June LaFave, VMD, cVMA
Dr. LaFave is a founding partner of Metropolitan Veterinary Center. She was most recently the Medical Director of the ER at Chicago Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Center and also held tenure as Chief of Staff at PAWS. She left the ER to open Metropolitan Veterinary Center, and pursue her goal of changing the way people view their primary care veterinarian by creating a clinic that provides compassionate and comprehensive care with the most convenient hours in Chicago.
She earned her undergraduate degree in Anthropology (with a concentration in Human Biology) from the University of Pennsylvania in 1995. She received her VMD (Veterinary Medical Doctorate) from the University of Pennsylvania in 2003. Dr. LaFave is certified in Veterinary Medical Acupuncture (cVMA).
Dr. LaFave has a strong interest in emergency and critical care medicine, surgery, pain management, the management of arthritis, ultrasound and holds a certification in cancer treatment.
She is a member of:
- Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society
- American Veterinary Medical Association
- Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association
- American Animal Hospital Association
- American Academy of Veterinary Nutrition
- International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management
- College of Integrative Veterinary Therapies
Dr. LaFave is certified by the USDA to provide Certificates of Veterinary Inspection or ‘Health Certificates’. She is also currently taking a two year course towards a Graduate Diploma in Western Herbal Medicine.
She has written protocols and lectured on several topics including CPR, Critical Care Nutrition, Feeding Tubes, Heat Stroke, Parvovirus, Anesthesia and Tracheostomy Tube Care.
Dr. LaFave and her husband are originally from the East Coast. They moved to Chicago in February 2005 after falling in love with the city during a visit. They have an Akita named Moe, a pocket pittie named Dino Eddie Jr. (or Dean for short) and a cat named Larry.
Dr. LaFave is a 2015 Primary Mediastinal B-Cell Lymphoma survivor. When she’s not at Metropolitan Veterinary Center, you can find Dr. LaFave spending time with her husband, watching Flyers hockey, eating seafood, exercising, learning photography or enjoying urban and outsider art.
Kjerstin Jacobs, DVM
Dr. Jacobs, a founding partner of Metropolitan Veterinary Center, worked for a veterinarian when she was young andsaw such passion and dedication in the way he approached his work that she decided to become a veterinarian, too. “I admired his technical skills and his ability to immediately connect with his clients as well as his patients,” Dr. Jacobs remembered. “I admired the positive impact he had on others every day, and I wanted to be just like him.”
Dr. Jacobs earned her DVM from the University of Wisconsin, Madison School of Veterinary Medicine in 1999. Prior to that, she had spent 13 years working in the restaurant business, “which instilled a very strong sense of the importance of excellence in client service.”
After becoming a veterinarian, Dr. Jacobs completed an internship in equine surgery at the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center. She then practiced on sport horses in New Jersey for several years before returning to Chicago and entering small animal practice.
Today, Dr. Jacobs has a special interest in soft tissue surgery, general and preventive medicine, and emergency and critical care. She is a member of the American Animal Hospital Association and the American Veterinary Medical Association. She is also a member of the Grey Muzzle Foundation, which provides care and comfort for homeless senior pets. She is also a member of the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP). Dr. Jacobs is certified by the USDA to provide Certificates of Veterinary Inspection or ‘Health Certificates”.
“I love every aspect of my job, from the challenges of medicine and surgery, to the joy of welcoming a new puppy or kitten into the family,” Dr. Jacobs said of her life as a vet. “Building long-term, trusting relationships with patients, clients and co-workers is ultimately the most rewarding part of my work.”
Dr. Jacobs shares her home with rescue dogs Naya, a rat terrier, Growlin’ Dan, a Chihuahua mix, and Gnarly, a Boston terrier mix. Dr. Jacobs’ daughter is a college student studying graphic design. On her time off, Dr. Jacobs enjoys cooking, Pilates, going to the movies, and exploring our wonderful city of Chicago.
Veronica Cruz-Balser, DVM
Dr. Veronica Balser was born in Mexico City and moved to San Antonio, Texas when she was a small child. Even before she could say veterinarian she was fascinated by animals and loved to greet each one with a hug. That passion for animals and a strong interest in medicine fueled her drive to attend the highly regarded Texas A&M University where she received both a B.S. and Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine. After graduating vet school in 2007 she furthered her education by completing a course in Veterinary Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture through the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society. Her interests include senior pets, soft tissue surgery, feline medicine, preventative care and alternative medicine. She takes pride in her ability to calmly handle highly anxious patients and strives to make every patient comfortable during their exam.
Dr. Balser and her husband moved to Chicago in early 2015 with senior cat, Chula, and lovable pit bull, Tony. When not working at MetroVet or spending time with her pets she enjoys going to live music events, trying to find the city’s best taco spots and hitting the gym.
Lisa Schneider, DVM
Dr. Lisa Schneider graduated from Hampshire College in 2003 with a BA in Fine Arts. She completed her pre-veterinary coursework at Harold Washington College and the University of Wisconsin. Lisa obtained her Degree of Veterinary Medicine at the University Of Illinois College Of Veterinary Medicine.
Growing up with animals Lisa has always had a strong appreciation for the bond humans and animals share. She decided to pursue a degree in veterinary medicine at a young ago because she both enjoys the interaction with clients and animals alike. Overall she wants to contribute to helping animals live happier and healthier lives.
Lisa has on dog Charlotte which she calls Charlie for short. In her spare time she enjoys painting, drawing and making stained glass art. Living in Chicago also offers lots of outdoor activities such as barbequing and going to live music festivals which she takes advantage of as much as possible.