Our Veterinarians

Dr. Brad Cahoon

Owner, Veterinarian

When he was only six years old, Dr. Cahoon knew he was destined to become a veterinarian. He would go with his father to their family pets’ appointments at the local veterinary hospital, and was completely captivated by the animals he saw and the way the doctors interacted with them. From then on, he never passed up an opportunity to tag along to the vet’s office!

Dr. Cahoon grew up in Whittier and graduated high school as class valedictorian in 1976. He then attended the University of California, Davis for pre-veterinary studies, graduating in four years with a Bachelor’s in Animal Physiology. In 1987, he graduated from the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine with his DVM, then worked full-time as an emergency doctor until 1998. A year later he opened his own clinic, Lake Forest Pet Hospital, in El Dorado Hills, California.

Emergency medicine is Brad’s true passion; never knowing quite what to expect requires him to think quickly and use every ounce of skill he possesses to save a pet’s life. Dr. Cahoon also enjoys integrating eastern medical approaches into the more standard western medicine—he even received his certification as a Veterinary Acupuncturist in 2013! He’s seen fantastic results with this approach and plans on integrating it into his treatment courses for the rest of his career.

There are few things in life more important to Dr. Cahoon than veterinary medicine. Three of them are his wife, Pam, and two daughters, Cori and Holly. Cori is working on her Doctorate degree in genetics in Kansas City, Missouri, and Holly is following in her father’s footsteps; she recently started at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine!

The Cahoon family has a love for pugs and bulldogs! Belle is a sweet senior pug who lives at home with Brad and Pam; Jack is a pug that splits his time between the Cahoon home and Holly’s residence at vet school; Lucy the pug currently resides with Cori in Kansas City, occasionally traveling with Cori to visit the family for holidays.

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Dr. Erin McKerney

Associate Veterinarian

Dr. Erin McKerney grew up in eastern San Diego County, where she spent most of her childhood in the great outdoors surrounded by animals. Early on, she developed an interest in science and medicine while her passion for animal advocacy grew. For Dr. McKerney, a career in the veterinary world simply felt natural!

Dr. McKerney completed her undergraduate degree in animal physiology and neuroscience at the University of California-San Diego in 2007. That same year, she was accepted into veterinary school at the University of California-Davis. After graduating with honors in 2011, she completed a year-long clinical internship in equine sports medicine at the Peninsula Equine Medical Center in Menlo Park, California.

In 2012, inspired by her own experiences in veterinary school, Dr. McKerney began her journey in acupuncture certification. She received her licensure in mixed-animal acupuncture from the Chi Institute in Reddick, Florida in 2012 before beginning work in the orthopedic laboratory at the University of California-Davis, where she conducted musculoskeletal research amongst California’s racehorse population. In June of 2015, Dr. McKerney completed another year-long clinical internship at the Sacramento Veterinary Referral Center before joining the Veterinary Healing Center family as an Associate Veterinarian in July of that year.

Medically, Dr. McKerney is fond of integrating Western and Eastern modalities into her brand of veterinary care. She feels incredibly fortunate to work at a clinic that provides high-quality Western and Eastern medicine for patients that may benefit from an integrative approach. Most of all, Dr. McKerney loves meeting pet owners and getting to know their lovable animal companions!

Dr. McKerney’s interests outside of veterinary medicine include trail running, hiking, biking, indoor rock climbing, cooking, and gardening. She also loves to sew, and has even made a few dog bandanas. Dr. McKerney and her husband, Jim, live with two canine companions of their own: Toki, who is very energetic and loves meeting new people; and LuLu, who prefers to sunbathe under the orange tree in the backyard.

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Dr. Melissa Richards

Associate Veterinarian

Dr. Melissa Richards recalls visiting the veterinarian with her mother and the family pets when she was only a little girl. There, she was in awe of her local doctor and the way he would converse directly with the animals he was treating. Dr. Richards fell in love with the veterinary profession, and her passion hasn’t wavered since. Now, she’s proud to care for the pets and animal owners of her community as a member of the Veterinary Healing Center of El Dorado Hills team!

A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Dr. Richards graduated summa cum laude from the University of California-San Diego in 2006 with a Bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and cell biology, as well as an additional Bachelor’s degree in psychology. She then spent a year working at a small-animal hospital while also interning with an equine veterinarian and volunteering at a wildlife rehabilitation center. Next, Dr. Richards headed to veterinary school at the University of California-Davis, graduating with honors in 2011, before completing a rotating one-year internship at a Sacramento-based referral center. She launched her career in private practice shortly afterward, and has been tending to pets in the Sacramento and El Dorado Counties ever since.

Having graduated veterinary school alongside the hospital’s very own Dr. Erin McKerney, Dr. Richards jumped at the chance to practice in her own community with a close friend—she was thrilled to join the Veterinary Healing Center of El Dorado Hills family in September of 2017. She particularly enjoys dermatology cases, and also likes the challenge of internal medicine work.

Outside of the office, Dr. Richards is an avid runner and even competed in triathlons during her time in veterinary school. She lives with her husband, Adam, their two young children, and their dog Candy. Candy is a rescued Australian Kelpie mix who doesn’t let her advancing age slow her down in the least; she especially enjoys going hiking and camping with her family!

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