Meet Our Team
Meet our caring, compassionate veterinary team.
Led by Dr. Kevin Hammerschmidt, our team is committed to quality care for your pet.
Dr. Kevin Hammerschmidt
Ever since he can remember, Dr. Kevin Hammerschmidt wanted to work in a challenging profession that allowed him to help others. Veterinary medicine was the perfect way to combine his interest in science with his passion for pet care! Now he’s a full-time veterinarian and the owner of South Shore Veterinary Hospital.
Dr. Hammerschmidt grew up north of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and would often spend weekends on his grandparents’ dairy farm. There, his love of animal care was born. Dr. Hammerschmidt attended Pennsylvania State University to receive his Bachelor’s degree in animal bioscience, working full-time in the University’s research facilities at the same time. After attending veterinary school at Ross University for three years, he finished up his DVM degree at Oklahoma State University before moving to New York in 2000 and accepting his first position as a veterinarian.
After five years at his previous employer, Dr. Hammerschmidt decided to start his own veterinary hospital to better serve his clients and patients. He first opened South Shore Veterinary Hospital in the summer of 2005, then built a brand-new facility in the summer of 2014.
As a veterinarian, Dr. Hammerschmidt particularly enjoys the variety of cases he gets to treat. Every day, he goes from being a puppy trainer to a nutritionist to a surgeon! He also feels that there is nothing better than getting to know a new client and earning their trust and respect.
Dr. Hammerschmidt’s wife, Jamie, is also a veterinarian. They have two sons, Cody and Ryder, and share their lives with a rescued Lab mix named Ruger. When he isn’t at work, Dr. Hammerschmidt can be found with his family and friends in the great outdoors—he loves hiking, camping, hunting, fishing, and anything else related to nature!
Dr. Kerith Ferguson
Like most kids, Dr. Kerith Ferguson always loved animals when she was young. It wasn’t long, though, before she began wondering how she could continue caring for pets as she grew older! Veterinary medicine was the answer, and now Dr. Ferguson is a full-time veterinarian.
Dr. Ferguson grew up in Massachusetts and began shadowing her family dog’s veterinarian at a very early age. As soon as she was old enough, she secured a job as a Veterinary Technician. After working for several different clinics, Dr. Ferguson attended Alfred University for her pre-veterinary studies, then chose Atlantic Veterinary College in Prince Edward Island, Canada for veterinary school. After graduation, Dr. Ferguson moved to Syracuse to work in emergency medicine. Shortly after meeting her husband, she decided to make the move into general practice and interviewed here at the hospital.
Thanks to her emergency-medicine background, Dr. Ferguson especially enjoys taking emergency cases at the clinic. No two situations are ever the same! She also likes integrating new technologies into everyday veterinary care.
Dr. Ferguson’s husband, Scott, works as a correctional officer and likes staying active by playing sports. Dr. Ferguson has a daughter in kindergarten and a stepdaughter soon entering high school. The family shares their home with three pets: Booker, a black-and-white adopted kitten; Lena, a Golden retriever; and Maddie, an elderly Shih Tzu/Lab mix.
In her time away from the clinic, Dr. Ferguson enjoys playing outdoor and indoor volleyball with her husband. They even play on a four-person team, and won the championship for their level a few years ago!
Dr. Paul Kretow
During his childhood growing up in Fairport, New York, Dr. Paul Kretow always felt a sense of nagging frustration when one of his family pets fell ill—he’s always wanted the knowledge and skillset to help others’ beloved companions. As a licensed veterinarian, Dr. Kretow gets to maintain and enrich the bonds between pets and their owners on a daily basis!
Dr. Kretow first began working as a Veterinary Assistant and Kennel Attendant while earning his undergraduate degree in animal sciences at Ohio State University. He remained at the school to earn his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine, meeting his wife while finishing his degree, before moving to Phoenix, Arizona after graduation to begin his professional career.
Next, Dr. Kretow moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota during his wife’s residency training before relocating to Syracuse upon completion of her program. Shortly afterward, he joined the South Shore Veterinary Hospital family as an Associate Veterinarian. Dr. Kretow has special interests in dental care and challenging medical cases; most of all, though, he enjoys routine office visits that allow him to connect personally with the area’s pet owners.
Outside of work, Dr. Kretow enjoys skiing, mountain biking, playing hockey, and spending time with his family and pets at home. He and his wife, Elise, have two daughters named Ryann and Elliott as well as a son named Anders. The family shares their lives with William, a Jack Russell terrier with boundless energy; a French bulldog named Fiona who makes noises more like a dinosaur than a dog; and Frederick, a cat who hopes for a future as a catalog model.
