2022 Networking Brunch

What is our annual Networking Brunch? This event gathers veterinarians from an array of specialties to meet with students to discuss their career path and what a typical day in their work is like. It is a chance for you to ask questions, in a speed-dating fashion, pertaining to a wide variety of issues that veterinarians face in their daily lives, giving you insight to a particular path that you may choose to pursue in the future. This year, we are featuring an extremely diverse and highly anticipated group of specialties! These individuals are eager to provide invaluable expertise and perspective from their extraordinary fields of study, so be sure to prepare your questions ahead of time. This event is one of our club's most educative and memorable experiences!

The 2022 Networking Brunch will be held with an in-person and a virtual date with different specialist veterinarians at each event! Stay tuned for more details. They are anticipated to occur February 5th and 12th.

Our W22 Networking "Brunch" event will be held over two dates via Microsoft Teams: Sunday, January 16th and Sunday, January 23rd, both from 11:00am - 1:00pm EST. Each date will feature a different group of specialties. To sign up and choose your date/specialty preferences, please access our Google form 


Some details to note:

  • You are permitted to attend one or both of these weekends but if these dates reach their max capacity of 25 students per veterinarian, then you will be registered for the day that you indicated a preference for
  • You will be seeing three vets for each Sunday that you attend in a breakout group with up to 24 other students
  • You will have a designated time of 30 minutes with each veterinarian that you are scheduled for
  • Please indicate the vet that you would most like to see for each day that you can attend and we will try to place everyone with their first choices
  • Please note that this event is first come first serve, so if you would like to increase your chances of being placed with the vet that you would most like to see, register as early as possible
  • The last day that you are permitted to register for this event is January 6th at 11:59pm EST
  • On January 9th or 10th you will receive an email from us with the date(s) you are registered for, the vets that you are scheduled to see, and instructions on how to enter your breakout groups


Take a look below and see this year's amazing lineup!



Dr. Darryl Bonder

January 16th
Specialty: Equine
Dr. Bonder had a lifetime interest in becoming an equine veterinarian. From the earliest memories, he had a passionate love for horses. Growing up he volunteered (cleaned stalls and rode in exchange) at a sport horse facility just to be near the animals he found so intriguing. As a summer job from university, he exercised horses at Woodbine Race Track. Veterinary medicine seemed to be the perfect vocation for combining his love for horses and his interest in the biological sciences. 
He was accepted into the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. He graduated with honours in 1977 and was the recipient of the Fowler award for highest proficiency in equine medicine and surgery. Dr. Bonder has constantly striven to expand his knowledge base by completing certificates in internal fixation, arthroscopic surgery and nuclear medicine. He has a keen interest in arthroscopic surgery, equine sports medicine and nuclear medicine. He is a past president of the Ontario Association of Equine Practitioners (OAEP) and a member of the Federal Drug Advisory Committee to Racetracks Canada. Dr. Bonder has a longstanding commitment to equine welfare through his continued association with the Long Run Program. 


Dr. Luis Arroyo Castro

January 16th
Specialty: Large Animal Medicine
Dr. Arroyo grew up on a rural farm along the pacific coast of Costa Rica. At the Universidad Nacional-Heredia, he trained as a veterinarian until he received his Lic. Med. Vet. in 1994. For the next few years, he practiced mixed animal medicine in rural Costa Rica. After gaining years of clinical experience, Dr. Arroyo decided to attend the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) in Guelph, ON where he completed the large animal medicine Doctor of Veterinary Science (DVSc) program in the Department of Clinical Studies. Following his completion, he furthered his education by working towards a PhD in the Department of Pathobiology at OVC.  
Dr. Arroyo is now board certified in large animal medicine with the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine and has been a faculty member in the Department of Clinical studies since 2009. 
His research interest is in large animal gastrointestinal disorders but, more recently, he has grown fond of equine vascular diseases with a focus on arteriosclerosis of the pulmonary artery of racehorses. 


Dr. Heather Reid

January 16th
Specialty: Wildlife
Dr. Heather Reid is the head veterinarian at Toronto Wildlife Centre, clinical veterinarian at Toronto Zoo and president of Animal Experience International. Dr. Reid graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph. Her interest in wildlife conservation led her to TWC where she has been helping sick, injured and orphaned wild animals for 20 years. At TWC Dr. Reid oversees a busy wildlife hospital that admits more than 5,000 patients each year, representing over 240 species of native wildlife. She enjoys helping people travel and get hands-on experience through Animal Experience International, matching people who want to make a difference, with wildlife organizations around the world. 


