Meet our dedicated veterinarians and outstanding support staff in Highland Park! They care for pets like they care for their own and see veterinary medicine as not only a reason to help animals but to help people, too.
Dr. Eric Ruhland | Owner
Dr. Ruhland is very proud to call St. Paul home and is excited that St. Paul Pet Hospital came to be in Cathedral Hill. He lives within walking distance of St. Paul Pet Hospital with his son, six chickens, and his Labrador Maverick.
Dr. Ruhland was raised on a small dairy farm in central Minnesota near Watkins where his curious mind for science and his love for animals was allowed to flourish. After high school he attended North Dakota State University and graduated with BS degree in Zoology and a minor in Chemistry. Dr. Ruhland left the United States after college and worked in New Zealand before returning in the fall of 2004 to attend the University of Minnesota’s College of Veterinary Medicine. While in Veterinary School Dr. Ruhland placed emphasis on small animal internal medicine and surgery along with traditional veterinary disciplines. Outside of general veterinary practice Dr. Ruhland has special interests in dentistry, dermatology, orthopedic disease, anesthesia, and senior patient care.
In his free time Dr. Eric loves to spend time cooking and gardening. Dr. Eric likes to run marathons/relays, practice yoga, fly fish, and listen to live music. He loves the outdoors and is often out on various camping/fishing adventures with his son and Labrador, Maverick.
Dr. Melinda Lecheler | Associate Veterinarian
Dr. Lecheler is a South Saint Paul native. She lives with her husband, two shelties (Romeo and Fonzie) and two domestic long-haired cats (Luigi and Maverick). She knew from an early age that becoming a veterinarian was in her future. After high school, she attended the University of Minnesota and graduated with BS degree in Animal Science and a minor in Biology. Prior to attending veterinary school, Dr. Lecheler spent several years in veterinary medical sales. While in veterinary school, she developed special interests in dermatology, dentistry, and preventive care. In her free time, Dr. Melinda enjoys traveling to warm weather destinations, going to concerts, and cheering on the Minnesota Wild, Vikings and Twins.
Dr. Hayley Inkpen | Associate Veterinarian
Dr. Hayley Inkpen grew up in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, but is excited to have recently made the move to Minnesota. She lives with her partner, Chris, and their two rescued pitbulls, Maggie and Gordie. After high school, she attended Saint Mary’s University, where she graduated with a BSc, majoring in Biology. She then went straight on to vet school at the Atlantic Veterinary College in Prince Edward Island. Dr. Hayley has a love of all animals, and has worked in wildlife medicine and shelter medicine, as well as at a small animal practice. Her special interests include animal behaviour, dentistry, neurology, and internal medicine. In her free time, Dr. Hayley enjoys running and hiking with her two dogs, and is excited to start exploring the great outdoors that Minnesota has to offer.
Kristy Cash | Associate Veterinarian
Dr. Cash's passion for veterinary medicine started as a child spending summers helping on her grandparents small family farm. Dr. Cash strives to strengthen the relationship between a family and their pet and to provide excellent medical care to all of her patients. Her special interests include ophthalmology, internal medicine and wound management. She recently moved to St. Paul from South Carolina with her husband and their two geriatric Boston Terriers, Tyson and Ivy. Her personal interests include traveling and exploring new cities, rehabilitating stray animals and anything involving puzzles. Her guilty pleasure is watching 'The Bachelor/Bachelorette' series, Survivor and the Amazing Race. Dr. Cash is excited to continue her career in the Twin Cities and welcomes this new adventure!
Dr. Melissa Weisman, DVM | Imaging/Ultrasound
Dr. Melissa Weisman of Minnesota Veterinary Ultrasound provides on-site diagnostic ultrasound services for St. Paul Pet Hospital-Highland. She is a long time native of Minnesota, having earned her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from the University of Minnesota. This was followed by an internship in small animal medicine and surgery at the University of Illinois. She has over twenty years of experience practicing progressive small animal medicine in the Twin Cities. Her extensive ultrasound education includes one-on-one training with veterinary boarded specialists. To date, she has completed over 300 credit hours in specialized veterinary ultrasound training courses taught by nationally and internationally known boarded veterinary radiologists, cardiologists, and internists. Dr. Weisman is an active member of the International Veterinary Ultrasound Society (IVUSS) and serves on the Board as a member at large. Outside of veterinary medicine, Dr. Weisman’s favorite activities include kayaking, baking, and spending time with her pets, friends, and family.
