sierra veterinary specialists  
Our Staff
You can depend on the staff at Sierra Veterinary Specialists. Each member of our highly-skilled team is committed to working closely with our referring veterinary partners and their patients.

Meet Our Doctors


Krista M. Cioffi, DVM

Dr.Krista Cioffi was born and raised in Cupertino, Calif.  As part of a family of animal lovers, it was not difficult to pursue her passion of caring for animals. After high school in Palo Alto, Calif., Dr. Cioffi headed to college at The University of California, San Diego where she graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelors of Science in Animal Physiology and Neuroscience. In 2010, she attended Tufts’ Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine and obtained her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and a Masters in Public Health degrees. 

After veterinary school, Dr. Cioffi matched for a Small Animal Rotating Internship at the University of Georgia followed by a Small Animal Surgical Residency at the University of Pennsylvania.  Upon completion ofher residency, Dr. Cioffi moved back to the west coast to be closer to her family, who are now centered in the greater Reno area.  She will sit for the American College of Veterinary Surgeons Board Exam in February, 2015.

As a new member to the SVS team, Dr. Cioffi looks forward to bringing advanced minimally invasive surgery to the area’s surgical options.  She also greatly enjoys orthopedic, neurologic and emergency surgeries. 

In her spare time, Krista is an avid triathlete, enjoys the scenic hikes in the area (especially around Lake Tahoe), continues to paint, and likes to relax with her dog, Finn, and two cats, Mr. Jack and Sprout. She hopes to enjoy the snow season when it arrives!


Davyd Pelsue, DVM, MS, CCRT, DACVS (Small Animal) 

Dr. Davyd Pelsue grew up in Maine and Vermont, attending the University of Vermont and graduating as a Vermont Scholar.  He attended veterinary school at Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine in Ames, Iowa graduating in 1997.  While in veterinary school he received a Merck Scholarship to study the ability of nutritional supplements to promote cartilage growth for the treatment of osteoarthritis in dogs.  He began his surgical training with a small animal internship at Colorado State University and continued at CSU in a three-year small animal surgical residency program.  During his residency, Dr. Pelsue pursued a Masters of Science Degree in clinical sciences with research emphasis on sternal bone healing following sternotomy and changes in gastric blood flow in an experimental model of gastric dilatation-volvulus.  He has presented these findings both in literature and national seminars.  Dr. Pelsue is board certified in small animal surgery.  He enjoys all aspects of surgery from preoperative diagnostics through postoperative care and rehabilitation.  His primary clinical interests are in orthopaedic surgery, arthroscopy, and neurosurgery.   

Regina Schroeder, DVM, DACVS-SA

Dr. Regina Schroeder was born near Kansas City, Missouri and lived in southern Missouri for many years until her family moved to central Iowa.  She lived on a small farm and helped raise chickens, ducks, geese, cattle, and horses.  She graduated high school in 1996 and started her undergraduate studies at Iowa State University where she was accepted into the College of Veterinary Medicine in 1999.  While in veterinary school she received a Merck Scholarship to study emerging strains of e-coli disease in pigs.  She graduated from Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2003 following which she completed a rotating internship at Mission MedVet, a 24-hour emergency and specialty referral hospital in Mission, Kansas.  This was followed by a surgical internship at Veterinary Specialists of Nevada in Reno.  After completing her surgical internship she moved farther west to teach a small animal elective surgery course for the senior veterinary students at the University of California at Davis.  One year later she returned to Veterinary Specialists of Nevada to complete a surgical residency program.  She was asked to stay on with VSN as an associate surgeon following completion of her residency program in June 2009.  She has a special interest in surgical oncology, neurosurgery, and minimally invasive surgical techniques including laparoscopy and thoracoscopy. 

When she is not spending time in the operating room she enjoys getting outdoors for camping, hiking, or swimming with her husband, Davis, and their three dogs Jake, Buddy, and Chaps.  Since moving to Reno she has developed a love of skiing and can often be found at Mt. Rose ski resort enjoying the winter weather.  She is also an avid world traveler.

