Medical Director

PaulaDvorchakPaula Dvorchak, DVM

Dr. Paula Dvorchak grew up in a small town in Iowa about 30 minutes east of Iowa City. She began working with animals at a very young age, volunteering for the local Humane Society alongside her mother.

She attended De Paul University in Chicago, and moved to northern California after graduation, where she received her Master’s degree in Animal Behavior and Physiology from San Francisco State University.

In 2006, Dr. Dvorchak received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of California at Davis. As part of her training, she participated in foreign externships to Spain and South Africa, studying exotic diseases affecting dogs and cats. She also volunteered for the Rural Area Veterinary Services, a division of the Humane Society which provides free veterinary services to Indian Reservations.

Following her graduation, Dr. Dvorchak moved to San Diego to be closer to her family. She spent a year working for the California Veterinary Specialists as an emergency and critical-care veterinarian, and then transferred into general practice.

Dr. Dvorchak lives in Encinitas with her husband David, their three beautiful children, and their three cats (Shiva, Buddha, and Nala) and three dogs (Zoe, Kona, and Lilly).

She enjoys travelling, gardening, and spending time with her family – and is a big Chargers fan who seldom misses a game.

jillpetersonJill Peterson, DVM

Dr. Jill Peterson was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. She spent her childhood surrounded by animals, showing both Saint Bernards and Quarter Horses. She attended Purdue University, where she completed her undergraduate education in Biology before moving on to Purdue’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

During her free time at Purdue, Dr. Peterson volunteered at a therapeutic horseback riding program for disabled children. This experience, along with her time spent “at the barn” as a child, gave her a strong understanding of the human – animal bond.

After graduating from veterinary school, Dr. Peterson completed an internship in small animal medicine and surgery at the Sacramento Animal Medical Group in Sacramento, California. She has practiced at Mission Animal & Bird Hospital since 2004 and is Director of Medicine and Surgery.

Dr. Peterson and her husband, Matt, currently live in Oceanside with their dog, Harry, a cat named Skylee, and Katie the turtle. They enjoy running, gardening, and visiting with family.


BS (with highest distinction) – 1999 Purdue University – Biology
DVM (with distinction) – 2003 Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine
Internship in small animal medicine and surgery – 2004 Sacramento Animal Medical Group


Member of American Veterinary Medical Association


Meghan Landen, DVM

Dr. Landen grew up in Omaha, Nebraska in a family full of pets of all sizes, from hamsters to dogs to horses.

Her ambition to become a veterinarian started at a young age when the family vet, also a family friend, promised her a job at his clinic as soon as she could drive. He made good on that promise, and she worked with him all through high school and college, learning about small-animal patient care and solidifying her desire to become a veterinarian herself.

She graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a bachelors degree in veterinary science and from Kansas State University with a doctorate in veterinary medicine.

She completed her small-animal internship at the VCA Emergeny Animal Hospital and Referral Center here in San Diego, where she received advanced training under a board-certified emergency and critical care specialist, working with internal medicine specialists, board-certified surgeons, and a dermatologist. She joined the Mission Animal & Bird Hospital team in 2009.

Dr. Landen shares her home with her Papillon Lucy, and the two enjoy spending time with family and friends, going hiking, kayaking, and working out at the gym. She lives a healthy, active lifestyle and encourages her furry patients to do the same!
She looks forward to meeting you and your furry family members on your next visit to the hospital.



Judit Szamos, DVM

Dr. Judit Szamos was born in Budapest, Hungary and moved to California at the age of 4. She grew up in the San Fernando Valley and then moved to the Central Coast as a teenager. She graduated from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo with a BS in Biological Sciences. She attended St. George’s University in Grenada for veterinary school and completed her clinical year at Oregon State University.

After vet school, Dr. Szamos completed a year-long small animal rotating internship at Veterinary Medical and Surgical Group (VMSG) in Ventura, CA. During the internship, she worked with specialists in Internal Medicine, Surgery, Emergency and Critical Care, Oncology, and Radiology; she also gained experience in General Practice at a small animal practice in the area.
Some of her interests include diagnostic ultrasound, internal medicine, and preserving the human-animal bond.