Dr. Rachele Anderson
When her kindergarten teacher asked what she would like to be when she grew up, Dr. Rachele Anderson’s answer came instantly: caring for animals as a veterinarian is all she’s wanted to do ever since she was a little girl. Now, Dr. Anderson’s lifelong fascination with pet care has turned into a rewarding and passionate career—she’s thrilled to continue her journey as a member of the South Shore Veterinary Hospital family!
Dr. Anderson is originally from Canandaigua, New York and attended Hartwick College to earn her undergraduate degree. Next, she took a year off from school to gain hands-on experience at a small mixed-animal practice near her hometown before heading to the Caribbean island of St. Kitts to study veterinary medicine at Ross University. Dr. Anderson then returned to her home state and joined the team here at South Shore Veterinary Hospital as an Associate Veterinarian. She has particular passions for educating new pet owners and helping our senior companions to age gracefully, and she would like to further develop her rehabilitation and acupuncture skills to help the area’s pets manage chronic pain.
Aside from her interests in the world of animal care, Dr. Anderson enjoys dance and still takes classes when time permits. She’s also an avid traveler and has visited Australia, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Thailand, and South Africa—Dr. Anderson hopes to add more locations to the list in the near future!
At home, Dr. Anderson shares her life with three loveable dogs: Fagan is a Golden retriever whose favorite pastimes include cuddling and sunbathing; Odin and Ridley are both mixed-breed dogs adopted from the Caribbean during Dr. Anderson’s time in veterinary school.
Practice Manager, Licensed Veterinary Technician
Cats, dogs, frogs, turtles, and butterflies were but a few of the animals that Michelle rescued as a child. Thanks to the unconditional love of pets, she’s wanted to serve as an advocate for them for as long as she can remember!
A native of the Cicero area, Michelle originally worked in administrative positions in the corporate world. One day, she decided she needed to follow her heart—she enrolled in a Veterinary Technology program and applied for a job in an animal clinic. To this day, Michelle considers it one of the best choices she’s ever made! Having been friends with Dr. Hammerschmidt previously, Michelle joined the South Shore Veterinary Hospital family on the day the clinic opened in 2005.
For Michelle, the biggest reward of her job is seeing the happiness and appreciation of pet owners when their beloved companion is returned to them in full health. She also loves new puppy or kitten visits and swapping pet stories with clients.
In her free time, Michelle and her husband enjoy kayaking, cross-country skiing, biking, hiking in upstate New York, and spending time with their rescued kitties.
Client Care Supervisor
Melissa’s own pets have always been an essential part of her life. Working alongside others who feel the same way makes coming to work a pleasure!
Melissa is a native of upstate New York. After moving back to this area from Kansas, she joined the South Shore Veterinary Hospital team in July of 2010. Building relationships with clientele and working with her caring and compassionate colleagues inspires her daily!
At home, Melissa and her husband Preston have two furry children: Lizzy, a Pekapoo who loves being pampered, and Elouise, a Great Pyrenees rescue who managed to take over Melissa’s home in no time.
In her free time, Melissa loves reading, canning vegetables from her garden, and camping. She’s especially fond of taking her dogs to pet-friendly campgrounds, where the whole family can go for long walks or scenic bike rides.
Emily is a pet owner herself—she knows firsthand the joy, companionship, and unconditional love that our pets offer. For her, it’s a privilege to help others experience those same bonds! Emily gets to do just that every day as one of South Shore Veterinary Hospital’s front-desk receptionists.
Emily is a Syracuse native and previously worked in the restaurant industry and as a technician and receptionist at an ophthalmologist’s office. Her experience in customer care and administrative work serves her well here at South Shore Veterinary Hospital—Emily’s favorite part of the job is meeting new pets and animal owners on a daily basis, and she never tires of the compassionate, family-centered atmosphere of the clinic.
Outside of work, Emily can be found listening to music, reading, playing video games, and spending time with her own pets at home. She and her boyfriend, CJ, have two animal companions: a lovable cat named Ms. Floyd and a puppy who goes by Chan.
Jeanna was inspired to pursue a career in veterinary medicine because of a single movie: Hachi: A Dog’s Tale. By the end of the film, Jeanna decided to dedicate herself to what she felt truly passionate about—helping animals!
Jeanna grew up in Syracuse, New York. She received her Veterinary Assistant’s certification from the Animal Behavior College, then applied at South Shore Veterinary Hospital to complete her externship. Upon finishing her requirements, she was hired on as an employee in December of 2012.