Gary Ailes, DVM

Dr. Gary Ailes is the co-owner of Sierra Veterinary Specialists.  Dr. Ailes attended the University of Nebraska before being accepted into the Veterinary School at Colorado State University.  He received both his Bachelors of Science and a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Colorado State University.  Dr. Ailes married Ruth Brown in 1974.  Together they have three grown children and have been blessed with 5 granddaughters.

Internal Medicine

Coretta Cosby Patterson, DVM, DACVIM-SA

Dr. Coretta Patterson was born and raised in Chicago Illinois.  She attended the University of Illinois in Urbana Champaign for both undergraduate and veterinary school. She is a 1995 graduate of the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine.  Upon graduation from veterinary school,  she completed a small animal rotating internship at Michigan State University.  She spent 2 years in small animal general practice in Michigan and Georgia prior to becoming the Outpatient Clinician at the veterinary school at the University of Georgia's College of Veterinary Medicine for 2 years.  In 2000 she began a small animal internal medicine residency at Michigan State University and stayed there  until 2014.  She is a diplomat of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine.  She enjoys internal medicine because of the wide variety of cases encountered on any given day.  When not seeing internal medicine cases, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two children and three pets.  She loves to travel as much as time will allow and is very excited to live in the West.  


John Koehm, DVM, FAVD

Dr. John Koehm graduated from the University of Illinois in 1972. Before joining Sierra Veterinary Specialists, he had been serving and caring for animals as the owner of a local veterinary hospital since 1977.
His continuous and growing interest in veterinary dentistry has taken him to a new level of expertise and patient care. Since the early 1990s Dr. Koehm has received hundreds of hours of continuing education credits guided by his focus on veterinary dentistry. This included studying with both veterinary and human dentists. In January 2002, he began limiting his professional activities to the practice of veterinary dentistry in such fields as periodontics, oral surgery, endodontics, orthodontics, exodontics, and prosthodontics.
After hours Dr. Koehm is an avid outdoorsman. He enjoys hiking, backpacking, scuba
diving, mountain biking, flying hang gliders, and skiing. His wilderness companions are
two llamas, Fremont and Carson, and Dozer, his English Setter.
Dr. Koehm has completed his credentials and examination requirements to become a
Fellow of the Academy of Veterinary Dentistry. He is also the first Fellow in the state of Nevada and 1 of 86 in the world.  


Dawn Gleason, DVM, CCRP

Dawn received her BS from the University of Wyoming with a dual major degree in Zoology/Physiology and Russian. After working for Anderson Consulting and as a Park Ranger for the National Park Service, Dawn graduated from the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences at Colorado State University.  She worked at one of the busiest practices in Las Vegas and has also enjoyed working at veterinary hospitals in Maryland and North Carolina.  Through the University of Tennessee, Dr. Gleason obtained her Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner certification and now enjoys working at SVS leading the rehabilitation program.

Dr. Gleason loves living in Nevada and especially enjoys watching her kids play sports and enjoy the outdoors.  Dawn loves taking the entire family, including her dog Sasha on hikes around Lake Tahoe.  She enjoys working with geriatric animals, post-operative patients and everything in between to help improve their quality of life.

Surgical Interns

Stuart Sherburne, DVM

Dr. Sherburne received his B.S. from the University of Vermont.  He then went on to complete a Master’s Degree in Wildlife Biology at Utah State University, conducting research in Yellowstone National Park.  He received his DVM from Tufts University in 1996.  Over the course of his career, he has practiced both large and small animal medicine and surgery, owned and managed a mixed animal practice, provided veterinary services and medical oversight for various university, state and federal wildlife agencies.  Dr Sherburne is happy to join the SVS team as he pursues a specialty career in small animal surgery.  He and his wife Katie have two grown children.

Roxanne Laurencic DVM

Dr. Laurencic grew up in Adelaide, Australia and graduated from the University of Melbourne with a Bachelor of Veterinary Science.  She then completed a one year rotating internship at Veterinary Specialists of Connecticut and is currently doing a surgical internship at Sierra Veterinary Specialists.  Dr. Laurencic enjoys all aspects of surgery, especially orthopedic and oncologic surgery.  Outside of work she enjoys crossfit, skiing and spending time with her Boxer, Boss, and cat, Sally.


