Welcome, Dr. Barragan!

The Medical District Veterinary Clinic is excited to introduce Dr. Jeanette Barragan, who joins our practice on June 15. Dr. Barragan has lived on the southwest side of Chicago her whole life – except for the nine years she attended the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign for a bachelor’s degree in integrated biology, a minor in chemistry, and to earn her veterinary degree.

For the past two years she has practiced in a Naperville clinic, and she is looking forward to becoming part of the care team at the Medical District Veterinary Clinic.

“I have actually been bringing my own cats to the Medical District Veterinary Clinic since before I entered my veterinary studies,” she says. “I was always impressed by the friendly staff and the high standards of care the doctors provided.”

My focus as a practitioner is to provide outstanding preventative and medical care, and to develop lifelong relationships with my patients and their families.

Dr. Jeanette Barragan

The collaborative atmosphere of a multi-doctor practice will be a welcome change for Dr. Barragan, who has been the sole veterinarian at the clinic in Naperville. She’s also eager to see a more diverse clientele at the Harrison Street location, which will reflect the neighborhood she grew up in.

“My focus as a practitioner is to provide outstanding preventative and medical care, and to develop lifelong relationships with my patients and their families,” she says. “My goal is to build trust with pet owners by ensuring the best experience for them. That means offering a variety of treatment options and supporting my clients as they choose what’s right for their family.”

Dr. Barragan’s dream of becoming a veterinarian started when she was just a child. As she pursued this goal, she realized that community outreach and serving pet owners without access to quality veterinary care was something she wanted to incorporate into her professional life. She also hopes to get involved at animal shelters in her time away from the clinic.

Her own pet family currently consists of three cats: Mia, Finn, and Dory. “Of course, I love caring for all dogs and cats, but I am partial to cats,” she admits.

Welcome, Dr. Calderon!

Dr. Calderon celebrated entering her final year of veterinary college after the White Coat Ceremony.

Dr. Angélica Calderón has been a proud U of I student ever since attending the University of Illinois at Chicago and obtaining her bachelor’s degree in biological sciences and psychology. She went on to attend the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine Urbana-Champaign to obtain her doctorate in veterinary medicine.

Born and raised in Chicago—and not scared away by the snow (yet)—she is excited to practice veterinary medicine at the Medical District Veterinary Clinic starting June 15.

Dr. Calderón spent a week learning at our clinic when she was a first-year veterinary student and later worked here as an assistant on her spring and winter breaks during veterinary school.

“I loved everyone at the clinic so much,” she says. “I knew that was where I wanted to practice once I graduated from veterinary school.”

As she starts her veterinary career, Dr. Calderón proudly states, “This is a very exciting time in my life. I’m living the dream I had always wished for and want to make a difference in the lives of many pets out there.”

She has a passion for small animal medicine and is very interested in small animal dentistry and imaging, including ultrasonography and radiology. In veterinary school she volunteered at the Wildlife Medical Clinic, and she also has an interest in small exotic companion animals.

“I’m very excited to start my career and see where life takes me,” she says.

Dr. Calderon with just a few of the furry, finned, or feathery friends she shares her home with.

In her free time Dr. Calderón enjoys spending time with her family and significant other. “It has been very hard to be away from them for the past four years since starting veterinary school,” she says.

She also enjoys cuddling next to her various fur babies (Daisy, Wendy, Simba, Mickey, Nino, Princess, and Bebe).

“They’re all chihuahuas, so it’s basically one large dog,” she jokes.

And if seven chihuahuas wasn’t enough, she also cares for various other pets, including Sparky, a red Amazon parrot; Cotorrito, a Quaker parrot; two cockatiels; four parakeets; and a 20-gallon fish tank filled with mollies, guppies, snails, ghost shrimp, and an albino catfish. When she’s not at her personal home zoo, she’s catching a baseball game or out enjoying the city.

Dra. Angélica Calderón siempre ha sido una orgullosa estudiante de la Universidad de Illinois desde que asistió a la Universidad de Illinois en Chicago y recibió su bachillerato de Biología y Psicología, a asistir y graduarse del Colegió de Medicina Veterinaria de la Universidad de Illinois en Urbana Champaign.

Nacida y criada en Chicago, Illinois y no asustada por la nieve (todavía), se quedará en el área de Chicago para ejercer la carrera de medicina veterinaria en la Clínica Veterinaria del Distrito Médico. Ella visitó nuestra clínica en su primer año de ser estudiante, e incluso trabajó aquí como asistente en sus vacaciones de primavera e invierno.

