Robert Smith, DVM, MS, DABVP
Dr. Smith received the BS and MS degrees in animal science from Kansas State University and then served as an Army artillery officer before earning the DVM degree at his alma mater. He completed a large animal medicine and surgery internship and clinical instructorship at Oklahoma State University. At OSU he later worked as a field services clinician for 15 years and held the McCasland Chair in beef health and production. He has been in private cattle practice with Veterinary Research and Consulting Services, LLC since 2000. He has served as president of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners, the Academy of Veterinary Consultants, and WVC. He chaired the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s Cattle Health and Well-being Committee and currently chairs the Beef Quality Assurance Advisory Group. He led the working group that developed the beef industry’s Cattle Care and Handling Guidelines.
Brian Poteet, DVM, MS, DACVR, DABSNM
Dr. Poteet earned his DVM and MS degrees at Texas A&M University, followed by a three-year radiology residency at the University of Tennessee in 1994. He is board-certified by the American College of Veterinary Radiology and the American Board of Science in Nuclear Medicine. From 1994 to 2010, he was the director of diagnostic imaging at Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists in Houston, Texas. Currently, Dr. Poteet is the founder and president of VitalRads, Veterinary Radiology Consultants, based in Cypress, Texas. He is an associate professor of radiology in the Department of Large Animal Medicine and Surgery at Texas A&M University and is also an adjunct professor of veterinary radiology at St. Matthews University, Grand Cayman. Dr. Poteet provides consultation services in all areas of diagnostic imaging including digital radiography, computed radiography, ultrasound, cross-sectional imaging (CT and MRI), and nuclear medicine. He has authored scientific journal articles and chapters in textbooks and has presented at numerous national and international veterinary meetings on topics ranging from ultrasound and digital radiography to computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, and nuclear medicine.
Debbie White, DVM, BS
Dr. Debbie White received both her BS in animal science and her DVM from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. After graduation, she relocated to Las Vegas with her husband and fellow Purdue veterinary graduate, Dr. Kurt Mychajlonka. She has been in practice for over 20 years as a small animal and exotic animal veterinarian. She owns two veterinary practices and is a partner in several other veterinary practices in the Las Vegas area. Since 2008 she serves as “Dr. Debbie” on the weekly national radio program, Animal Radio, where she fields pet owner health questions from around the country. Dr. White has been involved with WVC throughout her career in many capacities and shares WVC’s passion for continuing education and career development. She is especially interested in mentorship roles and the promotion of personal and professional wellness.
E. David Stearns, RVT
Secretary/Treasurer - Parliamentarian
Mr. David Stearns is currently the general manager for VitalRads, a Houston-based teleradiology company. Mr. Stearns’s experience includes many years of sales and marketing leadership for industry-leading companies in diagnostics and animal health, as well as teaching in an AVMA-accredited veterinary technology program. He worked as an RVT in a mixed animal practice and as the hospital administrator of a small animal practice. Mr. Stearns was part of the founding group of NAVTA and is the past-president of the Oklahoma and Kansas Veterinary Technician Associations. He has lectured and authored several articles including a chapter in the Clinical Textbook for Veterinary Technicians. He has served on the AVMA’s CVTEA and chaired the National Board Exam Committee. Mr. Stearns served as the veterinary technician director on the Board of Directors for a five-year term and is currently serving as the secretary-treasurer for WVC.
Gary D. Weddle, DVM
Dr. Weddle hails from Missouri and is a 1978 graduate from the University of Missouri, College of Veterinary Medicine. After graduation, he practiced small animal and exotic medicine in private practice until 1993. He then went on to practice exotic animal medicine exclusively until 2000 and also established the Veterinary Technology Program at the College of Southern Nevada where he was an adjunct professor. From 2000 until retirement in 2011, he practiced shelter medicine. During retirement, Dr. Weddle has been serving on the IACUC Committee of WVC for the past ten years, is a surgical examiner for the AVMA ECSVG program, is the USDA veterinarian of record for the Oquendo Center, and was elected to the Board of WVC in 2015. Since graduation, Dr. Weddle has been to every WVC Annual Conference. He has served as a session moderator several times for WVC during Conference. His strong appreciation for providing quality continuing education is the driving factor for his deepening involvement with WVC. Dr. Weddle’s hobbies include falconry, land sailing, fishing, and photography.