Meet Our Technicians 


Creacy Box Bearfield, BS, LVT, Lead Technician and Nursing Supervisor

Creacy is a native of Fairhope, Alabama.  She moved to Colorado in 1998 to attend Colorado Mountain College to obtain her degree in veterinary technology.  She graduated in 2000 with her Associate of Applied Science in Veterinary Technology and with an Associate of Science in 2001.   Creacy then moved to Reno to finish her Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry at the University of Nevada.  She has been a licensed veterinary technician for 14 years.  Her professional interests include anesthesia, soft tissue, neurologic and orthopedic surgeries in addition to pain management, triage and critical care.  

Nancy Smith, LVT, VTS, Dentistry

Nancy has been in the veterinary field for over 20 years.  She is a licensed technician with a specialty in small animal dentistry.  At SVS, her main focus is overnight patient recovery and care for hospitalized and surgical cases.  At home she spends time with her dog, Bubba, her 9 cats, various birds and her horse, Lillian.  Her extended family consists of her only daughter, Angela, son in law, Rick and 3 granddaughters, Brianna, Haley and Taylor.

Julie McMahon, LVT, VTS, Dentistry

In 2002 Julie received her Veterinary Technician license after completing the technician program at the Community College of Southern Nevada.  Her long history in the veterinary field began in 1987 and continues today. Julie started working with Dr Koehm in 2002 and is a very valuable part of the dental team. She has taken another giant step on her ladder of success.  Julie has worked in our Oral Health Department as our primary dental technician since February 2002.  Since then she has gained extensive knowledge and experience in endodontics, periodontics, orthodontics, restorative dentistry, and oral surgery.  Julie recently reached the pinnacle of her chosen field, becoming a member of the Academy of Veterinary Dental Technicians.  After two years of painstaking study, credentialing, and rigorous examination, Julie was rewarded with membership in this elite group of only 47 members nationwide.  Julie enjoys being with her family, fishing, and camping. 

Miranda Tortorici, LVT Surgical Technician

Miranda made it to Nevada by way of Chicago in 2003.  What started out as pre-vet studies turned into Miranda obtaining her license as an LVT.  She is a highly motivated individual that always has a thirst for knowledge.  Her future goals are anesthetic and surgical certification.  Miranda's can-do attitude, compassion and off the wall humor make her one of the many assets at SVS.  She has 3 cats and a dog, Nero, that she spends her free time with outside of work.


Nancy Elderkin LVT, Surgical Technician

Nancy has been a Licensed Veterinary Technician for the better part of 14 years, working at small animal general practice, to emergency to specialty clinics. She had obtained her license in Las Vegas and moved to the Reno area in the last four years. She has two dogs, 15-year-old Duke and 2-year-old Buddy. In her spare time, Nancy enjoys spending time with her husband and two children, coaching her sons’ baseball team and getting involved with youth football. She also loves outdoor activities with the whole family, like going to the river or the lake.


Laura Campbell LVT, Animal Rehab Technician

Laura  is our licensed rehabilitation technician. She was raised in Carson City, where she currently lives with her husband Sean and their two golden retrievers Crush and Murphy. She will be starting school in March of 2014 to become specialized in small animal rehabilitation. She enjoys taking their dogs out and reading on her free time.

Michelle Bolling LVT, Surgical Technician

Michelle moved to the Reno/Tahoe area from Colorado where she was a certified veterinary technician.  Her primary experience has been in emergency and critical care nursing.  She joined the SVS team June of 2013 and has become an important part of our surgical and patient care team.  When she is not helping nurse your pet to good health, Michelle is exploring the outdoors.  She shares her home with Pluto, her Siamese kitty and Rita, her hound dog. 

Sarah Takahashi LVT, Surgical Technician

Sarah received her applied science in veterinary technology the Bay Area of California and worked as a RVT for several years before moving to Nevada.  She recently became licensed in Nevada and is excited to be a part of an amazing team at SVS.  In her free time she enjoys spending time outdoors with her dog, horses and of course her husband!