“Quería tanto a todos en MDVC que sabía que era allí donde quería trabajar cuando me graduara de la escuela de veterinaria”.

Siendo una recién graduada y ahora comenzando su carrera veterinaria, Dra. Calderón dice con orgullo, “Este es un momento muy emocionante en mi vida. Estoy viviendo el sueño que siempre había deseado y quiero marcar la diferencia en la vida de muchas mascotas”.

Dra. Calderón cuidó un águila calva en la Wildlife Medical Clinic.

Dra. Calderón tiene una pasión por la medicina de animales pequeños y está muy interesada en la odontología y radiología incluidas la ultrasonografía. Mientras estaba en la escuela, fue voluntaria en la Wildlife Medical Clinic y desde ahí tuvo interés en los animales de compañía exóticos.

“Estoy muy emocionada de comenzar mi carrera y ver a dónde me lleva la vida”.

En su tiempo libre, disfruta pasar tiempo con su familia y su pareja, ya que ha sido “muy difícil estar lejos de ellos durante los últimos 4 años desde que comencé la escuela de veterinaria”.

También le gusta acurrucarse junto a sus varias mascotas (Daisy, Wendy, Simba, Mickey, Nino, Princess, Bebe) “todos son chihuahuas, así que básicamente es un perro grande”.

Y si eso no fuera suficiente, también cuida a varias otras mascotas, como Sparky un loro rojo del Amazonas, Cotorrito un loro cuáquero, dos cacatúas, 4 periquitos y una pecera de 20 galones llena de mollys, guppys, caracoles, camarones fantasma y un bagre albino. Si no está en el zoológico personal de su casa, está viendo un partido de béisbol o disfrutando de la bella ciudad de Chicago.

Welcome, Dr. Valbuena!

Dr. Valbuena and her cat Ziggy.

Medical District Veterinary Clinic is excited to announce the May 16 arrival of Dr. Ana Valbuena. She joins us after three years in practice at a Lincoln Park clinic and brings a strong commitment to low-stress handling for pets and people.

“I really want pet owners to see that they are members of the care team,” she says. “I want everyone to be part of the examination and the conversation.”

She also brings a multinational life history: she was born in Cuba, raised in Nicaragua, and lived in Miami, Fla., before coming to Illinois for school. By comparison, her route to a veterinary career has been an unwavering straight line.

“My parents will tell you I’m a very decisive person,” says Dr. Valbuena. “Since a young age there has never been any doubt in my mind about being a veterinarian.” Once she set her mind to this goal, she was determined to overcome any obstacles.

Dedicated to Helping Clients

She recalls that in the Hispanic community in Florida, accessing veterinary care was often very daunting. “There were many barriers besides just the language barrier,” she says. “People felt they couldn’t do it on their own.”

Seeing those barriers, and discovering after completing her veterinary degree that there were so few bilingual veterinarians in practice, motivates Dr. Valbuena to be a resource for pet owners who feel more comfortable communicating in Spanish than in English. We know this skill will be a wonderful asset for our clients.

 “My first few years in practice I spent time learning who I am as a veterinarian and what kind of practice I want to be in,” she says. “I want to be someone who can reduce stress for other people, whether that is clients whose first language is Spanish or soon-to-be veterinarians who need encouragement to make a confident transition into being a practicing veterinarian.”

Instilling Confidence in Students

As a fourth-year veterinary student at the University of Illinois, Dr. Valbuena completed a clinical rotation at the Medical District Veterinary Clinic. She really loved the clinic culture and clientele, so when a position opened up here, she jumped at the chance to join the practice.

She says regularly engaging with veterinary students from Urbana while serving clients at the Medical District Vet Clinic will be a huge positive for her.

“Students who are at the midway point between being at the university and being in the real world can benefit so much from their time in our clinic,” she believes. “It’s a chance for them to shape what sort of practitioner they will be. I look forward to telling them ‘You got this!’ They can learn to have confidence in themselves and not feel that they must be perfect. The transition doesn’t have to be scary.

“That’s another aspect of the low-stress philosophy embraced at Medical District Veterinary Clinic! We minimize stress not only for our animal patients and clients, but also for the students who will soon be veterinarians.”

A Soft Spot for Cats

Dr. Valbuena has a particular fascination for feline behavior. “I love helping owners gain deeper insights into these strange misunderstood little creatures,” she says.