Dr. Sonja Fonfara

January 16th
Specialty: Clinical Trials / Research
Dr. Sonja Fonfara is a researcher, professor, and board-certified veterinary cardiologist working at the Ontario Veterinary College. Dr. Fonfara’s research focuses on cardiac remodeling related to aging and disease, particularly in cats. Before coming to the OVC, she previously graduated from University of Veterinary Medicine in Hanover, Germany, obtained a doctoral thesis in Veterinary Pathology at the University of Giessen, worked in a first opinion practice next to Frankfurt, and completed a postdoctoral research project in marine mammal immunology at the University of Kiel. Her passion for cardiology led her to a residency in veterinary cardiology at the Small Animal Teaching Hospital at the University of Liverpool, and following that she worked as lecturer at the Universities in Liverpool and Bristol, and obtained a PhD at the University of Helsinki. Since 2016, she has been at the University of Guelph where she works as teacher, clinician and researcher in small animal cardiology. 


Dr. Davor Ojkic

January 16th
Specialty: Virology
Dr. Ojkic worked in swine practice after graduation. As a graduate student he developed a system for production of vectored vaccines. Since 2001 he has worked as a virologist and immunologist at the University of Guelph Animal Health Laboratory, a high throughput veterinary diagnostic laboratory. In his current position he runs a lab with over 20 technicians and students; the lab does over 600,000 molecular and immunological tests per year with rationalized and re-organized testing routines. Dr. Ojkic introduced and developed over 100 state-of the–art tests for detection and characterization of viruses of veterinary importance. He also streamlined laboratory routines resulting in shorter turnaround times in providing results to clients and significantly increased lab revenue and profitability. Dr. Ojkic provides advice to veterinary practitioners, industry representatives and government agencies, has 91 peer-reviewed publications, 107 practical publications and has given presentations at 71 conferences. 

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Dr. Elysha Smith

January 16th
Specialty: Exotic Small Animal
Dr. Elysha Smith graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College in 2020. During her time at OVC she was involved with research in backyard poultry diseases in Southern Ontario, including presenting at conferences. She was also involved with the Association of Avian Veterinarians throughout her time in school. After graduation she worked at Campus Estates Animal Hospital, working in general practice and emergency medicine with small animal and a variety of exotic small animals. Her interests include avian medicine, backyard poultry and exotic mammals. Currently, Dr. Smith works in general practice with small animals.


Dr. Jinelle Webb

January 16th
Specialty: Small Animal Internal Medicine
Dr. Jinelle Webb completed her Small Animal Internal Medicine Residency and DVSc in 2005 at the Ontario Veterinary College and obtained board certification with the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine that year. Dr. Webb started the Internal Medicine Service at the Mississauga-Oakville Veterinary Emergency Hospital in 2006, where she continues today as a locum. Dr. Webb started VetLink Mobile Imaging in 2020, a mobile practice providing internal medicine services to local veterinary clinics. She is an Adjunct Professor at the OVC and has been active with both AAHA and the ACVIM. She is also a published author and speaker. 


Dr. Foster Scott

January 16th
Specialty: Aquatics
Dr. Foster Scott graduated from the OVC in 2017 (Violet Komodo) and went to work for the Salmon Farming company, Cermaq Canada in Campbell River, BCIn 2018 he went to work for the Government of Newfoundland & Labrador's Aquatic Animal Health Division as an Aquaculture Veterinarian for the province. Dr. Scott returned to Ontario in 2020 wherein he started his own small aquatic animal health veterinary practice while also working for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)Dr. Scott is currently growing his business while also starting a role in Aquaculture with the CFIA.   


Dr. Rick Axelson

January 16th
Specialty: Avian
Dr. Rick Axelson graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College in 1987. He apprenticed with his father, Dr. Dean Axelson, founder of The Links Road Animal & Bird Clinic (1973) until he purchased the hospital in January 1996. Rick grew up in Toronto and still lives in north Toronto with his daughter and cat. He has been surrounded by animals of all shapes and sizes his entire life but has a special passion for birds and exotic species. He is a member of the College of Ontario Veterinarians, Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA), Ontario Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA), Association of Avian Veterinarians (AAV), Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians (AEMV) and Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians (ARAV).
Rick has lectured to veterinarians, veterinary technicians, the Ontario Veterinary College, local parrot clubs and numerous community groups. He has appeared on local and national television and radio shows. He is the author of a veterinary education handout series for birds and exotic pets for Lifelearn Inc.
Rick passionately enjoys photography and has a camera with him most everywhere he goes. He is an avid bird watcher, hiker and loves to spend time gardening in the backyard.  Fitness and being outdoors is a must.


Dr. Lois Valli

January 16th
Specialty: Federal Government
Dr. Valli graduated from OVC in 1991. She worked for 3 years in mixed practice, then worked in the industry for 11 years, 10 of which, as Manager of technical services for Wyeth Animal Health (now part of zoetis). She joined CFIA in 2014. Dr. Valli is married and her husband also with CFIA, with 2 kids at university of Guelph, 2 cats, a dog and a gecko. 


