Veterinary Bios

Consulting Veterinarians Contribute to the VPI Pet HealthZone

The VPI Pet HealthZone turns to the veterinary experts when writing about all things pet health related. The esteemed veterinarians listed below are those who have offered sage advice in many of our articles and, in some cases, written an article themselves. This team of contributors is also on hand to ensure that the content we deliver to our readers is accurate and up to date with current veterinary practices.

  1. Dr. Cori Gross
  2. Dr. Jennifer Hawkins
  3. Dr. Justine Lee
  4. Dr. Carol McConnell
  5. Dr. Ingrid Pyka
  6. Dr. David W. Reinhard
Dr. Cori Gross

Cori Gross, DVM

Dr. Gross received her veterinary degree from Washington State University in 2003. Since then, she has practiced veterinary medicine in Las Vegas and Seattle, and is presently a field veterinarian for VPI Pet Insurance.

Currently, Dr. Gross divides her time between educating veterinary students and hospitals about pet insurance, practicing in feline-only medicine, and volunteering at a local cat shelter.

Her areas of special interest include feline behavior and shelter medicine.


Jennifer Hawkins, DVM

Dr. Jennifer Hawkins and Ernie

A contributing editor on the VPI Pet HealthZone, Dr. Hawkins received her veterinary degree from the University of California, Davis, and practices in Orange County, Calif., where she also works at local animal shelters.

Dr. Hawkins is also is an advisory faculty member for aspiring veterinary technologists at California State Polytechnic University Pomona.

She is an active member of the Southern California Veterinary Medical Association where she serves as president on the Board of Trustees.


Justine Lee, DVM, DACVECC

Dr. Justine Lee

Dr. Lee is a board-certified veterinary specialist in both emergency critical care (DACVECC) and toxicology (DABT). She is the CEO and founder of VetGirl, a subscription-based podcast service offering RACE-approved veterinary continuing education. Previously, she was on faculty at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine and was the Associate Director of Veterinary Services at Pet Poison Helpline.

Dr. Lee has been published in numerous veterinary journals, including the Journal of American Veterinary Medical Association, the Journal of Veterinary Emergency Critical Care, and the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine. She has also published several veterinary book chapters, and has been aired on radio and television to promote preventative medicine, animal health, and the overall well-being of pets. Dr. Lee is the former columnist at Prevention magazine and various other breed newsletters. She is the current contributing blogger to Pet Health Network. She lectures throughout the world on emergency, critical care, toxicology, and social media.


Dr. Carol McConnell

Carol McConnell, DVM, MBA

Dr. McConnell is vice president of Underwriting and chief veterinary medical officer for VPI Pet Insurance.

After unexpectedly developing allergies to animals while in small animal practice, Dr. McConnell decided she could continue to contribute to the veterinary field by improving companion animal health through practice management and pet insurance. Her goal is to empower pet owners to make optimal health care decisions for their pets.

Dr. McConnell holds a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University, a Master of Business Administration from Purdue University and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from University of California, Davis.


Dr. Ingrid Pyka

Ingrid Pyka, DVM

A contributing editor on the VPI Pet HealthZone, Dr. Pyka received her veterinary degree from Colorado State University in 1992. She spent several years in Phoenix, Ariz., where she worked in a private small animal clinic as well as her own 24-hour mobile veterinary house call service. Dr. Pyka also spent several years organizing emergency veterinary clinics, developing practice protocols and conducting staff training.

She now practices in a busy, seven-doctor, small animal general practice. As a veterinarian, Dr. Pyka focuses on the best medicine for the patient. She emphasizes educating her clients to give them the tools to best care for their furry companions. She strongly feels that combining the highest quality medicine with complete client understanding allows patients and their owners to receive the best and most appropriate veterinary care.


David W. Reinhard, DVM

Dr. Dave Reinhard

As one of the founding shareholders of VPI Pet Insurance, David W. Reinhard, DVM, has nurtured a well-established career in the veterinary industry.

After receiving a degree in Veterinary Medicine from the University of California, Davis, Dr. Reinhard began his practice career at a mixed animal practice in Rialto, Calif., taking care of farm animals as well as pets. In 1975, he opened the doors to his own practice, the Santa Ana Animal Clinic, in Santa Ana, Calif., for small pets including dogs, cats, birds and exotic animals. Twenty-five years after opening his own veterinary clinic, Dr. Reinhard joined VPI full-time as the assistant medical director and, thereafter, as the vice president of Underwriting and chief veterinary medical officer. He retired in 2007 and is currently retained by VPI as a veterinary consultant.

When he isn’t busy collaborating on VPI’s Pet HealthZone and other VPI projects, Dr. Reinhard can usually be found doing one of his favorite things: golfing, fishing, reading, traveling or fine-tuning his photography skills.


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