“While people know their cats very well, the cats may be giving subtle signs that their people overlook. By learning about these silent signals, owners may be able to spot medical problems earlier.

“I love helping in little ways that make things better for the cat and for the people!”

Her own family includes a ginger cat named Weasley (after Ron and his ginger siblings in Harry Potter) and a cat named Ziggy (because Dr. Valbuena is a huge fan of David Bowie). The name of her hamster, Armie Hamster, seems self-explanatory.

Dr. Valbuena enjoys city life and the diversity Chicago offers. After spending most of her life closer to the tropics, she is also surprisingly enamored of experiencing four seasons in Illinois.

“Some people are not happy with winter weather, but I find it so interesting and a fun time!”

Nos complace darle la bienvenida a la Dra. Ana Valbuena a Medical District Veterinary Clinic. Ella se une a nosotros después de tres años en una clínica en Lincoln Park y trae con ella un enfoque en el manejo de bajo estrés para mascotas.

“Realmente quiero que los dueños de las mascotas vean que son miembros del equipo”, dijo la Dra. Valbuena. “Quiero que todos sean participe en la conversación sobre el cuido de su mascota”.

También trae una historia de vida multinacional: nació en Cuba, se crió en Nicaragua y vivió en Miami, Florida, antes de venir a Illinois para sus estudios. En comparación, su ruta a la carrera veterinaria ha sido una línea recta e invariable.

“Mis padres te dirían que soy una persona muy determinada”, dice la Dra. Valbuena. “Desde muy joven, nunca dudé que sería veterinaria”.  Una vez que se fijó en su mente en este objetivo, estaba decidida a superar cualquier obstáculo.

Dedicada a ayudar a los clientes

Ella recuerda que en la comunidad Hispana en Florida, el acceso a la atención veterinaria podía ser muy intimidante. “Hay muchas barreras además del idioma”, dice. “Es fácil sentirse que uno no puede hacerlo por su cuenta”.

El ver esas barreras, y descubrir que hay tan pocos veterinarios bilingües, motiva a la Dra. Valbuena a ser un recurso para aquellos que se sienten más cómodos comunicándose en español. Nosotros sabemos que el ser bilingüe sera maravilloso para nuestros clientes.

“Pase los primeros años de mi carrera descubriendo quién soy cómo veterinaria y en qué tipo de clínica quiero estar”, dice. “Quiero reducir el estrés para otros; ya sean clientes de habla hispana o futuros veterinarios que necesitan animo y apoyo para completar la transición de estudiante a profesional”.

Infundir confianza en los estudiantes

La Dra. Valbuena completó una rotación clínica en Medical District Veterinary Clinic en su cuarto año como estudiante en la Universidad de Illinois y se enamoró del ambiente de la clínica y los clientes. Cuando se enteró del puesto disponible, aprovecho la oportunidad de unirse a la clinica.

Ella mira la oportunidad de trabajar con los estudiantes de Urbana mientras atiende a los clientes en el Medical District Vet Clinic como algo muy positivo.

“Estudiantes que están en el punto medio entre estar en la universidad y ser profesionales pueden beneficiarse mucho de su tiempo en nuestra clínica”, cree la Dra. Valbuena. “Es una buena oportunidad para que los estudiantes empiezen a pensar que tipo de veterinario quieren ser. Me emociona saber que voy a poder ayudarlos y decirles ‘¡Lo que está para ti, nadie te lo quita! ¡Creo en ti!” Espero que pueda ayudarlos a tener confianza en sí mismos y que sepan que no tienen que ser perfectos. No le tienen que tener miedo a la transición.

“¡Ese es otro aspecto de la filosofía de bajo estrés adoptada por Medical District Veterinary Clinic! Minimizamos el estrés no solo para nuestros pacientes animales y clientes, sino también para los estudiantes veterinarios”.

Intrigada por los gatos

La Dra. Valbuena tiene una fascinación particular por el comportamiento felino. “Me encanta ayudar a profundizar el conocimiento de los gatos, ya que estas criaturas pequeñas a veces son mal entendidas”, dice.

“Aunque los dueños conocen muy bien a sus gatos, los gatos suelen señalar sus emociones de una forma sutil. Al aprender sobre estas señales, podemos ayudar a detectar problemas más temprano.

“¡Me encanta mejorar la relacion entre los dueños y sus gatos!”

