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Leah Stern

Leah Stern
Veterinary Specialist
Availability: Monday - Thursday
Leah Stern

At a Glance

Practicing Since:


Board Certified:


Specialties Include:

Cancer Surgery
Minimally Invasive Procedures
Gastrointestinal Surgery
Preventative Medicine Procedures

My Pets:

Howie Nelson - Brown tabby cat
Lewis - Ginger cat

Boarded surgeon, Dr. Leah Stern, is the heart of our specialty service, and has been serving pets and vets for many years. As an established surgeon, she has earned the trust of family veterinarians and their clients with efficient and thorough work and excellent collaboration.

Dr. Stern is available at VCA Cheshire Animal hospital for consultations and surgeries MONDAY THROUGH THURSDAY, and on-call for emergencies. Dr. Stern enjoys performing laparoscopic minimally invasive surgeries. She has a particular interest in surgery in critically ill patients. She has a passion for both soft tissue and orthopedic surgeries. She works closely with area oncologists and performs a number of surgeries for cancer in pets.

Dr. Stern obtained her veterinary degree from Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in 2006. She completed an internship in Emergency and Critical Care medicine and surgery at Dove Lewis Emergency Animal Hospital in Portland, Oregon before returning to the east coast. She completed a surgical internship and her surgical residency at VCA Veterinary Referral and Emergency Center in Norwalk, Connecticut. Dr. Stern is a board certified veterinary surgeon. She has been at VCA Cheshire Animal Hospital since July 2010.

When she's not at work you might find her hiking at Sleeping Giant; she also enjoys yoga and kayaking.


What Is A Board Certified Veterinary Surgeon?

A board certified veterinary surgeon is a licensed veterinarian who has obtained intensive, additional surgical training. A veterinary surgeon can offer special assistance in the following kinds of cases:

  • Traumatic injury and emergencies (such as fractures, skin wounds and lacerations, correction of gastric dilatation-volvulus, and exploratory (abdominal/thoracic) surgery
  • Orthopedic surgeries (such as surgery for hip dysplasia, cruciate ligament surgeries (TTA and lateral suture), and luxating patellas).
  • Soft tissue surgeries (such as tumor/cancer removal, intestinal surgery, liver surgery, bladder surgery, airway surgery and correction of congenital defects).
  • Neurological surgeries (such as herniated discs and spinal injuries).

While your general practitioner veterinarian can diagnose and treat many health problems, certain diseases and conditions require the care of a doctor who has had specialized, intensive surgical training in order to provide the very best outcome for your pet. Your veterinary surgeon will work closely with your general practitioner veterinarian, as well as other board certified specialists in internal medicine, critical care, veterinary oncology, veterinary neurology, and veterinary radiology.

Why Does My Pet Need A Veterinary Surgeon?

Just as your own primary care physician may feel the need to refer you to the care of a specialist from time to time, your general practitioner veterinarian may feel your pet needs the additional expertise of a board certified surgeon for certain surgeries. In fact, many general practitioner veterinarians refer all but the most routine of surgeries to specialists. This includes orthopedic and neurology cases, reconstructive surgeries, tumor removals, etc.

Board certified veterinary surgeons also are often affiliated with referral hospitals where they may have access to specialized diagnostic or surgical equipment, the latest and safest anesthesia monitoring equipment, physical therapy or rehabilitation capabilities, and other critical care services that a general practitioner may not have access to. All of these specialized services may be necessary for the optimal care and recovery of your pet.

You can be assured that a veterinarian who knows when to refer you and your pet to a veterinary surgeon is one that is caring and committed to ensuring that your pet receives the highest standard of care for his or her problem.

What Kinds of Problems Require the Expertise of a Veterinary Surgeon?

Board certified veterinary surgeons can repair complex fractures, treat hip dysplasia, and use advanced techniques to stabilize knees affected by torn ligaments (ruptured cruciate ligaments). They can also remove cancerous growths, manage extensive or non-healing wounds, and perform reconstructive surgery, such as grafting skin over large injuries. Veterinary surgeons can perform intricate surgeries in the chest or abdomen, such as repairing heart defects in dogs. Spinal injuries and herniated discs are problems that are also commonly referred to board certified surgeons. Veterinary surgery is also expanding into minimally invasive surgery, such as arthroscopy, thorascopy, and laparoscopy.

Will My Regular Veterinarian Still Be Involved?

In many, if not most, surgical cases your regular veterinarian will still supervise your pet's veterinary care, especially if your pet is continuing to cope with a disease or chronic condition. It depends on your pet's particular disease and health problem, however. Typically your general practitioner veterinarian will oversee many aspects of your pet's pre-op and post-op care, just as in human medicine. Recovery periods are often prolonged in many surgical cases, particularly in orthopedic surgery, and it is very important to follow your veterinary team's recommendations concerning at-home recovery guidelines for your pet, follow up care and appointments, as well as any rehabilitation that has been prescribed.

Did You Know?

Just as in humans, a pet's recovery from veterinary surgery can go more smoothly or even result in a better outcome with the addition of rehabilitation options. Many veterinary referral hospitals offer rehabilitation services, such as water therapy, physical therapy, and massage therapy, as an adjunct to surgical care.

If you think that your pet may be a candidate for veterinary surgery, talk to your general practitioner veterinarian, or find a board certified veterinary surgeon near you today.

VCA Cheshire Animal Hospital

1572 S. Main St.

Cheshire, CT 06410

Main: 203-272-3266

Fax: 203-272-2630

Hospital Hours:

    Mon-Fri: 8:00 am - 8:00 pm

    Sat: 8:00 am - 6:00 pm

    Sun: Closed

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