Sara Lindsay LVT

Sara joined the SVS team in October 2013.  Raised in Carson City, she currently resides with her family.  Sara moved to Phoenix, AZ to attend college where she was a student ambassador and was accepted into the National Technical Honor Society.  She graduated in June 2012 and moved back to Carson City.  She hopes to move to Reno soon with her cat, Felix.  Eventually she would like to also get a puppy.  Sara enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, singing, hiking, swimming and watching movies. 




Shannon Bow LVT

Shannon grew up in Reno where she was involved in 4-H (horses, livestock, and clothing) for many years and graduated from UNR with a BS in Animal Science in 1989. After that she spent almost three years in Kansas at DeKalb Swine Breeders working in farrowing, breeding and finishing. The next several years were spent being a mom, homeschooling her four children, leading 4-H clubs, and participating in numerous other volunteer activities. She started working at SVS in the fall of 2011 and a recently obtained her LVT. Shannon has been married to her husband, Dan, since 1987. She is the proud grandma of two and mother of four grown children, three daughters-in-law, and a son-in-law. Her interests outside of work include sewing, reading, outdoor activities, spending time with family, and church.

Annie Calamusa LVT

Annie joined the SVS team after completing the veterinary technician program at TMCC.    She first came to our practice for an externship prior, to completing the program.  She has worked in the field as an assistant for many years prior realizing that there was great reward in helping our little (and big) guys. Annie loves being around animals and the outdoors.  She considers herself an outgoing and adventurous person that is willing to try anything at least once.  Her future goals include furthering her education as an LVT with the SVS team. 

 Josh Mull, VTIT

Josh graduated from UNR in may 2011 with a BA in animal science.  He then moved to Pullman, WA to complete his post BA in Wildlife Ecology.  Josh has been in the veterinary field with an assortment of different species since 2006.  His future plans include attending veterinary school and specializing in radiology.  In his spare time Josh enjoys a verity of outdoor activities including camping, fishing, hunting and backpacking.  He also enjoys spending time with his family, friends and his German Shorthair Pointer, Autumn. 


Meet Our Technician Assistants

Crystal Aichele, Technician Assistant

Crystal has been with the SVS team since merger in 2010 and has been with the surgery practice for 11 years. She enjoys the variety the veterinary profession allows both educational opportunities and cases seen. She also works with a great team that provides high-quality veterinary surgical care. Crystals interests are specialized patient care, assisting in surgical procedures, emergency procedures, laboratory diagnostics, radiology and client communications. She is an avid animal lover and takes pride in her job. She will be attending TMCC in the spring.   Crystal’s family includes a son and a daughter as well as a loveable Chihuahua Kiarah. When she isn't working she is most likely found spending time with her children, family and friends.


Megan Vaughan, Technician Assistant

Megan has been working in the veterinary field for 5 years.  She started out as an assistant/caregiver at a no-kill shelter and worked there for 3 years.  She then worked in the kennel at a veterinary hospital in Carson City for 2 years.  Megan has been with SVS for 1 1/2 years.  She has 1 cat named Paul and her hobbies are hiking, swimming, riding bikes and spending time with her friends and family.

Lukas Fuentes, Technician Assistant

There once was a man from Nantucket,
although Luke has never heard of it.
He came from Carson City, and fell in love with a Pittie. 
Now he has 5 dogs and three cats,
but absolutely no rats. 
He worked as a groomer and trainer,
then worked for an animal shelter, which was a no-brainer. 
He rescued pets all day and night,
for five years he'd fought the good fight.  
He belonged with animals, that much is true, which is why he sports SVS grey and blue. 
He loves chocolate and sleeping and singing in the OR's,
He's the happiest with a big Hershey bar. 
And only time will tell where his story will go
He belongs with the animals and that he does know.
All shapes and all sized he doesn't much care.
For the rest of his life, he'll be covered in dog hair.

Alexandra Ramthun, Animal Rehab Assistant 

Alex is our Rehab assistant who has been with us for a year now. She always knew she would be working with animals and absolutely loves it. One day she would like to pursue a career in Canine Physical Therapy. For fun Alex likes to go camping and loves going to the movies. 

