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Nathaniel Lam

Nathaniel K. Lam
Veterinary Specialist
Nathaniel K. Lam

At a Glance

Practicing Since:


Board Certified:


Specialties Include:

Minimally-invasive surgery (laparoscopy, thoracoscopy, arthroscopy)
Interventional radiology (stenting)
Knee surgery (TPLO, TTA, patellar luxation)
Trauma and wound care 
Zoological animal surgery

Dr. Nathaniel Lam, DVM, DACVS is passionate about Hawaii and its community. It is his philosophy that with medical care, families become members of the health care team, and doctors become family. Prior to becoming a veterinarian he pursued his love of art and design as a professional photographer. He received a B.S. in Cognitive Computer Science from UCLA in 2004 and earned a D.V.M. from Michigan State University in 2009 prior to completing a rotating internship at the University of Pennsylvania and a Residency in Small Animal Surgery from the prestigious Animal Medical Center in New York City. He is strongly committed to working with primary veterinarians to provide the highest level of care through a focus on education and comprehensive case management. His professional interests include minimally-invasive surgery (laparoscopy, thoracoscopy, arthroscopy), interventional radiology (stenting), knee surgery (TPLO, TTA, patellar luxation), trauma and wound care, and exotic animal surgery. Dr. Lam is certified to administer platelet-rich plasma therapy and veterinary stem cell therapy (Vet-Stem). He resides in Honolulu where he enjoys outdoor activities, exploring with his dogs Cali and Lily, photography, volunteer work, and playing the guitar. Dr. Lam is also the co-founder of the non-profit organization The Arch Project (501c3) and a local indoor rock climbing gym.

Papers Authored
Tracheostomy, in Small Animal Surgical Emergencies
Summary: Upper airway obstruction is a common emergency condition in the small animal patient that requires immediate intervention. It is important for the small animal emergency clinician to recognize when an emergency tracheostomy is required, and have the necessary equipment readily available to perform the procedure safely and effectively. Aside from the tracheostomy tube itself, essential equipment necessary to perform a temporary tracheostomy include instruments necessary for a surgical approach to the trachea, suture, and material such as umbilical tape to secure the tracheostomy tube in place. In veterinary patients, complications associated with temporary tracheostomy tube placement are common and have been reported in up to 86% of cases. Significant complications directly associated with an artificial airway in veterinary patients are accidental extubation, tube occlusion, airway colonization, and subcutaneous emphysema. Despite risk of occlusion, permanent tracheostomies can be an effective, palliative procedure for animals with severe obstructive upper airway disease.
Published: Aronson, L, Ed. Hoboken, NJ. Wiley-Blackwell
Esophageal Stenting for Treatment of Refractory Benign Esophageal Strictures in Dogs
Objective: To describe the technique and determine the outcome of esophageal stenting for treatment of refractory
benign esophageal strictures (RBES) in dogs.
Authored: Lam, NK., Weisse C, Berent AC, Murphy S, Kaae J, Radlinsky M, Dunn M, Richter K
Published: Animal Medical Center, New York, NY
Endoscopic Placement of Ureteral Stents for Treatment of Congenital Bilateral Ureteral Stenosis in a Dog
Case Description: A 5-year-old 8.6-kg (18.9-lb) spayed female Pug was evaluated because of chronic hematuria and recurrent urinary tract infections.
Authored: Lam NK., Berent AC, Weisse C, Bryan C, Mackin A, Bagley D
Published: Animal Medical Center, New York, NY. JAVMA, 2012, 240:983-90
Ureteral Interventions: A Minimally Invasive Approach to Diagnosis & Treatment of Ureteral Disease
Authored: Berent A, Weisse C, Zaid M, Lam N, Mackin A, Bryan C, Bagley D
Published: University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. - Abstract presented at Veterinary Endoscopy Society March 2010
Negative Pressure Wound Therapy on Healing Wounds with Exposed Bone in Dogs
Authored: Demaria MJ, Stanley BJ, Lam NK., Moore TW
Published: Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI. - Vet Surg, 2011 40:658-69
Technique for Percutaneous Radiologic Gastrojejunostomy in the Dog
Objective: To develop and describe a technique for percutaneous radiologic gastrojejunostomy tube placement in the dog. 
Authored: Beal MW, Mehler SJ, Staiger BA, Moore TW, Lam NK., Brown AJ
Published: Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Technique for Fluoroscopic Nasojejunal Tube Placement in Dogs.
Authored: Beal MW, Mehler SJ, Staiger BA, Moore TW, Lam NK., Brown AJ.
Published:  Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Associations and Awards
Professional Associations
Hawaii Veterinary Medical Association
American College of Veterinary Surgeons
Veterinary Orthopedic Society
Society of Veterinary Soft Tissue Surgeons
Veterinary Society for Surgical Oncology
Awards and Distinctions
American College of Veterinary Surgeons - Resident Research Poster Award

Society for Veterinary Soft Tissue Surgery - Resident Presenter Award

American Veterinary Medical Association - Outstanding Senior Student Award

Michigan State University, College of Veterinary Medicine - Student Leadership Award

Wade O. Brinker - Orthopedic Surgery Award

American College of Veterinary Radiologists - Outstanding Senior Student Award

Veterinary Specialists in Private Practice - Vincent Pedroia Future Specialist Award

Charlotte and Erwin Gorning - Endowed Scholarship Award for Outstanding Clinical Student

Florence B. Burke - Endowed Scholarship Award for Academic and Leadership Excellence
See our departments


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 total hip replacements (THRs), cruciate ligament surgeries (TPLOs), and arthroscopy for joint exploration).
  • Soft tissue surgeries (such as tumor/cancer removal 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'"depending on your pet's condition'"other board certified specialists in internal medicine, 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'"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, perform total hip replacements, and use advanced techniques to repair torn ligaments (ruptured cruciate ligaments) within the knee. 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 kidney transplants in cats or 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, though, 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.

Just as in people, laser surgery is becoming a much more common surgical technique in veterinary medicine, bringing with it the same advantages of reduced blood loss and shorter recovery times.

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 Family and Oahu Veterinary Specialty Center

98-1254 Kaahumanu Street

Pearl City, HI 96782

Main: 808-488-4224

Fax: 808-486-0268

Hospital Hours:

    Mon-Sun: Open 24 hours

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