The University Veterinary Specialists medical team consists of ER veterinarians, surgeons, and specialists all focused on providing the highest quality care to hospital patients and visitors. Backed by veterinary technicians, assistants, and customer service reps, the UVS staff aims to make your visit as pleasant as possible.
Apryle Horbal, VMD, MRCVS – Founder
Apryle Horbal is trained in the field of equine dentistry, oral surgery, and upper airway disease. Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Apryle received her Bachelor of Arts cum laude in Biological Basis of Behavior in 2007 from the University of Pennsylvania. She then went on to qualify for her Veterinariae Medicinae Doctoris from the University of Pennsylvania in 2011. Upon completion of this veterinary degree, she went on to complete an internship in large animal medicine, surgery and ambulatory practice at Texas A&M University’s Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital in 2012.
Apryle recently completed her residency in equine dentistry at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland along with submitting a Masters of Philosophy thesis for her research in the development and clinical significance of cemental defects in equine maxillary cheek teeth infundibulae.
Additionally, Apryle has an interest in training veterinary practitioners in developing countries, with an emphasis on improving dental care and nutrition for working equids around the world.
Chief of Staff – Amanda Della Penna, DVM
Dr. Amanda Della Penna is a graduate of The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine. She received her Bachelor of Science in Biology from Bethany College where she was a Presidential Scholar. Since graduating, Dr. Della Penna has worked in the Pittsburgh area in small animal general practice as well as emergency practice. She has also served as a medical director of a North Hills hospital.
Dr. Della Penna does volunteer work with her hometown humane society in Ohio performing spay and neuter clinics and serving as a medical advisor to their board of directors. Her special interests include emergency medicine, surgery, and cardiology.
In her free time, Dr. Della Penna enjoys weight training, snowboarding, watching the Pittsburgh Penguins and The Ohio State Buckeyes, and the outdoors. She has three cats, Dante, Giuseppi, and Julius.
Behavior Specialist – Dr. Laurie Bergman, VMD, DACVB
Dr. Laurie Bergman grew up in Northern New Jersey and received her undergraduate degree in biology from Columbia University in New York City. She graduated from veterinary school at the University of Pennsylvania in 1993.
Dr. Bergman has been a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists since 2003; one of less than 70 people to hold this distinguished title. She worked in small animal practice at Tuft’s University, served as the Behavior Service Coordinator for the University of California Veterinary Medical Center-San Diego, and in 2008 Dr. Bergman returned to Pennsylvania where she has been in private behavior practice.
She has competed in agility with her Australian Terriers and has trained other species, such as birds and cats, none of whom have been as challenging as her two children.
Emergency Veterinarian – Christina Chamberlain, DVM
Dr. Christina Chamberlain grew up in the Pittsburgh area. She completed her undergraduate education at Gannon University where she received her Bachelor of Science degree. Dr. Chamberlain then received her doctorate in veterinary medicine degree from the University Of Missouri College Of Veterinary Medicine, where she graduated with honors. Since graduation, Dr. Chamberlain has worked in the Pittsburgh area in small animal general practice and small animal emergency medicine.
Dr. Chamberlain’s special veterinary interests include emergency medicine, soft tissue surgery, ophthalmology, and clinical pathology, though she enjoys all aspects of medicine and cherishes the opportunity to develop relationships with her patients and clients. In her spare time, Dr. Chamberlain enjoys cooking, exercising, sports, traveling, and spending time with her pets Ollie (dog) and Lenny (cat).
Oncology and Internal Medicine Specialist – Guillermo Couto, DVM DACVIM
Guillermo Couto graduated from Buenos Aires University, Argentina in 1976. He spent 5 years as a private practice small animal practitioner, and then completed a Clinical Oncology Residency at the University of California-Davis.
He is Board-Certified by the ACVIM in both Internal Medicine and Oncology, and is coauthor of the textbook Small Animal Internal Medicine; he has over 300 publications in the areas of oncology, hematology, and Greyhound medicine. After 30 years in academia, he is now providing consultation and educational services through Couto Veterinary Consultants.