Courtney Porter | Practice Manager
Courtney is the Client Relations Specialist and Office Manager at St. Paul Pet Hospital. She owns two crazy labs; Jax-a white lab and Charlee- a chocolate lab. She has always had a love for animals that stems from having grown up with many. Whether it was finding brand new baby kittens at their family farm, bottle feeding baby sheep and cows or playing with the dogs at her home, she loved the bond she felt with animals. Courtney grew up in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota and now lives with her husband in Farmington. She loves the small-town atmosphere as well as the life the city gives. Courtney has found that St. Paul is a wonderful place to both work and play. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her husband and their dogs as well as their families and friends. She enjoys making crafty things, house makeovers, being outside and traveling when she can. Whether at the front door or over the phone Courtney is always waiting to greet your pets with a smile and plenty of treats!
Maegan Peirce, CVT
Maegan Peirce graduated in December of 2013 from Globe University. She completed a nine-week externship with us, becoming extremely familiar with our hospital and staff. In April 2014, she will officially join our team as a Certified Veterinary Technician. At the early age of 6, Maegan knew she wanted to work with and care for animals. She has a passion for all animals large and small, and a love for cats in particular. She enjoys forming a trusting relationship with clients and their beloved pets. She is aware of how special the human-animal bond is and demonstrates this awareness in her work. Aside from her love of animals, Maegan appreciates the beauty of nature and enjoys spending her free time outdoors. She also loves the adventures of traveling and only has 7 more states in the US to visit until she has been to all 50! Maegan is excited to be a part of the St. Paul Pet team and looks forward to working with you to give your pet the happiest and healthiest of lives.
AJ (Amie Jo), CVT
AJ (Amie Jo) graduated from Argosy University in 2008 with an Associate of Applied Science in Veterinary Technology. She is also qualified in Dentistry and worked with a boarded dentist for 2 1/2 years. AJ has experience working in 3 other general practice hospitals, and also an animal specialty dermatology practice where she remained for 9 1/2 years before she came to work for us in April 2015.
AJ is excited to be a part of our team and believes in educating clients and treating their pets with the care and compassion as she would her own.
New to Saint Paul, and now in love with the city life, AJ lives just a few miles from our hospital with her significant other, her rescue greyhound “For the Fun of It”, and her two long haired cats, Onyx and Willow.
AJ loves the outdoors and is an avid road/mountain biker, and runner. During the summer, she is always outside! She loves adventure, attending local events, visiting breweries, and being with her friends and family.
Gina Milne, CVT
Gina joined our staff in July of 2016. She attended Argosy University in Eagan, MN and completed her internship with St. Paul Pet Hospital, which then led to a full time job! She will be taking her board exams in the fall to become a CVT.
Gina lives in Minneapolis with her crazy kitty named Goose. She has a background in Wildlife Biology, and is passionate about ornithology and ecology. She has previously volunteered and interned at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Roseville, which is where she developed her interest in veterinary medicine.
In her free time, Gina enjoys reading, spending time at the lake, checking out local restaurants and breweries, and spending quality time with friends and family.
Jennifer Gustafson, CVT
Jennifer graduated from Argosy University in December 2010 with an Associates of Applied Science in Veterinary Technology. She worked for a couple of years at a general practice hospital and then worked at an emergency clinic for a few years before coming to work for SPPH in December 2015. She is excited to bring her knowledge of emergency care to the clinic and form close relationships with the clients and their furry family members. When Jennifer is not working at SPPH, she loves to write, paint, sew, bake, spend time with friends and family, go to local events, attend concerts, do yoga, and hang out with her cats and 9 year old Chow Chow, Sandy.