William Wright, DVM
Dr. Wright is the owner of Wright Veterinary Services in Spring Creek, Nevada. The practice deals primarily in beef cattle with some equine and involves traveling to ranches, large and small, throughout Northeast Nevada. As the chief surgeon for the Dumke-Weeks Spay/Neuter Clinic of the Elko Animal Shelter in Elko, Nevada, he has not completely forsaken the small animal side of things and has an ongoing interest in shelter medicine. He spent nine years as an examiner in the food animal, equine, and anesthesia sections of the ECFVG’s Clinical Proficiency Exam given monthly at the Oquendo Center, until elected to the WVC Board of Directors in 2016. Dr. Wright graduated cum laude from the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1982. A native of Northeast Nevada’s "Buckaroo Country," he credits his mentor, the late Dr. Jack O Walther, for inspiring him to pursue a career as a veterinarian. He has been a WVC attendee since 1977 and met his wife, Vivian, in the conference Exhibit Hall when it was still at the Las Vegas Hilton. Other interests include shooting and cycling.
Darwin R. Yoder, DVM, MS
Dr. Darwin R. Yoder graduated from Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in 1975. Prior to attending CSU, Dr. Yoder received his Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science and Master’s degree in Veterinary Science from the University of Idaho. After graduation Dr. Yoder worked in private practice in Shoshone, Idaho for 1 year before establishing his own practice in Wendell, Idaho in 1976. Dr. Yoder left private practice in 1994 to accept a position as a Technical Services Veterinarian with Pfizer Animal Health. While at Pfizer, Dr. Yoder supervised numerous field trials during the introduction of several Pfizer Animal Health pharmaceutical and biological products. In addition, he authored or co-authored several peer reviewed and published journal articles. In January 2001 Dr. Yoder accepted the Directorship of the Veterinary Technology Program at Sul Ross State University at Alpine Texas. He remained in that position until retirement in January 2011. During the summer of 2001, Dr. Yoder was deployed by the USDA as a member of the Veterinary Taskforce to assist in Foot Mouth Disease Eradication in the United Kingdom. He has been a member of the Idaho Veterinary Medical Association (President 1991), a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association (Political Action Policy Board from 1991–1996) and a member of the Academy of Veterinary Consultants. Since retirement in 2011, Dr. Yoder has served on the Western Veterinary Conference Board of Directors and all elected offices from 2013-2020. Dr. Yoder’s family includes his daughter Danae and son-in-law Kelly Klimes, grandsons Riley & Nolan Klimes and his son Will and fiancé Sheena Phelps.
Morgan McArthur, DVM
Dr. Morgan McArthur graduated from Iowa State University with a DVM in 1983. He was a large animal practitioner in Idaho for thirteen years. An aversion to public speaking led him to join Toastmasters International to improve his communication skills. He overcompensated for his deficiency and transitioned from being a veterinarian who speaks to a speaker who is a veterinarian. Dr. McArthur managed commercial anthelmintic R&D for a New Zealand company for a decade. Ten years' work in one of the world’s parasite hotspots has made him passionate about progressive parasite management in grazing ruminants. Today Dr. McArthur lives in Wisconsin where he is a professional public speaker, works part-time for the University of Wisconsin Extension, creates fine art photography, and is a professional lettering artist. He is president of a charity art organization benefiting Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.
Heather Prendergast, RVT, CVPM, SPHR
Veterinary Technician Director
Heather Prendergast has spent over 25 years in the veterinary industry, with 20 years in small animal practice. She has taught several years for both veterinary technology and assistance programs and has authored the book “Front Office Management for the Veterinary Team,” now in its second edition. Heather is well known and lectures nationally and internationally, authoring several articles and participating in published roundtable discussions with the goal of increasing team communication and client compliance within the veterinary practice. Currently, Heather is an education development specialist for Patterson Veterinary University. Heather serves on several advisory boards, including the WVC Board of Directors, the Pet Nutrition Alliance, and the Fear Free Advisory Board. Heather also serves as co-chair for the NAVTA Veterinary Nurse Initiative and is the editor in chief of NAVTA Journal. In addition, Heather was named the 2014 Veterinary Technician of the Year and the WVC 2016 and 2017 Speaker of the Year. Most recently, Heather obtained her SHPR (Senior Professional Human Resources) certification.
Suzanne Russo, DVM, MS
Dr. Suzanne Russo is originally from Cleveland, Ohio and received her BS and DVM degrees from The Ohio State University and a Master's degree in human resource management from Golden Gate University. She was in small animal private clinical practice for 13 years after which she joined Pfizer Animal Health—initially as a clinical research investigator in the research and development division, then multiple roles on the commercial side in technical services, specialty hospital services, and academic and professional affairs. In 2012 she became director of the Corporate Accounts Veterinary Medical Liaison and joined the Zoetis team (formerly Pfizer Animal Health) working with the largest and most complex corporate veterinary practice groups. In 2016 she joined VCA as vice president of veterinary recruiting. She is currently an adjunct instructor with VCDavis in the Knights Landing One Health Clinic.
