Very Cool Veterinarians in Massachusetts

…Monica Mansfield, D.V.M.

This monthly feature highlights one veterinarian within our MVMA organization who is an interesting person in his or her life outside of work or who contributes that extra something to those around them at the office. This person may be a “below the radar screen” type or a visible personality, or may be especially kind or especially talented in another area. Know someone we should highlight? A veterinarian who is an artist, a tennis player, a musician, a ship builder, or a soup kitchen volunteer? Please send your suggestions to Dr. Monica Mansfield at prchair@massvet.org. We welcome your input!

Dr. Laura LeVan is this issue’s Very Cool Veterinarian in Massachusetts! Dr. LeVan is the owner of Veterinary Dental Services in Acton. Not only has she served our profession as a dentistry specialist, she is also a former president of the MVMA. Most important to those who know her, Dr. LeVan has a warm, bubbly personality and is compassionate to all - her patients, their owners, and her coworkers on a daily basis.

Dr. LeVan practices top quality medicine by utilizing cutting edge advances in veterinary dentistry, including anesthetic protocols, pain control measures, and disease conditions. She eagerly lends her expertise to the standard pet population, but Dr. LeVan volunteers her help with more exotic patients at aquariums, zoos, and wildlife situations. She actively participates in continuing education opportunities for general practitioners, sharing her knowledge to enhance the general level of dental care provided in the region. She holds wet labs for practitioners and dental radiology sessions.

Her staff is very fond of Dr. LeVan, describing her as a fair, caring boss, quirky, and fun to be around. She encourages her employees to better themselves through continuing education. She is compassionate and candid with clients. She listens to their needs, supports them, and counsels them in a heartfelt fashion, especially with end of life issues. Dr. LeVan always makes herself available by phone to assist flustered or panicked colleagues who find themselves in the middle of a difficult dental procedure. She is an avid gardener and keeps the front desk supplied with beautiful roses from her own garden.

Dr. LeVan first became interested in veterinary medicine at a time when there were few women in the field. After obtaining her bachelor’s degree, she read a newspaper article about a woman veterinarian in Africa. Her science background and interest in animals fell into place at that moment, and she knew what she wanted to do for the rest of her life. She graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College at Guelph in1976, then entered private small animal practice in the Metrowest region.

Dr. LeVan has always been an independent mover and shaker. She helped build and nurture the veterinary dentistry specialty field in this region. Her interest in dentistry developed in response to a difficult case with a schnauzer whose advanced periodontal disease resembled an oral tumor. She discussed her problem case with her own dentist who recommended she try root planing, and then he taught her how. Using the new procedure, Dr. LeVan was able to treat the dog and maintain its beautiful set of teeth well into old age.

Subsequently, Dr. LeVan pursued her dental interests with lessons learned from both human dentists and veterinary dental specialists (which she continues to do to this day). In 1992, Dr. LeVan began working at The Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University where she ran the dental services, served as a consultant to labs and lectures, and taught students during their dental electives. Dr. LeVan opened her mobile dental practice in 1993. Six years later she opened her state-of-the-art dental practice in Acton. She is board certified in the American Veterinary Dental College.

Outside of work, Dr. LeVan’s volunteer spirit is alive and well. She is civic and community minded and is particularly interested in supporting local police departments where she helps with the veterinary needs of local police dogs. Dr. LeVan is active with the Vest-a-Dog program and is working toward supplying the Acton police dog with a vest.

Dr. LeVan served as president of the MVMA in 1987 during the 100-year celebration after years as the Chair of the MVMA’s Public Relations Committee. She has served as secretary of the Worcester VMA. She is interested in disaster management and is currently working on the MVMA Emergency and Disaster Planning and Response Committee. For a fun few minutes, watch Dr. LeVan in a video feature on YouTube, “How to Brush a Cat’s Teeth” at www.youtube.com/ watch?v=bzlIiwB6tc.

Dr. LeVan has two cats of her own (whose teeth she brushes!). Her favorite hobbies outside of work are tending her large perennial garden, bird watching, swimming, pilates, and yoga. Dr. LeVan is appreciated within the veterinary community for making high quality dental care approachable and available to her veterinary colleagues. She is a valuable and knowledgeable referral resource for advanced cases needing her dental expertise. We salute Dr. Laura LeVan.