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Jennifer Blair, DVM, CVA, CVFT

Dr. Jennifer Blair began working at St Francis in December 1999 as a Veterinary Assistant. After receiving her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree from the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine in May 2002, she was hired as an Associate Veterinarian and went on to purchase the practice in December 2006. In the past three years, she is proud to have expanded St Francis’ services to include Integrative Services and Hospice & Palliative Care Services.

Jennifer’s professional interests include geriatrics, Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM), hospice/palliative care, and pain management, as well as internal medicine, preventative care, and cardiology. She is a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist (CVA) and a Certified Veterinary Food Therapist (CVFT). She is continuing her studies at the Chi Institute of Chinese Medicine in Reddick FL to earn her Certified Veterinary Chinese Herbalist (CVCH) and Certified Veterinary Tui-Na Practitioner (CVTP) certifications.

She is a member of the International Association of Animal Hospice and Palliative Care (IAAHPC), International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management (IVAPM), American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture (AAVA), Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement (APLB), Association of Avian Veterinarians (AAV), Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians (AEMV), Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association (MVMA), and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). She is currently working towards her Certified Veterinary Pain Practitioner (CVPP) certification through the IVAPM.

She shares her home with her cats, Neve, Whitney, and Raven. In her spare time, Jennifer enjoys traveling, dancing, music, reading, writing, and spending time with family and friends.

Why do you love being a veterinarian?
As a veterinarian, I get to spend my days doing work that I love – caring for animals and building relationships with the humans that love them. As a general practitioner, I find great joy in caring for an animal throughout his or her life, from the eight-week puppy or kitten visit to the time we say goodbye as they cross the Rainbow Bridge. As a specialist, I am honored to provide additional therapies such as acupuncture or herbal therapy to help alleviate pain or anxiety or provide palliative care for patients with terminal conditions. I love being a veterinarian because each day I get to go to work and make a difference in someone’s life.

Why do you love working at St. Francis Animal Hospital?
I love working at St Francis because we have an exceptional team of veterinarians, technicians, and assistants who work together to provide the very best care for our patients and our clients. Everyone is always striving to learn more and to be on the cutting edge of patient care, allowing us to offer unique services such as massage therapy, acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine, laser therapy, behavioral training, and hospice/palliative care. Every day, I have the honor to work with dedicated, knowledgeable, caring and compassionate individuals who share my goal of providing excellent veterinary care to the pets in our community --- it just doesn’t get any better than that!

Stefan Knep, DVM

Dr. Stefan Knep received his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree from both the Free University in Berlin in Germany in 1990 and the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine in 1993. He spent twelve years at Long Lake Veterinary Clinic in Long Lake and joined the staff of St. Francis Animal Hospital in April of 2005. In 2018, he accepted the position of Director of Equipment & Technology and now plays a key role in the management of the practice.

Stefan’s professional interests include small animal internal medicine, soft tissue surgery, and canine and feline dentistry. Stefan is a member of the Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association (MVMA), American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), and the Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians (AEMV).

He lives with his wife, Heidi; three children, Maren, David, and Evan; his Dachshund, Licorice, and his "Kentucky Brown" mutt, Arlie, in the Longfellow neighborhood of Minneapolis. In his free time, he is active in the youth soccer community and loves to ride his motorcycle. Dr. Knep can also provide guidance to those trying to raise their dog or cat bilingually—German and English. It is never too late to give your pet a decent education!

Why do you love being a veterinarian?
As veterinarians, we are fortunate to be able to combine our passion for animals with the scientific curiosity and knowledge that allows us to help these family members and improve their lives.

Why do you love working at St. Francis Animal Hospital?
Working at St. Francis Animal Hospital provides the unique opportunity to work with a wonderful team of doctors and a dedicated staff. At the same time, we are able to serve the local pet (and owner) community by delivering cutting edge medical and surgical care.

Patricia Novak, DVM

Dr. Patricia Novak received her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree from the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine in 1997. She worked at Life Care Animal Hospital in St Paul for over 12 years before joining St. Francis Animal Hospital in 2009. In 2018, she completed her certification through the International Association of Hospice & Palliative Care to become one of the first veterinarians certified in Hospice & Palliative Care.

Patti’s professional interests include hospice care, palliative care and behavior. She is a member of the International Association of Animal Hospice and Palliative Care (IAAHPC), Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association (MVMA), American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP), and the Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians (AEMV).

She shares her home with her husband, Dr. Ralph Weichselbaum, and two children, Kipling and Anton. They participate in the foreign exchange program by hosting international high school students during the school year. The family shares their home with 3 cats, Luna, Silver, and Conan; 1 guinea pig, Rue; and 1 cockatiel, Lucy. Dr. Novak volunteers at her children’s schools, teaches Sunday school, and is on the Church Council at the ELCA Lutheran Church. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, visiting Duluth, reading, swimming in the ocean, and traveling.