Elizabeth Nulty, Vet Assistant
Liz Nulty is a student at the University of Minnesota and studies Animal Health, Physiology, Chemistry, and Pre-Veterinary Medicine(Yes she is one smart cookie!). She has one dog; she is a Maltese named Molly! After graduating from Hastings High School Liz started at the U of M in the fall of 2012 and is currently majoring in Animal Science with a Pre-Vet emphasis. After completing her undergrad degree she plans on going to vet school, hopefully at the University of Minnesota! Liz has always had a passion for animals but didn’t realize her true calling was to be a Veterinarian until she was a sophomore in high school. Even though eight years of school is a bit daunting, she is ready to take on the challenge so she can provide the best possible health care to all your furry family members. In her free time Liz enjoys doing homework…no wait, she has to do that. In her other free time she loves to swim, travel and just relax with her family and friends. Liz is very excited to be part of the St. Paul Pet Hospital team and can’t wait to meet all of you!
Lindsey Hudalla, Vet Assistant
Lindsey currently lives in St. Paul with her husband, two kids and a cat named Roxy. Lindsey’s love for animals started at a young age when she was known to bring home anything in need of a home, including cats, dogs and even wildlife! It was at this time she felt the importance of the human-animal bond and knew a life working with animals was right for her. After high school, Lindsey started working as a kennel/technician assistant while attending the University of Minnesota. After graduating from the U of M with a BS in Biology, Lindsey continued to work as a technician assistant in small animal general practice.
With over 15 years of veterinary experience, Lindsey joined St. Paul Pet Hospital in February 2017. As a part of the SPPH team, Lindsey’s work as a technician assistant gives her the opportunity to enrich the human-animal bond between an owner and their pet, while working along others with similar goals of high -quality animal care, compassion and client education. When Lindsey is not working at SPPH, she stays busy with her kids, enjoys spending time outdoors gardening, exploring new beers with her husband, kickboxing, walking and cooking.
Our Specialty Doctors by Referral
Dr. Brian Rose | Board Certified Veterinary Surgeon
Dr. Brian Rose graduated from the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine in 2005. Prior to his DVM, he received a degree in biology from St. John’s University. He completed a small animal rotating internship at the University of Pennsylvania in 2006. He then undertook a residency in veterinary orthopedic, soft tissue and neurologic surgery at the University of Minnesota, in conjunction with Masters work in fracture biomechanics.
Dr. Rose has authored publications for Veterinary Surgery and the Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association. Dr. Rose became board certified through the American College of Veterinary Surgery (Small Animal) in 2010.
He joined the team at Animal Emergency & Referral Center of Minnesota in July of 2013. Prior to joining AERC, he was the head of surgery at a 22-doctor referral practice in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His professional interests include orthopedics and fracture repair, minimally invasive, oncologic and reconstructive surgery.
On a personal note, Dr. Rose, his wife, Dr. Michelle Rose, DVM, DACVIM (Cardiology), and young son are excited to be back in Minnesota. His pursuits outside of work and family include hiking, fishing, skiing, and camping. Dr. Rose grew up locally in Plymouth, and he loves all that Minnesota has to offer. Dr. Rose has a herd of animals ranging from an overly confident Chihuahua from the streets of Albuquerque, New Mexico to a three-legged cat from Minnesota and a few geriatric Corgis in between!
Dr. Travis Saveraid, Dipl. ACVR | Radiology, Ultrasound, and Diagnostic Imaging.
Dr. Saveraid received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Iowa State University, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather. After practicing in Maine for two years, he completed a radiology residency at Washington State University where he acquired extensive training in equine and small animal MRI. Following his residency, Dr. Saveraid was a clinical faculty member at the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine, where he led development of the small animal and equine 3T MRI clinical imaging program.
