From the love of animals and the underwater world came the most unique and amazing veterinarians on Earth, Dr. Jessie Sanders. Dr. Sanders, one of the first certified aquatic veterinarians, combines a dedicated passion for excellence in veterinary medicine with the underserved aquatic pet community and created a one-of-a-kind veterinary practice. Armed with her exceptional skill set and education, Dr. Sanders is fully committed to changing the international mindset of pet fish medicine one owner at a time.
The owner of Aquatic Veterinary Services, Dr. Sanders has made it her mission to bring dedicated veterinary service to all pet fish owners. Starting the super-specialized veterinary practice in 2013, Dr. Sanders has dedicated all her time and energy into creating incalculable value for all fish owners. The practice has expanded its service area and service offerings considerably, adding the first west coast aquatic veterinary hospital in January of 2016.
Aquatic Veterinary Services Mission Statement
Aquatic Veterinary Services promotes and provides the best quality of life possible for all aquatic animals. We accomplish this by offering ongoing client and public education at all levels of husbandry and pet care, and by providing exceptional veterinary service both off and on-site. We continually strive to be the frontrunner in aquatic veterinary medicine and surgery. We provide the best service to our clients and patients through extensive staff education and training. By passing our outstanding breadth of knowledge on to our clients, we provide aquatic pet parents with all the skills and resources necessary to give their pets the best life possible.
From the small agricultural town of Durham, CT, Dr. Sanders grew up consumed with a love of the outdoors, science and math. An unusually bright student, Dr. Sanders excelled from a young
age. The daughter of two engineers and the oldest of two daughters, the young Dr. Sanders pleaded with her parents for a pet kitten. She would go to the library and borrow the same book over a dozen times on how to take care of a new kitten in order to prove to her parents that she could be responsible. In the end, her determination resulted in a little kitten named Frisco. He was the best friend a little girl could have, who never tired of snuggling up for a nap or lounging in the sunny catnip patch. Frisco, along with his sister, Tiggy, and his other brother, a brown lab named Tom, sparked a deep dedication in Dr. Sanders to caring for our fuzzy family members.
Dr. Sanders attended the University of Rhode Island to pursue a love of marine science. Stemming from the fascination over her father’s career as an oceanographer, Dr. Sanders went on to receive a Bachelors in Science in Marine Biology, graduating Magna Cum Laude with minors in Computer Science and General Business. Whenever she was not attending classes or studying, Dr. Sanders volunteered her time at Mystic Aquarium. Her time
spent volunteering with the fish and invertebrate department opened a gateway to several aquatic career paths. Working with so many fish species sparked a keen interest in their care and husbandry. Always wanting to know more, Dr. Sanders doggedly harassed all members of the staff with questions about animal health and care. Following the veterinary team on their rounds of the exhibits, a career path was chosen.
Straight from URI, Dr. Sanders started her veterinary training at Tufts University. With a steadfast resolve, Dr. Sanders announced her chosen field of aquatic veterinary medicine during orientation her first year, which was met with considerable confusion from both her classmates and the staff. This unique field was almost unheard of at the time and often labeled Dr. Sanders as unintelligent or foolhardy. Seeing that Tufts was not going to encourage her chosen specialty, Dr. Sanders looked outside her immediate community for more information on an aquatic veterinary career path to follow.
Dismayed by her lack of support at Tufts, Dr. Sanders came across AQUAVET, a joint summer program offered by Cornell University and the
University of Pennsylvania. The sole goal of AQUAVET: educating veterinary students about aquatic animal medicine. One hour after finding the website, her application was submitted. Doing a little more research, Dr. Sanders found a non-conflicting program called MARVET, offered that summer on Grand Cayman Island through St. Matthew’s University. Another application sailed out the door. As luck would have it, Dr. Sanders was accepted to both programs, and in the summer of 2010, found the community she was destined to be a part of.
What AQUAVET and MARVET offer veterinary students, along with a few other programs, is not just education and skills, but access to the aquatic veterinarian network. Hidden just on the edges of the veterinary community, the aquatic veterinary field is a vast network of different specialties ranging from invertebrates to fish to mammals. Within these two summer programs, Dr. Sanders found where she fit in the veterinary community. She headed back to finish her degree at Tufts University with a strengthened resolve and an entire community of mentors to back her up.
Graduating from veterinary school, Dr. Sanders set out to start her career in aquatic veterinary medicine. Moving to Santa Cruz, CA after losing a bet with her boyfriend, Dr. Sanders started looking for a “normal” veterinary job working in a small animal practice that she could add on her aquatic skills. After 6 months, 2 interviews and one very sad job offer, Dr. Sanders decided to take after her mentor, Dr. Helen Sweeney, owner of Aquatic Veterinary Services of Western New York, and start a mobile aquatic veterinary practice. Sorting through the legal paperwork, equipment wrangling and basic business startup launched Aquatic Veterinary Services in March of 2013. The easy part behind her now, Dr. Sanders set out to change the mentality of her local fish community: calling your local fish veterinarian for help when something goes wrong rather than consult Dr. Google. A constant battle in a new specialty field of veterinary medicine, Dr. Sanders toiled tirelessly to challenge the ideas that pet fish owners had about fish health and care.
Now in its 4 year, Aquatic Veterinary Services is ready to change the world. Dr. Sanders sits at the front of a new wave of veterinary medicine. The world needs to see pet fish on the same level as cats or dogs, and require of pet owners the same standards, no matter if their pet runs or swims. Fish deserve to be happy and healthy, free from stress and disease, living their best lives possible. It is the sole purpose of Dr. Sanders to provide all pet fish owners with the education and guidance they require to be the best pet parents possible.