Su propia familia incluye un gato de pelirrojo llamado Weasley (en honor a Ron y sus hermanos pelirrojos en Harry Potter), un gato llamado Ziggy (porque la Dra. Valbuena es fan de David Bowie) y un hámster llamado Armie Hamster.

La Dra. Valbuena disfruta de la vida de la ciudad y las diversas oportunidades que ofrece Chicago. Después de pasar la mayoría de su vida en climas mas tropicos, ahora puede disfrutar de las cuatro estaciones en Chicago.

“¡Muchos no disfrutan el clima invernal, pero me parece muy interesante y divertido!”

Introducing Telemedicine for Patients

Due to the extended stay-at-home order, starting Monday, April 13, Medical District Veterinary Clinic will offer telemedicine appointments to continue to support our clients.

Please review the following information before you schedule an appointment:

  • All telemedicine appointments are for established patients who have been seen within the past 12 months. These patients have a current Veterinary-Client-Patient Relationship (VCPR), making telemedicine a legally acceptable form of care
  • Telemedicine appointments can be scheduled for non-emergency sick patients. For example: skin issues, ear infections, lameness, management of chronic conditions, diarrhea, and behavior issues. These appointments will be a convenience for clients, will allow doctors to service more of our clients, and will decrease person-to-person contact.
  • Telemedicine appointments can be scheduled:
    • If the patient is sick and the client is also sick/quarantined/has been exposed to illness
    • If the pet is ill and the client cannot come into the clinic for other reasons
    • If the pet’s illness is not emergent but should be discussed with a doctor
  • Telemedicine appointments will be available Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, between 8 am and 12 pm. (This may change based on demand.)
  • The cost of telemedicine appointments is $30.
  • If during the telemedicine appointment, the doctor deems that the pet should be physically seen, the $30 telemedicine fee will still apply. The exam fee for the in-clinic appointment will be discounted to $40 (from $62) if the in-clinic appointment is scheduled and seen within 72 hours of the telemedicine appointment.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

We’re Here to Support You

Dear Clients and Patients:

I’m writing to let you know that we are here to help you through this tough time.

While this COVID-19 pandemic disrupts our normal lives, we want to provide you with reassurance that Medical District Veterinary Clinic is available to help when your pet has needs. At the same time, as members of the medical community, we have an obligation to help protect the health and safety of our community.

We as veterinarians have taken an oath not only to protect the health and welfare of animals, but also to promote public health. Currently, we are in a public health crisis, and we want to encourage all our clients to do their part and stay home whenever possible.

Due to this crisis, we are working with limited staff and practicing social distancing wherever possible. We have made the following changes to our procedures so that we can meet our clients’ needs while adhering to guidelines for limiting the spread of COVID-19.

  1. We are seeing urgent appointments only.
  2. All owners will be asked to wait in their car during appointments. Doctors will communicate exam findings over the phone and discuss diagnostics.
  3. Payment will be collected over the phone, and the pet will be returned to the car after procedures are completed.
  4. Vaccinations:
    • Puppy and kitten vaccines: We feel these vaccines are very important to the health and safety of these patients and should be continued on recommended normal schedule.
    • Adult pet vaccines: Although vaccines are very important, some vaccinations could be postponed 1 to 2 months, especially for dogs with limited social interaction. If your pet is due for vaccinations, please call us to discuss scheduling options.
  5. Medication pick-up: Curbside service is now available. The owner will be asked to pay over the phone, and medications will be brought to the car.

Thank you for your understanding as we navigate this difficult time. We hope to resume normal operation in early May and will keep you updated as the situation evolves.

If you need additional resources please refer to our Pet FAQ’s.

Drew Sullivan, DVM
Medical Director

Reduced Service: Seeing Sick Patients Only

The situation is very fluid. Please check this post or our Facebook page for updates.

Last updated March 17.

With recent developments in COVID-19, Medical District Veterinary Clinic is implementing reduced service in order to keep our staff, clients, and community safe. (Remember, your pets are not at risk from COVID-19, but having people bringing their pets to a public place increases the risks for people.)

We will continue to see SICK patients only; wellness and routine procedures will be postponed.

