Capitola Veterinary Hospital

Capitola Veterinary Hospital

Capitola Veterinary Hospital Times Publishing Group Inc tpgonlinedaily.comBy Jessica Johnson

Capitola Veterinary Hospital Times Publishing Group Inc tpgonlinedaily.comEstablished in 1992, Capitola Veterinary hospital is dedicated to professional and friendly client service combined with state of the art patient care. From general pet wellness to advanced services, Capitola Veterinary Hospital is a one-stop shop.

Doctors River May, Katie Volat and Tiffany Mitchener offer in-house ultrasound, stem cell therapy, orthopedic surgery – including TPLO for cruciate ligament injuries – digital dental x-rays, digital full body x-rays, cryosurgery, Class IV laser therapy and in-house laboratory diagnostics. Together, the doctors offer over 30 years of combined experience and have worked in specialty hospitals, general practice, animal shelters and emergency hospitals.

Capitola Veterinary Hospital Times Publishing Group Inc tpgonlinedaily.comWhile many local veterinary hospitals are owned and operated by larger corporations with principle interests outside of the county, Capitola Veterinary Hospital is proud to be a locally owned and operated business and longstanding members of the Think Local First organization. “We know that a much larger portion of every dollar spent in a local business stays in the community,” said Dr. River May, who purchased the practice in 2010 and is the sole owner. “The major majority of veterinary hospitals in Santa Cruz County are now owned by Corporations despite an outward appearance of being a local business.”

Dr. May spent most of his childhood in Pennsylvania where he was inspired by nature and developed an early fascination with biology. Growing up, his family had dozens of pets. Dr. May has shared that his first memory is of a “territorial black rooster” who taught him, in no uncertain terms, to respect the animals on his family farm.

Capitola Veterinary Hospital Times Publishing Group Inc tpgonlinedaily.comDr. May’s family moved to the Bay Area when he was 12, and many family trips to the ocean followed. Time spent in Santa Cruz fishing and surfing led to a life-long love affair with the Monterey Bay and the redwoods that surround it. It also led May to UCSC, where he earned his undergraduate degree in Molecular Biology before heading up north to the world-renowned veterinary school at UC Davis.

Dr. May truly enjoys working with human clients to find solutions that meet their needs as well as the animal patient’s needs. “I never imagined how much satisfaction I would get from helping people,” he shared. “With almost 20 years of experience at this point, sometimes the medicine is the easy part.”

It hasn’t always been easy, however. Once, Dr. May was chased up a tree by an under-sedated Rhino in Africa and had to wait in the tree for over an hour before help arrived. Indeed, the dangers haven’t totally ended now that he is in Capitola. “My family loves to ask me if I was pooped or peed on at work today; the answer is still sometimes yes,” said Dr. May.

Married, Dr. May attributes much of his success to the inspiration he receives from his family, even if they get a kick out of his biological misfortunes at work. “My family and nature are my biggest inspiration. Family helps make sense of life’s challenges. Living and playing in and around the Monterrey Bay helps me maintain balance.” Dr. May also cherishes the relationships he has established over the years with the clients at Capitola Veterinary Hospital. “Our long time clients feel like family and it is always fun to meet new clients and connect with new members of our community.”

Speaking of community, Dr. May is a dedicated supporter of local schools and charities through donations, sponsorships and contributions. The doctors and staff at Capitola Veterinary Hospital proudly support local schools, events and charities including Second Harvest Food Bank, school athletic teams, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Santa Cruz County, among many others. With the help of client contributions they recently contributed over $1000 to animal and human victims of the campfire, in addition to housing some evacuated animals.

They also display the work of local artists in the hospital, and strive to reduce their environmental impact by being a paperless office. In fact, Capitola Veterinary Hospital has been a Monterey Bay green certified business for five years and was awarded the Cool California Climate Leader award in 2013 and Business of the Year in 2014. Dr. May recognizes that such successes require a team effort. “Our team is exceptional, from the client service representatives to the technicians to the doctors — our bookkeeper Tomiko rocks too!” he said.

Further, they enjoy giving back to their clients through periodic specials and giveaways such as their annual dental special and his and hers beach cruiser bike raffle. Capitola Veterinary Hospital promotes its periodic specials and giveaways on its website: and Facebook page:

In addition, Dr. May said, “We always offer new clients who are readers of Times Publishing Group papers a special “$39 new patient exam with one vaccine.” So be sure to mention you read about it here!


Capitola Veterinary Hospital is located at 1220 H 41st Avenue, next to New Leaf Market. You can learn even more about their services at (831) 476-7387 (PETS).

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