-Columbia. She completed a residency in anesthesiology and a Master’s degree at the University of Illinois. She is a Diplomate member in the College of Veterinary Anesthesiologists. She was a faculty anesthesiologist at Cornell University and CSU. Etta has also completed IVAS training in acupuncture and became certified in 1999. She has been in private practice for the past 15 years.

Jennifer

Jennifer Barry
Surgery Coordinator

Jennifer

Jennifer has been a surgical coordinator for VSS since October 2002. She very much enjoys observing and learning about all the surgical procedures done by the VSS surgeons, and using that knowledge everyday when speaking with clients. She lives in Parker, CO. with her husband Bradley, 2 beautiful daughters, her goofy epileptic dog Chance and their newest family member, Lacy who is a fun calico poly dactyl kitten. Jennifer enjoys spending time outdoors, gardening, drawing and painting and playing with her children.

Laurie

Laurie Simmons
Surgery Coordinator

Laurie

Laurie is originally from a small town in Ohio. She traveled to Colorado after attending college and majored in Biology at Kent State University. She has been living here for the last 14 years. She decided to pursue a career in working with animals after moving to Denver. She worked her way up in the veterinary world and was a hospital manager at a veterinary hospital for 7 years. She joined VSS in May 2008. Laurie lives with her husband Patrick, their daughter, Peyton, and their 3 other furry kids, Drexel, that cat who has used 3 of his nine lives, Puck the Pug and Lemmy the Affenpinscher. When Laurie is not at VRCC, she enjoys biking, yoga, hiking, swimming, skiing, going to concerts, and relaxing with her family.

Leslie

Leslie Gaudet
C.V.T.

Leslie

Leslie is a 2004 graduate of Bel-Rea who joined VSS in the summer of 2006.

Previously she spent two years at a non-profit general practice. Leslie is very intrigued by surgery and loves that the surgeries we do are so important to maintaining a happy life for our “Best Friends”. Leslie enjoys spending time with her mom, sisters and new nephew in Colorado Springs.

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Kelly Pokorny
C.V.T.

Kelly_VRCC

Kelly joined VSS in September of 2000, moving here from Texas. Surgery is very fascinating to Kelly and she thrives in the fast-paced setting. Kelly enjoys using vacation time to volunteer with VIDAS, an organization that holds free veterinary medicine and education clinics in the Yucatan of Mexico. She enjoys being able to give back to the community by helping the growing health concerns in such a poor country. In working for VSS, Kelly finds new and intriguing ways to love her job and help strengthen the human-animal bond.

Brenton Mersmann (1)

Brent Mersmann

Brenton Mersmann (1)
Jessica R

Jessica Reincke, C.V.T.

Jessica R
Jessica is originally from Denver and attended college in Fort Collins. She graduated with an AAS degree in Veterinary Technology in the summer of 2010 and passed her certification board exams that December. She has previously worked in a small general practice and done a lot of volunteer work with a local cat rescue before getting married and moving to Castle Rock, CO.  She has a passion for fostering animals and has cared for and adopted out dozens of cats and kittens. She shares her home with her husband and their son, two spoiled rotten chihuahuas and an equally spoiled cat that she hand raised as an orphan from two days old.  Jessica enjoys the fast pace and challenge of the surgery world and loves the patient care she gets to provide here at VRCC.
Lara

Lara Tannian

Lara

Lara grew up in Michigan and moved to Colorado in 1995. She attended and graduated from PIMA Institute in the summer of 2003. After graduation Lara worked at a general practice veterinary clinic for 3 years. Lara joined the staff of VSS in November of 2006 and enjoys learning something new every day about veterinary medicine and surgery. Lara enjoys spending time with her friends, family and two dogs ‘Teddy’ and ‘Vinnie’.

Jason

Jason Morales, C.V.T.

Jason
Courtney Baier

Courtney Baier, C.V.T.

Courtney Baier

Courtney is a 2008 graduate of Colorado Mountain College where she earned her AAS degree in Veterinary Technology and passed her board exams in June of the same year. She developed an interest in anesthesia and surgery which lead her to join VSS in April of 2013 after working in both a general and specialty practice. Courtney enjoys the fast paced environment and the fact that no two days are the same. In her spare time Courtney enjoys running, checking out the music scene, spending time with family and friends and exploring the great city of Denver.

Jason Worner

Jason Worner

Jason Worner
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Kellie Tafton

Kellie_Trafton
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