Dr. Janet Olson | Cardiology
Dr. Janet Olson, DVM, DACVIM (Cardiology) is the founder of Veterinary Cardiology Specialists and is currently the only board certified veterinary cardiologist in private practice in the state of Minnesota and Iowa. Armed with state-of-the-art diagnostic capabilities, Dr. Olson’s interest lie in the diagnosis and treatment of congenital and acquired heart disease and heart failure of dogs and cats. Dr. Olson graduated from the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine in 1996. She then completed a year long rotating medicine and surgery internship at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine in 1997. She spent 1 year working in a general veterinary practice before settling in to an internal medicine private referral practice in the Twin Cities. In 2007 she was selected to become a cardiology resident at University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. She completed the three year residency in 2010 at which point she launched her business, Veterinary Cardiology Specialists.
Dr. Eric Ruhland | Owner
Native Minnesotan Dr. Eric Ruhland is excited (as always) to bring the St Paul Pet Hospital brand to Highland Park. Highland Park educates his son and houses his favorite yoga studio and borders the Cathedral Hill district of Saint Paul where he lives.
Dr. Ruhland was raised on a small dairy farm in central Minnesota near Watkins where his curious mind for science and his love for animals was allowed to flourish. After high school he attended North Dakota State University and graduated with BS degree in Zoology and a minor in Chemistry. Dr. Ruhland left the United States after college and worked in New Zealand before returning in the fall of 2004 to attend the University of Minnesota’s College of Veterinary Medicine. While in Veterinary School Dr. Ruhland placed emphasis on small animal internal medicine and surgery along with traditional veterinary disciplines. Outside of general veterinary practice Dr. Ruhland has special interests in teeth cleaning, allergies, orthopedic disease, anesthesia, and senior patient care.
In his free time Dr. Ruhland loves to spend time cooking and gardening. Dr. Ruhland likes to run marathons/relays, practice yoga, fly fish, and listen to live music. He loves the outdoors and is often out on various camping/fishing adventures with his son.
Liz Nulty | Practice Manager
Liz Nulty is the Practice Manager at St. Paul Pet Hospital- Highland. Liz graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2016 with a BS in Animal Science. Liz worked at our Cathedral Hill location during her time as a student at the U of M. After graduation from college, Liz continued her career at SPPH and recently accepted the opportunity of Practice Manager at our Highland location. Liz has a strong background in veterinary medicine along with a progressive business acumen. With her background, she will be able to serve our clients with a well-rounded approach.
Liz lives in St. Paul with her black lab Aida and 2 cats, Nello and Evie. In her free time she enjoys swimming, going to country music concerts, spending time with family and exploring St. Paul with Aida! Liz is very excited to be part of the St. Paul Pet Hospital team and can’t wait to meet all of you!
Dr. Melinda Lecheler | Medical Director
Dr. Melinda is a South Saint Paul native. She lives with her husband, a sheltie named Romeo and senior kitty Luigi. She knew from an early age that becoming a veterinarian was in her future. After high school, she attended the University of Minnesota where she completed her undergraduate degree. Prior to attending veterinary school, Dr. Melinda spent several years in veterinary medical sales. Her professional areas of interest are dermatology, dentistry and wound management. In her free time, Dr. Melinda enjoys traveling to warm weather destinations, gardening, going to concerts and cheering on the Minnesota Vikings and Wild. Her guilty pleasure is SHOES!
Dr. Katy Baker | Associate Veterinarian
Dr. Baker’s veterinary background began over 15 years ago as a kennel assistant and with each year her passion for animals has grown into a lifelong commitment. Originally from California, she graduated from Cal Poly State University located in coastal San Luis Obispo. After graduating with an Animal Science degree, she worked for many years as a senior veterinary technician prior to making the leap over to Scotland for vet school at the University of Glasgow. Dr. Baker currently lives in Northeast Minneapolis with her partner Gus and their 11-yr. old rescue pitty, Sweet Pea. Within veterinary medicine Dr. Baker has a special interest in geriatric medicine, internal medicine and dermatology. Outside of the vet world she and Gus spend most of their time rock climbing, mountain biking, walking their old lady at Minnehaha Falls dog park and attending Surdyk’s wine tastings!