Besides small animal medicine, Dr. Szamos is interested in wildlife and enjoys using her veterinary skills and knowledge to help injured wild animals – she is excited to be able to work with Project Wildlife in this endeavor. She enjoys being outdoors, hiking, scuba-diving, birding, traveling, and exploring the world around her with her boyfriend Jeremy. Her cat, Paco Loco, was adopted from MABH’s Last Chance at Life rescue group, and keeps her entertained and amused with his antics at home; he loves watching birds on the balcony and drinking out of the water faucet!

Dr. Szamos is happy to be part of your pet’s heath care team here at Mission Animal and Bird Hospital!


Dr-Tanya-Coty-Mission-Animal-Hosp-22Dr. Tanya Coty

Dr. Tanya Coty was born not far from here in Apple Valley, CA, but, at the hands of fate, was swiftly carried off to the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia. She grew up around Philadelphia while diligently pursuing her studies – even when in the hospital with a cracked rib and hip – and went on to complete her undergraduate degree in Biology at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. As a student, Dr. Coty gained experience with an array of animals by working as a veterinary nurse in a cat clinic, volunteering with an equine NICU, and completing an externship working with reptiles at the Philadelphia Zoo. While at the university, she was also swept off her feet by the love of her life, a handsome chemistry student named Igor.

After getting married, Tanya moved to Urbana, Illinois to attend veterinary school while Igor pursued his PhD. As a veterinary student, Dr. Coty voluntered with the University of Illinois’s wildlife clinic, cultivating her interest in wildlife and exotic animal medicine. She also spent several years working in the medical department of a local humane society, deepening her appreciation for the role veterinarians play in animal welfare. Not one to let life pass her by, she also took time to explore the world, including a 2 week trip to assist in a free veterinary clinic in the Galapagos, a roadtrip along old Route 66, and several hiking and backpacking trips.

Having fallen in love with California on their roadtrip, Dr. Coty and her husband vowed to make it their home. They currently live in Oceanside with three cats and a box turtle. In her free time, Tanya enjoys running, hiking, and traveling. As a new graduate, she is excited to complete an internship at Mission Animal and Bird Hospital and learn from the amazing team here!

Dr Samantha Kent Mission Animal HospDr. Samantha Kent, DVM, cVMA

Dr. Samantha Kent is originally from Pennsylvania. She attended NYU and Villanova University for her undergraduate degree in Biology and completed veterinary school at Tufts University in Massachusetts. She moved to San Diego to complete advanced training focusing on emergency medicine and critical care. Dr. Kent then worked as a clinician at a busy emergency hospital in San Diego for a number of years before relocating to North County. She is certified in basic and advanced veterinary CPR and is also certified in veterinary medical acupuncture and available for acupuncture consultations. Dr. Kent’s medical interests include emergency and critical care and pain management.

Outside of work Dr. Kent loves spending time with her family and traveling. She lives in San Marcos with her husband, son, and seven furry family members. Dr. Kent is very excited to join the Mission Animal and Bird team!

demelDr. Danielle DeMel

Dr. Danielle DeMel grew up in the historic southern California town of San Juan Capistrano. She grew up riding quarter horses and competing in western riding events and as well as participating in 4-H. Her experiences with horses and her two Labrador retrievers cultivated a drive to enter the veterinary profession at a young age. She attended California Polytechnic University, Pomona where she earned a bachelors of science in animal sciences. While attending Cal Poly, she was captain of the equestrian team and became a nationally ranked college equestrian, allowing her to travel across the nation multiple times for competition.

She graduated from Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, Ca allowing her to stay close to family and her beloved childhood horse, Tripper. While in school, she was very active member of the student body and explored the many facets of the profession, publishing research with her colleagues, working at an equine clinic and completing numerous veterinary externships in equine and small animal medicine. During her senior year of vet school, she honed in her interests in small animal medicine and graduated as a member of the Phi Zeta honor’s society.

Dr. DeMel now lives in Ocean Beach, San Diego where she enjoys living close to the beach to enjoy running, yoga, water sports and horse back riding. Dr. DeMel is very excited to start off her career learning from and working with the wonderful staff and clients of mission animal and bird hospital.