As a veterinary professional, Jeanna particularly enjoys learning about diseases and conditions of particular pet breeds. She’s also a fan of puppy visits! Within the past year, she even became a certified dog trainer.
Outside of work, Jeanna enjoys attending Syracuse basketball games with her boyfriend Sean, golfing, hiking and camping in the Adirondacks, as well as spending time with her dog named Buddy.
Licensed Veterinary Technician
As a child, Lori and her friend dreamed of owning a giant farm in which they housed every animal species they could think of. As she got older, Lori realized that the next best thing to having a farm would be to work with animals in the veterinary field! Now she serves as a Licensed Veterinary Technician.
Lori grew up in Gloversville, New York, in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains. She attended the State University of New York at Delhi, then secured a job at an animal hospital in Utica, New York. In 1991, she came to Syracuse and worked in five separate practices before joining the South Shore Veterinary Hospital family in the fall of 2006.
Nursing geriatric patients back to health is one of Lori’s favorite parts of her job. She’s also passionate about surgery and anesthesia, and feels extremely gratified when she and the team can reach a successful outcome with these techniques.
Lori and her husband Patrick live with their young daughter, Payton, and a beagle named River. When she has a spare moment between work and family life, you can find them all on Oneida Lake, boating, fishing or swimming. Lori is also a former member of the Syracuse Scottish Pipe Band, in which she played the snare drum. Payton has taken up trumpet, and will hopefully follow in her musical footsteps.
Licensed Veterinary Technician
Linh knew from the time she was only five years old that she would one day work with animals. By the time she started volunteering at a dog rescue at age 14, her mind was made up: Linh wanted to dedicate herself to bettering the lives of animals! Now, her dream has come full circle: she’s a Licensed Veterinary Technician with the South Shore Veterinary Hospital team.
Linh is a native of Syracuse and studied veterinary technology at the State University of New York-Delhi. Linh has been caring for the area’s pets and animal parents here ever since!
Medically, Linh particularly likes radiography work—she never tires of seeing inside the body via an X-ray scan!—and dental cleanings. Most of all, she loves to meet and greet new pets and their loving owners every single day. Passing along her knowledge in order to ultimately improve a pet’s health is especially rewarding for Linh.
Outside of her interests in the animal-care world, Linh enjoys art and has won awards and even prize money for her work. At home, she and her family share their lives with several pets. They have a pair of sibling cats, Nemo and Chloe, as well as two loveable dogs named Cinderella and Max.
Licensed Veterinary Technician
Shannon had a special bond with animals ever since she was a little girl, but found herself working in other fields by the time she was out of high school. When she realized that she wasn’t truly happy or fulfilled, Shannon decided to take a leap of faith and pursue her longtime dream career: veterinary medicine! Now, she is a Licensed Veterinary Technician and couldn’t be happier.
Shannon is a native of central New York. After 10 years in the retail and food-service industries, she returned to college to study animal medicine. Shannon attended Onondaga Community College for a year before transferring to the State University of New York-Delhi to earn her degree in animal science. During the summer of 2014, she interned here at South Shore Veterinary Hospital and was thrilled to be hired on as an employee after her requirements were completed. Shannon became one of the hospital’s Licensed Veterinary Technicians in May of 2015.
Around the clinic, Shannon enjoys cleaning pets’ ears and performing thorough dental cleanings. She’s also fond of giving in-hospital patients extra love and attention on a daily basis.
When she’s not at work, Shannon can be found spending time with her husband on Oneida Lake; they love to go boating, fishing, and swimming whenever they get the chance! She also enjoys reading, spending quality time with family and friends, and tending to her own pets. Shannon and her husband have a recently adopted black Lab named Patton; three cats who go by Bonnie, Clyde, and Midnight; and four gerbils that Shannon adopted when she was a part of SUNY Delhi’s Breeding Colony Management Program.
Licensed Veterinary TechnicianNatalie is a licensed veterinary technician who recently graduated from Medaille College in Buffalo, NY. She is new to veterinary medicine but so excited for the opportunity to help and bond with the animals!
At home, Natalie has two cats, a rescue named Luna and an orange tabby named Milo. She also has a hamster named Robo and a West Highland Terrier named Zues.
Outside of work, Natalie loves to go hiking, traveling, and watching movies.
Jennifer grew up in Ithaca, New York, where she was surrounded by the family pets from day one. For her, animal care has always been a natural part of life! She’s happy to continue her veterinary journey as a member of South Shore Veterinary Hospital’s compassionate care team.