Travis McDermott, DVM
Dr. Travis McDermott was born in Galveston, Texas and grew up in a small rural town called La Grange, Texas. He obtained both his undergraduate and veterinary degrees from Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. After receiving his veterinary degree in 2006, Dr. McDermott moved to Las Vegas and has been practicing small animal medicine since that time. He is married to his lovely wife Nasim and has 2 two-legged children (Owen and Aiden) and 2 four-legged children (Cooper and Timon).
Thomas N. Tully, Jr., DVM, MS, DABVP (Avian), DECZM (Avian)
Dr. Thomas N. Tully, Jr. is a professor of zoological medicine in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences and also serves as the service chief of the Zoological Medicine Service, School of Veterinary Medicine, Louisiana State University. Dr. Tully’s academic degrees include BS (Animal Science); DVM and MS (Epidemiology and Community Health) all from LSU. He is also a diplomate for the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (Avian) and a diplomate for the European College Zoological Medicine (Avian). Following graduation from veterinary medical school, Dr. Tully practiced as an associate veterinarian in veterinary hospitals located in southeast Florida and Louisiana before becoming an instructor at the LSU – School of Veterinary Medicine where he participated in a Master of Science program in the Department of Epidemiology and Community Health. While an instructor and graduate student Dr. Tully would regularly perform relief veterinary duties at private veterinary clinics/hospitals in south Louisiana. Upon completion of his Master of Science degree, he was hired as an associate professor in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences at the LSU – School of Veterinary Medicine. He has remained on faculty at the LSU-SVM, attaining the rank of full professor.
Brian Darrow, DVM, BS
Dr. Brian Darrow received a BS in animal science in 1979 and a DVM from Iowa State University in 1983. His practice career began in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin and a year later, he moved to his hometown of Anamosa, Iowa where he founded the Anamosa Veterinary Clinic. The clinic has grown to become a thriving 6-doctor mixed practice in Northeast Iowa that attends to cattle and companion animals. Dr. Darrow was a track athlete at ISU. In 2005 Sharon Korir, the daughter of one of his Kenyan teammates died of rabies subsequent to a dog bite. Moved by her tragic story, Dr. Darrow founded Sharon’s Foundation through a remarkable series of insights and connections (sharonliveson.org). The foundation’s purpose is to provide rabies control in Kenya by vaccinating animals and educating the Kenyan people about the disease. To date, the organization has vaccinated over 400,000 animals and education outreach is ongoing.
Shawn T. Tsuda, MD, FACS
Human Medical Director
Shawn Tsuda, MD, FACS, is a minimally invasive and bariatric surgeon in Las Vegas, Nevada. Dr. Tsuda graduated from the John A. Burns School of Medicine at the University of Hawaii and completed his residency in general surgery at the University of Nevada. Following a fellowship in laparoscopic and bariatric surgery at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School, he returned to Nevada as associate professor of surgery at the University of Nevada School of Medicine for ten years and director of the Surgical Skills Center. Dr. Tsuda was one of the first in his region to perform fully robotic bariatric, hiatal, inguinal, ventral, and incisional hernia repairs. He recently published the Textbook of Robotic-Assisted Surgery.
Megan Skeffington, DVM
Dr. Megan Skeffington is a Professional Services Veterinarian for IDEXX, Laboratories. For almost 15 years she practiced as an associate veterinarian for both private and corporate hospitals, as well as a Chief is Staff. She loves all aspects of veterinary medicine and has a special interest in diagnostics, soft tissue surgery, and endocrinology. She is very passionate about the human-animal bond and making sure that pets are healthy, happy members of the family for as long as possible. Dr. Skeffington has worked in several capacities of the veterinary profession, including mentoring new veterinary graduates, developing critical skills and has been a speaker and advocate for veterinary communication. She has spoken at WVC Annual Meeting and Recent Graduate Symposium and has worked to develop the new Clinical Skills Training continuing education course at WVC.Dr. Skeffington was born and raised in Eastern Iowa where her veterinary career started at the age of 11, riding along on farm calls and working in the kennels. She attended Iowa State University, where she obtained her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine in 2006. She and her husband moved from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Upstate New York in 2010, where they enjoy traveling, hiking and camping with their two Brittany Spaniels.
Miguel Ortiz, DVM
Dr. Miguel Ortiz was born and raised in Guatemala City, Guatemala before moving to the United States. He received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine. Currently, he serves as Medical Director at Munhall Veterinary Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Areas of professional interest include Preventive Medicine, Chronic Disease Management, Palliative Care, Behavior and Dermatology. When not taking care of patients, Dr. Ortiz likes to spend time with his family and friends. He enjoys traveling, reading adventure books, and is in training to complete a full-distance IronMan Triathlon.