Emergency Veterinarian – Samantha Gabree, DVM
She grew up in Littleton, MA and received her BS in Pre-Veterinary Science from the University of Massachusetts – Amherst. She then went on to receive her DVM at Tufts Cummings University in Boston, MA. She has worked in ER facilities as a part-time technician for the past 8 years while she was in school and discovered her passion for emergency medicine and surgery. She explored other aspects of the veterinary field through internships at wildlife centers, zoos, and primary practice. She grew up being an avid skier with her family and they spent most weekends in Vermont. She has a white golden retriever named Mogul (an on-going ski theme), who has remained with the family in MA. She grew up always having a dog, as well as a few hamsters, and she is sure she will cave soon and adopt a companion down here. She just moved down to Pittsburgh in June to start her first job as an ER doctor after graduation and fell in love with the city (this is actually the furthest west she has ever been). She spends her free time exploring the area, reading, and finding ways to be involved with the community.
Emergency Veterinarian – Jeanine Haddad, DVM
Dr. Haddad grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio where she attended the University of Cincinnati for undergrad. In 2017, Jeanine graduated from The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Her love for emergency medicine developed before vet school and grew through emergency medicine externships during her clinical year.
She has always had a love of animals, medicine, and art and enjoys finding ways to merge all three. In her spare time she creates colored pencil portraits and clay sculptures of pets for friends and family.
Emergency Veterinarian – Nicole Hladio, DVM
Dr. Hladio received her undergraduate degree in Biology from the University of Notre Dame in 1998. She proceeded to North Carolina State University where she received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in 2008. Following graduation, she entered a year-long rotating internship in small animal medicine and surgery at VCA Veterinary Referral Associates in Gaithersburg, Maryland. After completion of her internship, she returned home to Pittsburgh where she had been working in a busy 24 hour general and emergency practice before joining our team at University Veterinary Specialists. Dr. Hladio is very excited to be returning to the community in which she grew up to take the next step in her veterinary career! Her professional interests include small animal emergency and critical care as well as ophthalmology and soft tissue surgery.
Dr. Hladio resides in the South Hills of Pittsburgh with her two dogs, Bailey and Benny as well as her cat, Bella. Having grown up in Western Pennsylvania, she has a deep love of all sports. She enjoys outdoor activities, especially any activity that involves sand between her toes! In her spare time she enjoys traveling with her friends and spending time with her family.
Emergency Veterinarian – Joe Ielapi, DVM
Dr. Joe Ielapi is a 2010 graduate of The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine. He received his Bachelor of Science in Agriculture with honors from The Ohio State University in 2002. Since graduating, Dr. Ielapi has worked in general practice in West Virginia and made the transition to emergency medicine as well as the Pittsburgh area in 2015. Professional interests include emergency and critical care medicine as well as diagnostics imaging.
As a transplant to the Pittsburgh area, Dr. Ielapi enjoys exploring the city, especially the ever growing restaurant scene in addition to running, cross-training, hiking and biking outdoors.
Emergency Veterinarian – Nicholle Jenkins, DVM
Biography coming soon!
Internal Medicine – Dr. Charles Rogers, DVM
Dr. Charles Rogers, DVM completed his undergraduate and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from North Carolina State University.
He interned at The Animal Medical Center in New York City, rotating in both small animal medicine and surgery. He then completed his residency in small animal internal medicine at Tufts School of Veterinary Medicine.
He has worked and owned several clinics and mobile transport units from Maine to Ohio.
Dr. Rogers’ medical interests include G.I., liver, renal, autoimmune, and infectious disease.
Dr. John Showalter, DVM
Dr. John Showalter pursued a pre-med curriculum with intent to attend veterinary school through undergrad with a BA degree in Biological Sciences, and ultimately graduated from The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1986.
Dr. Showalter has worked in Western PA and Eastern Ohio as a small animal veterinarian since 1986, and started formal training in veterinary dentistry in 1989. Though, he has recently restricted his practice to veterinary dental issues for the past 10 years. He also teaches at veterinary hospitals on dental issues as well as pain and sedation issues.
Dr. Showalter’s outside interests include driving tours of the countryside, motorcycling, skiing, and learning about woodworking. He currently enjoys two dogs in his household.