Dr. Cynthia Miltenburg

January 23rd
Specialty: Provincial Government
Cynthia graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College in 2010 and spent a few years in large animal practice in eastern Ontario before returning to the Ontario Veterinary College to pursue graduate studies with the Department of Population Medicine and to work as a practitioner with the Ruminant Field Services clinic at OVC. Her Doctor of Veterinary Science research focused on strategies to improve transition cow health and immune function. From 2017 to 2019, Cynthia coordinated the fourth class of the Dairy Health Management Continuing Education Program at the Ontario Veterinary College. Since 2019, Cynthia has been a Lead Veterinarian Animal Health and Welfare covering bovine health and surveillance at the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs and is Co-Lead of the Bovine Ontario Animal Health Network. 


Dr. Chung Yeen Mac

January 23rd
Specialty: Fear Free
Dr. Chung Yeen Mac is the owner and veterinarian of Mac Animal Clinic in Oakville. She is passionate about fear-free practice in veterinary medicine, to reduce stress and improve quality of care for all her patients. She also has a special interest in veterinary dermatology. Dr. Mac holds a degree in Veterinary Medicine from Bristol Veterinary School, and she is a Level 3 Certified fear-free professional, in addition to her entire clinic being a Fear-Free certified practice. 


Dr. Melissa MacIver

January 23rd
Specialty: Small Animal Surgery
I completed my Bachelor of Science in Bio-Medical Science at the University of Guelph, followed by my Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the Ontario Veterinary College in 2013. I completed a small animal rotating internship in private practice at the 404 Veterinary Emergency and Referral Hospital in Newmarket, Ontario in 2014, followed by a small animal surgical internship at the University of Florida in 2015. I completed a Master of Science at Texas A&M University, evaluating stem cell therapy and its use in repairing cartilage defects while concurrently completing a small animal surgical residency (2015-2019). I then joined the Ontario Veterinary College as an Assistant Professor in Small Animal Surgery in September 2019 and became a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons in March 2020 (after passing my final board examination). 
During my undergraduate degree and first year of veterinary school, I competed for Canada in synchronized skating. I have a one-eyed, 3-year-old white Labrador retriever rescued from Texas named Bauer and a 13-year-old domestic shorthaired cat named Moxy. I really enjoy teaching the veterinary students and helping students feel more confident and comfortable with surgical techniques. 


Dr. Diego Gomez-Nieto

January 23rd
Specialty: Large Food Animal Medicine
Dr. Gomez is a Doctor in Veterinary Medicine and graduated from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in 2006. In 2010, he moved to Canada where he competed a one-year rotating internship in large animal medicine and surgery at the Ontario Veterinary College. In 2011, Dr. Gomez moved to Prince Edward Island and completed his residency in Large Animal Internal Medicine at the Atlantic Veterinary College in 2014. The same year he became a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. In 2014, Dr. Gomez started a PhD in veterinary infectious diseases in the Ontario Veterinary College’s department of Pathobiology at the University of Guelph, which he completed in 2017. From 2017 to 2019, Dr. Gomez was an assistant Professor of Large Animal Internal Medicine in the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Florida. Since 2020, Dr Gomez has been an assistant professor in the Department of Clinical Studies at the University of Guelph. Dr. Gomez’s research interests include colitis in horses, neonatal calf diarrhea, acid-base disorders and fluid therapy in critically ill patients, and microbiota assessment in mammals. 


Dr. David Pearl

January 23rd
Specialty: Epidemiology 
David Pearl (DVM, PhD) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Population Medicine.  His research interests center on the use of quantitative methods to study the epidemiology of zoonotic and animal diseases and enhance disease surveillance. These quantitative methods include multi-level statistical modeling and a variety of statistical techniques designed for the analysis of spatial and molecular data. His projects have involved a variety of pathogens, such as E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella, Campylobacter, and antimicrobial resistant organisms, in a number of host species including humans, cattle, dogs, poultry, swine, and wildlife. 


Dr. Kevin Finora

January 23rd
Specialty: Oncology
Dr. Kevin Finora earned both his B.Sc. and DVM degrees from the University of Guelph and completed a Rotating Internship in Small Animal Medicine and Surgery at Michigan Veterinary Specialists (MVS)Dr. Finora co-directed the ER Service and supervised the intern program at MVS for 2 yearsHe then completed both a Small Animal Internal Medicine Residency and an Oncology Residency at the Animal Medical Center in New York CityAfterwards, he headed the Oncology Service and ran the Intern program at VEC in Toronto for 7 yearDr. Finora has been running the Oncology Service at Central Toronto Veterinary Referral Clinic for 8 years.