Dr. Kari Strohmaier | Associate Veterinarian
Dr. Kari Strohmaier is a Minnesota native and grew up in Chanhassen. She now lives in St Paul with her husband, two rescue mutts, and two cats. Dr. Kari went to the University of Wisconsin-Madison for undergrad then returned to Minnesota for veterinary school, graduating in May 2016. Dr. Kari had several household pets growing up and developed a keen interest in biology, anatomy, and animal behavior at a young age, which ultimately led to a passion for veterinary medicine. Her professional areas of interest are internal medicine, dermatology, and soft tissue surgery.
Outside the workplace, Dr. Kari’s hobbies include singing and performing, reading, and spending time at her family's cabin in Northern Minnesota.
Kayla Leistikow | Certified Veterinary Technician
Kayla is a Minnesota native that has loved animals her entire life and graduated from Argosy University with her Associates of Applied Science in Veterinary Technology in 2017. She started her veterinary career at a small animal hospital as a veterinary assistant and did her internship at the Animal Emergency and Referral Center until returning to general practice after obtaining her degree. Kayla's favorite part of veterinary medicine is surgery/anesthesia as well as educating and building lasting relationships with clients and patients. She has a beloved 13 year old Italian Greyhound Dalmatian mix named Peyton and a cat, Sully.
Outside of work Kayla enjoys working out, spending time outdoors, exploring new places and restaurants around the city, and spending time with family and friends.
Kayla joined our team in October of 2019 and is thrilled to be apart of such a fun and supportive team!
Grace Miller | Veterinary Assistant
Grace grew up in a western suburb of Chicago and moved to the Twin Cities in 2016 to pursue her undergraduate education. In 2018 she graduated from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor of Science in Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology. While in school Grace worked at a small animal hospital as a veterinary assistant as well as volunteering with the local humane society and wildlife rehabilitation center. Grace will be continuing her education at the University of Minnesota to pursue her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Degree in Fall 2019 with a focus on public health and conservation medicine.
Outside of school and work, Grace enjoys camping, hiking, running, and generally everything/anything outdoors! Grace started with us in January 2019 and is thrilled to be a part of our team!
Grace Maki | Veterinary Assistant
Grace grew up in northern Minnesota before moving to Duluth where she attended high school. Grace is currently a senior at St. Catherine University where she studies biology. Grace is gaining experience as an assistant with plans to apply to veterinary school in the future. Grace lives in St. Paul with her beloved miniature schnauzer named Ebenezer “Ebbie” Scrooge and cocker spaniel named “Max.” In her free time, Grace enjoys spending time with her family, playing piano, reading, and exploring the Twin Cities with her dogs.
Paige Plass | Veterinary Assistant
Paige grew up on a farm outside of Hector, MN, where her love for animals blossomed. Her hobby farm consists of horses, goats, and pigs along with cats and dogs. She enjoyed showing her horses and goats for many years in 4-H. She then pursued an Animal Science degree in the pre-veterinary program at South Dakota State University for two years, before transferring and finishing her undergrad at the University of Minnesota. She graduated in May of 2019 with a B.S. in Animal Science. While attending the U of M, Paige was an active member of the MN Equestrian Team and Lambda Delta Phi sorority.
For fun, she enjoys taking her two English Setters, Tyke and Rhett, to the lake for swimming and paddle boarding. She remains active in the horse showing community, where she coaches her younger brother and gives riding lessons to youth. Paige would like to thank her loving family, friends, and significant other for supporting her in finding her dream job here at St. Paul Pet Hospital.
Michaela Lane | Receptionist
Michaela’s love of Minnesota first started during the summer of 2014, while working as a Cabin Leader at a summer camp. Four years later, (as well as an additional three summers at the camp) Michaela finally was able to move from Seattle during the fall of 2018. Wherever she’s lived, she’s always had an opportunity to work with animals. From training her family’s Chocolate Lab, to opportunities in the equine world as either a working student at a Dressage barn, or as a Wrangler at camp, her passion for animals has known no bounds. Michaela is excited for the opportunity that St Paul Pet Hospital has given to further her career working alongside animals.
During her time away from work, Michaela enjoys visiting different coffee shops in order to find the best latte art; riding her bike; reading Classic literature; baking all manner of desserts; traveling to visit her family; and finally cheering on the Green Bay Packers.