Elizabeth J.DVM, CCRT
Dr. Olson earned her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Florida, College of Veterinary Medicine in 2002. She received several honors during her education there including the Toby Fastiggi Award for Excellence in Patient Care and the Kaytee Avian and Special Species Excellence Award for accomplishments in avian research, medicine and surgery. Dr Olson is an active UF CVM alum, representing the Class of 2002 on the Alumni Council and serving on the Admissions Committee.
She is a graduate of Rollins College in Winter Park and received her Bachelor of Arts degree with honors in Environmental Studies in 1985. Dr Olson spent 11 years working in Central Florida as an Aquatic Biologist for various government agencies prior to beginning her journey into veterinary medicine.
Dr. Olson has worked as a veterinarian in the Central Florida area since graduating in 2002. Her career path has taken her from full-time positions at two local clinics to a variety of clinics seen as a traveling veterinarian. All these experiences have culminated in the opening of Varsity Veterinary Center. While the bulk of her experience is with typical companion animals like cats and dogs, Dr. Olson has seen many unusual patients as well. She has worked extensively with a variety of exotic species including many varieties of birds; a large variety of reptiles like iguanas, turtles and snakes; small mammals such as rabbits, ferrets and guinea pigs and amphibian and aquatic pets as well. As a carryover from her days as a biologist, Dr Olson takes a special interests in the wildlife that share our Central Florida habitat. She has worked with a variety of these creatures including birds of prey such as Bald Eagles and various hawks, migrating birds such as Sand Hill Cranes and Florida Gopher Tortoises.
Additionally, Dr. Olson is a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist (CCRT). Her course work, exams, and case studies were done through the Canine Rehabilitation Institute. This special training enables Dr. Olson to better diagnose and treat a variety of issues that range from post-surgical complications to arthritis and neurological diseases. Many aspects of her training allow her to give owners the ability to help their pets at home thus improving overall treatments, outcomes, and quality of life!
Dr. Olson's non-human companions include: Maybelline, a little terrier cross; Tater, a lab cross; Amelia the Great Explorer (a really inquisitive cat!!); I'Lean to the left, a three legged cat; Eli, a Blue and Gold McCaw; Emily, a physically challenged Quaker Parrot, Flapjack, a slightly irregular Sulcata Tortoise and two Florida box turtles, Geronimo and The Other One.
When Dr. Olson is not working or caring for her menagerie, she enjoys being outside, hopefully involved in some water activity, reading a huge variety of novels, cooking, gardening, photography, family outings, and anything involving the Gator Nation!
Kathy is our hospital manager. She recently 'officially' joined the Varsity team but is very familiar with the workings of our hospital as she has been behind the scenes since our opening in 2010.
Leah joined our team in July 2015. She is originally from Cleveland, Ohio and has been working in the veterinary field since 1997. Starting as a kennel technician in Manassas, Virginia she was quickly promoted to Veterinary Technician Assistant and learned how to care for pets. Given the option to continue as a technician or transfer to the reception area, Leah moved to the receptionist position. She discovered that for her, working closely with the clients was the most rewarding way of helping pets. After attending Seminole State College to obtain certification in human medical billing and coding, Leah couldn't imagine working without animals so she stayed in veterinary medicine. Leah loves spending time with her teenage son They frequent Walt Disney World and the Orlando Science Center together. When there is any spare time, Leah enjoys writing and spending quality time her her dog 'Lily' and her cat 'Gogo'.
Sarah has been in the veterinary field since 2016, but her interest and love for animals has stemmed way back to when she was a child. She's volunteered in animal shelters, worked with the animals at a pet supply store, and has even worked as a veterinary nurse. She has special interests in animal behavior and learning about exotic animals. For fun, she enjoys painting animals and landscapes, reading, and anything related to the beach. Sarah shares her home with 4 dogs-Apollo, Echo, Nova, and Khaleesi, 4 cats- Sassy, Violet, Razy and Gar and also has saltwater fish tanks!
Heather,B.S., CVTLead Veterinary Nurse
Originally from the Detroit area, Heather received a Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Biology from the University of Michigan. After college she worked as a field biologist and zookeeper at a bat conservation organization. In August of 2018 she received her CVT from St. Petersburg College. Since 1998, she has worked in many different areas as a veterinary technician from zoo medicine to critical care. Heather has a special interest in emergency & critical care and wildlife medicine. In 2005, she founded City Bats Conservancy, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the rehabilitation and conservation of Florida's bats and Gopher tortoises. As a licensed Florida Wildlife rehabilitator there is little free time ! She enjoys snuggling with her cats : Squee, Snarf and Grim and hiking with her chiweenie, Cricket.
Makayla has been in the animal field since 2014. She's worked in the veterinary field since 2017 where she started as a kennel tech and worked her way up to veterinary technician. Her special interests in veterinary medicine include surgery and dentistry. She plans to go to St. Petersburg college to earn her CVT in veterinary technology. In her spare time, Makayla enjoys video games, theme parks, boating, snorkeling and movies on Netflix. Makayla shares her home with two cats: Willow and Leyla and two dogs: a Siberian Husky named Laika and a Rottweiler named Achilles.
Ashley, ASVeterinary Technician
Ashley has been in the veterinary field since 2014 and has a broad range of experience working in small animal practice. She's a graduate of both Valencia College and the veterinary technology program at St. Petersburg College and will be taking her CVT exam in the near future. Ashley has a particular interest in exotic and zoo animal veterinary medicine, but she also loves dentistry, anesthesia, and microbiology. Ashley loves the outdoor life- from playing soccer to hiking to photography and traveling. She also loves just hanging out with her friends and family. Ashley's fur family includes Toby, a lovable Maltese mix that she's had since he was 6 weeks old, and a kitty named Toothless, who was found in a box on the side of the road. He earned his name after Toothless from 'How to Train Your Dragon' because of his beautiful pitch black coat.
Jenni,LVT, CVT, AA, BAS (VT)Senior Veterinary Nurse
Jenni has been a Licensed Veterinary Technician since 1988 and received her license from Michigan State University. In 2012, she received a Bachelor's of Applied Science in Veterinary Technology from St. Petersburg College, where Dr. Olson was her mentor for her senior project. Jenni has worked for Sedgwick County Zoo, the National Aquarium in Baltimore, and Disney's Animal Kingdom. She has also worked in private practice and in internal medicine in a specialty practice here in central Florida. Her special veterinary interests include avian and reptilian hematology and reptile medicine. In her spare time, Jenni likes spending time with her family camping. Her non-human family includes two dogs, Chloe and Olaf, a cat named Princess Kitty, a yellow-naped Amazon named Uma, and a blue-tongued Skink named Moey.