Small Animal Surgeon – David Silliman, DVM Practice Limited to Surgery
David Silliman has been a part of the Surgery team at University Veterinary Specialists since 2017. Originally from North Carolina, Dr. Silliman attended North Carolina State University where he earned both a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science and a Bachelor of Science in Zoology in 2005. Following his undergraduate studies, Dr. Silliman attended Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine where he earned a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in 2010. Following his graduation from veterinary school, Dr. Silliman completed a yearlong small animal rotating internship as well as a surgical internship, followed by a three-year surgical residency at Veterinary Specialty Center in Buffalo Grove, Illinois.
Although Dr. Silliman is experienced in all aspects of small animal surgery, he has particular interests in minimally invasive soft tissue procedures, surgical oncology, as well as orthopedic surgeries and advanced surgical techniques. Outside of the operating room, Dr. Silliman is focused on providing comprehensive patient care, with patient quality of life always remaining of the utmost importance. Dr. Silliman believes that a combination of compassion, commitment, communication, and teamwork are the ideal tools for providing the best possible veterinary care to his patients.
When he is not busy caring for animals, Dr. Silliman enjoys camping, hiking, and fishing, as well as spending time with his family and friends.
Small Animal Surgeon – Lynne Snow, DVM, MS, DACVS
Lynne A. Snow, DVM, MS, Diplomate ACVS is a board-certified Veterinary Surgeon. Dr. Snow attended the University of South Carolina where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Science, and the University of Illinois where she earned a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree. Following her graduation from veterinary school, Dr. Snow completed a yearlong internship in small animal medicine and surgery at Veterinary Medical and Surgical Group, a yearlong surgical internship at Animal Specialty Group, and a three-year residency in small animal surgery at the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine where she also earned a Masters of Science Degree.
After becoming a board-certified Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons, Dr. Snow served as a veterinary surgery instructor for three years at Murdoch University in Perth, Australia. She is an active advocate of continuing education for veterinary professionals and has lectured on a variety of surgery topics.
Although she enjoys all aspects of surgery, Dr. Snow has particular interests in thoracic surgery, minimally invasive surgery such as laparoscopy and arthroscopy, and fracture stabilization. One of her favorite things about being a veterinary surgeon is working as part of an incredibly talented team to provide her patients the best quality of life possible. When not seeing patients, Dr. Snow enjoys traveling, scuba diving, and reading.
Emergency and Critical Care Specialist – Anne Stoneham, DVM DACVECC
Dr. Anne Stoneham is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care. She followed her childhood dream of becoming a veterinarian after reading the works of James Herriot and received her DVM degree from Cornell University. Following in the steps of Dr. Herriot, she worked on all species, great and small, until she realized that she “lit up like a firefly” (her receptionist’s words) when emergencies came through the clinic door. She then completed an internship at the Dove Lewis Emergency Animal Hospital in Portland, Oregon and proceeded to finish a residency in small animal emergency and critical care at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University in Massachusetts. Before moving to Pittsburgh to join the UVS team, Dr. Stoneham spent more than 10 years working as a specialist in Maryland; serving as emergency department director, working directly with patients and teaching the intricacies of her field to interns, residents, and technicians. Her interests include treating acute kidney injury, the hemodynamic changes of sepsis and trauma.
Emergency Veterinarian – Sara Twerdok, DVM
Dr. Sara Twerdok is a native of the Pittsburgh area. She attended Cornell University for her undergraduate education where she obtained bachelor of science degrees in both animal science and biology. She then attended St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine and completed her clinical year at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine. After obtaining her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree, she completed an internship in small animal medicine and surgery at the Pittsburgh Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center (PVSEC). Dr. Twerdok then worked as a general practitioner in the Pittsburgh area before joining University Veterinary Specialists as an emergency doctor. Dr. Twerdok is particularly interested in cardiology and avian and exotic animal medicine.
Dr. Twerdok lives with her fiancé and their numerous pets including her lovable English Springer Spaniel Ellie, multiple rescue cats, and pineapple green-cheeked conure Nora. In her free time, Dr. Twerdok enjoys reading Agatha Christie novels and spending time outdoors.
UVS plans to expand with a growing team of veterinarians as time goes on. We also plan to offer additional services to ensure that pet owners and other veterinarians from across the Pittsburgh area have unparalleled access to the most advanced veterinary solutions available.