Laura Vega has joined the veterinary college as a new faculty in emergency medicine and critical care, increasing the number of criticalist specialists in the emergency room and ICU and expanding the emergency capability of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

Vega brings a wealth of experience in emergency medicine and critical care to the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine (VMCVM). Born and raised in Costa Rica, her career in veterinary medicine reflects a commitment to excellence and a passion for improving the care of small animals in critical conditions.

A Passion for Emergency Care and Teaching

Vega is drawn to the fast-paced nature of emergency medicine. " Triaging a patient and stabilizing them quickly by fixing what is fixable in the short term is very gratifying," she said. "While I like emergency care, my biggest passion is the treatment of critically ill dogs and cats in ICU that need all the support we can give them to make it through" 

With her board certification from the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care, Vega can contribute significantly to the veterinary college and the broader community. Her unique blend of expertise, enthusiasm for teaching, and commitment to animal care positions her as an asset to the college and a role model for aspiring veterinarians.

Teaching is another passion for Vega, who believes real-life cases are the best tools for learning. "It's how we finally integrate the information from the classroom in our brains," she said. 

The dynamic emergency care environment, where quick decisions can lead to immediate impacts, provides invaluable lessons for students and interns. "Emergencies can be very intimidating and we often don’t get to choose when or where they are present, so increasing the comfort level of all students  managing common emergencies in small animals, can’t be emphasized enough," said Vega.

From Costa Rica to Virginia: A Journey of Dedication and Learning

Vega began her academic journey at Universidad Nacional in Costa Rica, earning her DVM in 2018. Her career has been marked by intensive training and research, including internships and residencies at several U.S. universities. She completed a small animal rotating internship at Oregon State University, an emergency and critical care specialty internship at Washington State University, and a demanding emergency and critical care residency at Louisiana State and Washington State universities. In July, she completed her master's in veterinary science, specializing in clinical and translational science. 

A New Chapter at VMCVM

Vega joined VMCVM in early October and is excited about her new role. She speaks highly of the college's culture, emphasizing the importance of teamwork, collaboration, and communication. "It seemed like a fairly tight-knit group that worked well together and had great aspirations for growth, which was very attractive to me," she said. 

Her immediate goals include elevating inpatient care by establishing daily cage-side rounds and standard operating procedures in the ICU, implementing regular topic rounds for the students on the rotation, and contributing to a positive environment.

Personal Touches: A Love for Animals Extends Beyond the Clinic

Vega's love for animals extends beyond her professional life. She recently adopted a rescue dog named Noodle, one of the Canine Instructors from the veterinary college, adding a personal touch to her veterinary journey and new start in Blacksburg. 

VMCVM is dedicated to advancing veterinary medicine and improving animal lives through education, research, and community service.


Andrew Mann
Director of Communications and Marketing