Why do you love being a veterinarian?
I always knew I wanted to become a veterinarian. I love the challenging aspect of solving both medical and behavioral problems. I especially enjoy talking with clients to learn the valuable information needed to help solve their pet’s problem. In addition, helping families build stronger bonds with their pets is such a joy and so rewarding for me. Veterinary medicine allows me to develop and utilize various skills -- performing surgery and dentistry, providing medical treatments, educating clients, and interacting with animals are only a portion of what we accomplish each day.

Why do you love working at St. Francis Animal Hospital?
I love working at St Francis because I get to work with such an amazing team. Everyone shows an abundance of compassion for our patients, our clients, and each other. In addition, St Francis feels like a neighborhood practice. I love getting to know our clients and their families and love to be able to use my skills to help them in their time of need.

While I enjoy the happy times, I am thankful when I am there to support and help families during the difficult times as well. Helping pets in their senior years or when their physical abilities decline can be a challenge, but there are many things that we can do to improve their quality of life during this stage. Saying goodbye to our pets is also difficult, but I enjoy helping our pet owners navigate these tough moments as well. It has been quite fulfilling to become certified in Hospice & Palliative Care and I am extremely excited to launch these services at St Francis.

Jessica Lewis, DVM

Dr. Jessica Lewis joined St. Francis Animal Hospital in the spring of 2011 as a veterinary assistant while she was obtaining her Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Science. She was promoted to a veterinary technician in 2013 and continued to work at St Francis part-time while earning her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) at the University of Minnesota. She completed a one-month externship at St Francis during her clinical rotations and was elated to officially join the team as a veterinarian in May 2018.

Jessica’s professional interests include small animal internal medicine, preventative care, nutrition, and anesthesia/pain management. She has completed the Fear Free Certification program and strives to reduce fear, anxiety, and stress related to veterinary visits.

Jessica is a member of the Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association (MVMA), American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians (AEMV), and Association of Avian Veterinarians (AAV).

In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, being outdoors, practicing yoga, and throwing the frisbee for her Australian Shepherd, Tig.

Why do you love being a veterinarian?
To say that I love being a veterinarian is an understatement. It is such a rewarding career, and I feel so fortunate to be part of this profession. I cannot think of anything more fulfilling than helping animals and the people who love them.

Beyond the difference that you can make in the lives of people and their pets, this career challenges you to grow and learn with each and every patient that you see. Even if you see the same disease multiple times in one day, every patient is an individual and each case is entirely different. There is certainly never a dull moment as a veterinarian!

Why do you love working at St. Francis Animal Hospital?
I am so grateful to have found St Francis many years ago when I was looking to gain experience in the field prior to applying for veterinary school. I quickly fell in love with the practice’s values and the close bonds formed with owners and their pets. With kindness and compassion, the team at St. Francis provides a level of care that is truly hard to find elsewhere. From the fellow doctors who have mentored me every step of the way, to our incredible support staff who make my job so much easier, I am unbelievably honored to be a part of this team.

 

Megan Schommer, DVM

Dr. Megan Schommer is a 2010 graduate of the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. After graduation, Megan completed her internship in exotic companion animal medicine, general practice, emergency medicine, and zoo medicine at Valley Animal Hospital in Tucson, Arizona. Following her internship, she returned home to Minnesota and became an associate veterinarian at Lake Harriet Veterinary in April 2011. She will join St. Francis Animal Hospital in March 2020.

Megan’s professional interests include general surgery, exotic companion mammal medicine and surgery (especially rabbits!), dentistry, and critical care. She is a member of the Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association (MVMA), American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), and the Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians (AEMV). 

Megan lives in Minneapolis with her husband; two young daughters; and a small menagerie including Winnie the corgi; Taiko the cat; Daffodil the rabbit; Tormund the chinchilla; and Alder, Nokomis, and Caribou, the pampered urban backyard chickens. Outside of the clinic, Megan enjoys camping in the Boundary Waters, running, baking, and playing the oboe with the City of Lakes Community Band. Megan is also active in the Student Initiative for Reservation Veterinary Services, providing volunteer surgical training to veterinary students at the White Earth Reservation in northern Minnesota.

Why do you love being a veterinarian?
My family remembers that I declared at the age of three that I wanted to be an “animal doctor” and growing up, I put a lot of energy into raising rabbits, training our dogs, and building ever-larger aquariums. After exploring other avenues such as public health, zoonotic disease research, and field research on small mammals, I ultimately came back to veterinary medicine as the best combination of my love for animals, biology, ecology, and medicine. I love observing and improving the relationship between people and their pets, as well as helping to promote animal and public health on a larger scale through preventative medicine. Every day in clinical practice is different and I embrace the challenges that come along which such variety.

Why do you love working at St. Francis Animal Hospital?
St Francis Animal Hospital has a longstanding reputation for excellent client and patient care, high quality medicine, and community engagement. I am excited to join a team that emphasizes compassionate patient care, encompassing everything patients need from their first puppy or kitten visits through their geriatric years. St Francis also has a decades-long history of offering specialized care for exotic companion mammals, and I am eager to continue to provide these unique species with the individualized medical expertise that they require.