VCA San Francisco Veterinary Specialists

Our History

San Francisco Veterinary Specialists (SFVS) was established in 1997 by local internal medicine veterinary specialist Dr. Alan Stewart, along with veterinary dermatologist Dr. Carlo Vitale and holistic specialist Dr. Cheryl Schwartz. At the time, their long-term goal was to offer the best in Western and Eastern medicine, and they spearheaded the first multispecialty veterinary hospital in San Francisco.

Over the years, SFVS grew, adding new specialists, doctors and staff. The practice welcomed internal medicine specialists Dr. Craig Maretzki and Dr. Jamie Anderson along with oncologist Dr. Carlos Rodriguez. In keeping with the commitment to provide the highest quality of care, the practice also was pleased to announce the addition of surgeon Dr. Philip Watt.

At this time, the practice was housed on California Street in the Laurel Heights area of San Francisco, on the second floor of the Presidio Way Veterinary Hospital. SFVS remained here for five years until growing pains would push us to find a space where our practice services could expand to meet referring doctors' needs.

The hallmark of SFVS development occurred in August 2003, when, with a staff of nine doctors and 20 support personnel, the practice moved to 600 Alabama Street in the Mission/Potrero Hill District. The historical building, which once housed a renowned manufacturer of ornamental hardwood floors and was the former site of Fredericksburg Bottling Works, has many desirable features, including over 11,000 square feet of space with exposed brick walls and wood beams.

The vision was to create a warm, inviting hospital with calming earth tones, while retaining its urban aesthetic and state-of-the-art functionality. Our efforts related to the practice space are recognized daily by our patients and clients and by the annual Veterinary Economics magazine Hospital Design of the Year Award, receiving a notation of merit.

In October 2004, the hospital announced the addition of our emergency services practice. The after-hours practice extends services for patients, ensuring care 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Another big development in 2004 was the first-ever intern class at SFVS. Each year, the practice recruits six full-time interns from universities across the United States through an intern-matching program. The program provides a unique opportunity to rotate through all the specialties, giving our interns a learning experience unparalleled in the Bay Area. Several of our interns have gone on to residency programs in specialties such as dermatology and emergency medicine.

In 2010, SFVS merged with VCA Specialty Animal Hospitals. Now known as VCA San Francisco Veterinary Specialists, our doctors and staff are proud to continue our legacy of excellence in high-quality veterinary care with additional, enhanced resources.

Through exceptional service, continued innovation, compassion for our clients and patients, and hard work, we look forward to serving the Bay Area community for many years to come.  


General Practice

We have over 600 animal hospitals in 41 states and 4 Canadian provinces that are staffed by more than 3,000 fully-qualified, dedicated and compassionate veterinarians, with more than 400 being board-certified specialists.

The nationwide VCA family of general practice hospitals give your pet the very best in medical care, providing a full range of general medical and surgical services as well as specialized treatments such as wellness, spay/neuter, advanced diagnostic services (MRI/CT Scan), internal medicine, oncology, ophthalmology, dermatology, cardiology, neurology, boarding, and grooming. Services may vary by location.

Our family of pet hospitals stands out by delivering the greatest resources in order provide the highest quality care available for your pets. By maintaining the highest standards of pet health care available anywhere, we emphasize prevention as well as healing. We provide continuing education programs to our doctors and staff and promote the open exchange of professional knowledge and expertise. And finally, we have established a consistent program of procedures and techniques, proven to be the most effective in keeping pets healthy.

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Emergency Care

In an Emergency ...

1. Contact your general veterinarian's office. They may be more closely located and available to assist you.

2. If it is after hours or VCA SFVS is more conveniently located, call us at (415) 401-9200 and provide the client service representative with:

  • Your name and your pet's name
  • Your location and estimated time of arrival
  • Your pet's emergency

3. Get support to safely transport your pet to VCA SFVS. If you have medical records related to your pet’s emergency, please bring those with you.

24/7 Urgent Care and Emergency Services

  • Complete intensive care unit (ICU) laboratory
  • Endoscopic foreign body removal
  • Full range of blood products
  • Oxygen therapy
  • 24-hour ICU monitoring by veterinary nurses trained in critical care, surgery and internal medicine
  • Emergency surgical service
  • Around-the-clock access to SFVS specialists
  • Post-operative care for referring veterinarians' surgical cases

We are committed to keeping your trusted primary care veterinarian informed and in the loop!