Sarah Higginbotham, Technician Assistant

Sarah has been on our Sierra Veterinary Specialists since April 2013.  She is married to "Cute" Brian and they have two dogs, Jagermeister and Brodix, and a horse named Tuey. Sarah says working with animals has always been a passion of hers.  Sarah enjoys spending time with her husband working on hot rods, welding, riding her horse, dancing and taking her dogs for hikes and swims.


Angela Murray, Technician Assistant

Angie was born in Michigan but grew up in Las Vegas, NV.  She went to PIMA after high school to obtain her veterinary assistant certification and has been working in the field ever since.  Angie recently relocated to Reno and joined the SVS team.  She enjoys relaxing with her cat Dippy while watching Netflix. 

Michelle Heath, Technician Assistant

Michelle was born and raised 40 miles north of Reno where she grew up on a working ranch and participated in rodeo events. Michelle started working in the veterinary field in 1998 and is currently pursuing her B.S. in biology.  Michelle currently lives in Reno with her husband and two cats Anubis and Osiris.  In her spare time Michelle, enjoys camping, hiking and travelling. 


Laurel Haley, Technician Assistant

Laurel is currently attending school at TMCC with plans on transferring to UNR to complete the veterinary science program. After that, she hopes to move on to vet school. Laurel has three dogs: Brody (Golden Retriever), Bentley (Great Pyrenees), and Ruger(Australian Shepard, lab, and pit bull mix). She loves anything outdoors including; hiking, camping, hunting and fishing.



Meet Our Customer Service Representatives

Danelle Tackett, Referral Coordinator

Danelle has been with Sierra Veterinary Specialists since April 2008.   She is a liaison for our referring veterinarians, their clients and our practice.   She is enjoys her daily interaction with the patients and their owners.   Married in 2009, she shares 3 daughters with her husband Troy, a dachshund named Izzy and their newest addition, a rescue dog named Dodger.  She has a special interest in American Sign Language and enjoys being surrounded by her family and friends.

Kayleen Taylor, Customer Service Representative 

Kayleen was born and raised in Susanville, CA and recently relocated to Reno.  After obtaining her BA from San Diego State University, Kayleen worked for the local newspaper in Susanville for 3 years.   She then came to Reno and became a part of the SVS team in 2012.  Kayleen looks forward to a future with the company and becoming a native or the Reno area. 

Denise Call, Customer Service Representative 

Denise previously worked in human medicine for more than eight years and recently became interested in animal medicine. She has been with the SVS team since December 2012. She has been married for 16 years to her wonderful husband Casey and has two beautiful girls named Shaylynn and Brianna. They have two cats named Meow Meows and Isabella. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, roller skating with her girls and working on stained glass.

Kristi Couturier, Customer Service Representative 


Kristi has been an SVS team member since August 2013. She recently relocated to Reno from Appleton WI. She has a beautiful daughter named Feliciti and has been married to her husband Kenny for 12 years. Together they have a Basset hound named Dayzee that they rescued several years ago. Kristi has a very vivacious and kind hearted personality. She loves animals and would like to rescue more animals in the future.

Samantha Jones, Customer Service Representative 

Samantha was born and raised in Reno, Nevada.   She currently lives with her boyfriend Cody and Jack, a Papillion they rescued from the Humane Society. Samantha previously worked at chiropractic clinic. In her spare time, she enjoys camping, hiking, family BBQ's, baseball and going to UNR Football games. 






Meet Our Leadership Team

Stephanie Ehlen, Hospital Director

Stephanie was born in Seattle, WA and has been a resident of northern Nevada for more than 30 years.  Stephanie graduated from Purdue University in W. Lafayette, IN with a degree in Veterinary Practice Management in February 2008.  She and her husband, Aaron, have 4 kids Ashlee, Tyler, Katarra and Lilith, 2 dogs, 2 cats, 2 goldfish and a frog.  Stephanie enjoys reading, waterskiing and traveling with her family. 

Jean Webb, Financial Director

Jean is a native Californian and moved to Gardnerville in 1994.  She has worked at Sierra Veterinary Specialists since 2010.  Jean and her husband, Mike, have 2 dogs, Bouncer and Lucy, and enjoy traveling and spending time with their grandson.






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