If your pet is due for a crucial vaccine, such as rabies, and your pet goes to daycare or boarding, please contact us to find out if an exception can be made.
If you have a fever, cough, sore throat, or possible exposure to COVID-19, please do not come to the clinic. Arrange for someone else to bring your sick pet to see us.
Stay safe! We all need to work together—but at least 6 feet apart—to implement these public health measures.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation! We have the best clients in Chicago! ♥

Thanksgiving Holiday Hours 2019

Our clinic will close at 4 pm on Wednesday, Nov. 27, for the Thanksgiving holiday. We reopen at 7 am on Saturday, Nov. 30.

Wishing everyone a warm and happy holiday!

If you need emergency veterinary care while we are closed, please visit MedVet Chicago, 3123 N. Clybourn Ave., Chicago; (773) 281-7110.

[dog near gourds]

National Bring Your Cat to the Vet Day

anastasia the cat

August 22 is National Bring Your Cat to the Vet Day, which is the purr-fect opportunity to schedule your cat’s routine check-up with us.

Around 83% of cats visit the veterinarian before their first birthday, but more than half don’t return until they become sick or are in pain. When we see our feline patients more regularly, we can positively affect their long-term health by detecting health concerns sooner.

Below are key reasons why it is important to bring your cat for an annual exam:

Cats Age Very Quickly Compared to Humans

A cat reaches the human age of 15 during its first year, and 24 by its second year. Each year after, your cat ages approximately 4 “human years” for every calendar year. Therefore, annual veterinary care is crucial because a lot can happen in 4 years.

Cats Are Masters of Hiding Illness and Pain

Your cat could be developing a health condition long before you notice anything is wrong. You may not recognize some behavior changes as being significant, but subtle or minor changes may help to uncover hidden issues. It is very important for us to see your cats on a regular basis because we are trained to detect a problem before it advances or becomes more difficult to treat.


Over half of all cats are overweight or obese. We like to check your cat’s weight at each visit and provide recommendations to help keep your cat at its ideal weight. A few extra pounds can put your cat at risk for conditions such as diabetes, heart, respiratory, joint, and kidney disease.

Dental Disease

Adult cats have 30 teeth, which equates to a lot of dental care! Periodontal disease is considered the most prevalent disease in cats three years of age and older, and often there are no obvious signs of dental disease.

Most cats with dental disease still eat without a noticeable change in appetite, so it is very important perform routine oral examinations before the disease has progressed to the point of obvious illness.

Preventative Care Is Better Than Reactive Care

Information discussed, along with a thorough physical exam, allows us to create a plan to help your cat remain healthy. Regular exams can help avoid medical emergencies since we can often detect conditions or diseases long before they become significant, painful, or more costly to treat.

Please visit www.catvets.com/cat2vetday for more valuable tips on how to reduce stress during veterinary visits and make the visit as pleasant as possible for your cat.

Amber Slaughter, DVM
Medical District Veterinary Clinic

Pictured above: Anastasia, 15 weeks old, recently came to see us for her first vet visit.  

Veterinary Technicians, Connect with Us!

[tech connecting with puppy patient]

Are you ready to put your clinical skills, communication skills, and caring into practice at a clinic committed to delivering the best veterinary service? The University of Illinois Medical District Veterinary Clinic in Chicago seeks a veterinary technician to be part of our patient-centered, client-focused team.

This full-time (37.5-hour week), civil-service (contract) position requires successful completion of a veterinary technology program accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (veterinary technician – general) or one year of professional experience and certification as veterinary technician by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. The University of Illinois offers generous vacation and sick leave benefits.

View classification specifications:

Please submit a cover letter, resume and contact information for three references to:
Keri Dean
Veterinary Medicine HR
(217) 244-9271

The University of Illinois conducts criminal background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a written contingent offer.

Illinois is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer and welcomes individuals with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and ideas who embrace and value diversity and inclusivity (inclusiveillinois.illinois.edu).

Holiday 2017 Schedule Changes

sleeping kitten

Note these changes when scheduling your next appointment

With holiday season upon us, we wish everyone some quality time with friends and family, as well as a little R&R. The Medical District Veterinary Clinic will have some extra days off and reduced hours. (Please note that we are also closed on Sundays.) Here is our holiday schedule:

Thanksgiving Break

Closed: Thursday, Nov. 23, and Friday, Nov. 24.

We will resume normal hours on Saturday, Nov. 25.

Christmas Break

Closed: Monday, Dec. 25, and Tuesday, Dec. 26.

Reduced hours: We will be open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 27, Thursday, Dec. 28, and Friday, Dec. 29.

New Year’s Day

Closed: Monday, Jan. 1

We will resume normal hours on Tuesday, Jan. 2.