Jennifer first served as a Veterinary Assistant in Oregon before moving back to New York to finish her Bachelor’s degree at Cazenovia College. She lived and worked at an equine training and showing center throughout her time in college, and continued to work in the horse industry for a brief time after graduating. Jennifer then spent several years in the financial and sales industries before making the decision to return to what made her truly happy: animal care. She joined the South Shore Veterinary Hospital family in April of 2016, and is thrilled to supplement her studies in veterinary technology with real-world experience here at the clinic!
Around the hospital, Jennifer enjoys getting to witness the various animal personalities that cross her path every day. Her favorite parts of the job are interacting directly with pet owners just like herself and helping to make a lasting impact in the community with her efforts.
At home, Jennifer and her partner live with a pair of German shepherds, two cats, three horses, and a flock of 12 chickens. In her free time, she likes going on long hikes with the dogs, saddling up the horses for trail rides, maintaining her property, and relaxing with a good book.
Chelsea’s parents got the first family dog when Chelsea was only six years old; she hasn’t been without a pet since. Over the years, she’s cared for everything from cats and dogs to gerbils, hamsters, birds, fish, and reptiles! For Chelsea, a career that allows her to give something back to the earth’s creatures is simply the perfect choice.
Originally from Fulton, New York, Chelsea launched her veterinary journey right after high school, enrolling in an online college curriculum to become a Veterinary Technician. Shortly after starting school, she secured her first position as a Kennel Attendant at a clinic in Pulaski. Chelsea was quickly promoted to a Veterinary Assistant position and received on-the-job training in surgery, office management, pharmacy and reception work, and more.
Chelsea joined the team here at South Shore Veterinary Hospital in August of 2017 during her last semester of school, and is excited to become a licensed Veterinary Technician after graduation. Around the hospital, she particularly likes to help with surgeries and educate clients to help them better understand their pets’ healthcare needs.
Chelsea and her husband, Michael, love to travel and spend time outdoors together; they especially like biking, hiking, and kayaking. The couple shares their home with two feline friends—a tiger-striped cat named Seal, and a naughty tabby who goes by Gus—as well as a corn snake, Cobb, and Hiro the bearded dragon.
Alexis recently joined the South Shore team, though she has 4 years of experience in the veterinary world. She’s also on her way to becoming a Veterinary Technician! Alexis’ favorite part of the job is seeing so many animals every day, particularly puppies and kittens, as well as looking at things under the microscope.
At home, Alexis has 3 dogs, 2 cats, 3 guinea pigs, and a pig named Onyx. Outside of work, her favorite hobbies include going to the farm to see cows and going on adventures.
Molly is new to our team and brings 2 years of veterinary experience. She loves doing lab work and learning new things every day at work, and she always loves puppy appointments!
Molly has a cat named Ellie who she adopted as a kitten from a barn last summer. Ellie is very spoiled and rules the house now! Outside of work, Molly likes hiking in the Adirondacks and traveling. When she’s at home, she enjoys spending time watching Netflix.
Receptionist/Veterinary AssistantSam has recently joined the team at South Shore Veterinary Hospital with 7 years of veterinary experience. What Sam loves most about the job is helping people and their pets and ensuring their experience is a positive one. Sam has a 6-year-old mutt named Tech and a 5-year-old black cat named Thomas. Outside of work, Sam enjoys spending time with family – including her baby and fiance.
Michelle has been working in veterinary medicine for ten years, and recently joined the team at South Shore Veterinary Hospital in December of 2017.
Michelle is very outgoing and loves being social, which makes her a perfect fit at our hospital! A real lover of animals, being a receptionist at South Shore Veterinary Hospital allows her to meet all of our clients and their furbabies when they come to see us!
Michelle has three cats: Gizmo (a 15-year-old orange tabby that is the love of her life), Bart (a rescue from the SPCA, and Unikka (another rescue from the SPCA with Bart). She also has one dog named Charlotte, who is one energetic and fun girl!
When she’s not at work, she loves racing! She races a dirt sportsman from April to November during the weekends. It’s even better with her kids involved and her husband racing by her side!
Jenna is new to the world of veterinary medicine and South Shore Veterinary Hospital. Her favorite thing about the job is being the first face a client sees. Whether the client is with a healthy or a sick pet, she loves getting to interact with and gush over their ‘baby’. She enjoys building strong client relationships and giving their pets the best care possible.
At home, Jenna has a Weimaraner mix named Paisley who she got her senior year of high school. Paisley is addicted to tennis balls and loves to swim and run. Jenna also has a bearded dragon named Archie, who spends most of his time lounging around.
Outside of work, Jenna enjoys anything outdoors, including swimming, scuba diving, boating, hiking, and camping. She likes any place she can bring her dog to explore!