Meet Our Doctors

Jeff Simmons, DVM, MS, DACVECC

Dr. Simmons is a Mississippi native, born and raised around Gulfport, MS. He graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi with his BS in Biology and English. After finishing there, he went to Mississippi State University and earned his DVM degree. Following graduation, Dr. Simmons moved to Northern Alabama and worked in a mixed animal practice.

Shortly after Dr. Simmons decided to further his training in emergency and critical care and was accepted into the Auburn University’s residency program for small animal emergency and critical care. During his residency at Auburn he also obtained a Master’s degree in Biomedical Science. After completing his residency at Auburn, he remained as a clinical instructor. After finishing at Auburn, he accepted a position at Purdue University as a clinical instructor until coming to Salt Lake City, Utah.

During the last 10 years Dr. Simmons has practiced in Utah as a Critical Care Specialist consulting with clients and general practice veterinarians on complicated, hard to manage, conditions.

Melanie Thompson, DVM, MVetSc, DACVIM

Dr. Melanie Thompson was born in Houston, Texas and was raised in Mesa, Arizona until moving to California for college. She received her Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Animal Science from Cal State Polytechnic University in Pomona, CA.  She then attended UC Davis and graduated in 1998 from the School of Veterinary Medicine.

After completing veterinary school, Dr. Thompson completed an internship at Veterinary Medical and Surgical Group in Ventura, California. She then completed a three-year residency in internal medicine at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. Dr. Thompson also earned her Masters of Veterinary Science degree (focus on Diabetes mellitus) and passed the internal medicine board certification exam.

Upon completion of her residency in the summer of 2002, Dr. Thompson returned to California to work as a specialist at Veterinary Medical and Surgical Group.

Dr. Thompson came to Utah in 2012 and for the last 3 & ½ years has worked in Salt Lake City as an Internal Medicine Specialist consulting with clients and general practice veterinarians on complex internal medicine cases.

Dr. Thompson is interested in all aspects of internal medicine (endocrine, gastrointestinal, immune-mediated, infectious, liver, kidney, and respiratory disease).

Andrew Burton, DVM, DACVS-SA

Dr. Burton grew up in Salt Lake City, he graduated from Highland High school  and subsequently obtained a BS in Anthropology from the University of Utah. He completed his DVM at the Washington State College of Veterinary Medicine in 2010, and then completed a one-year rotating internship at WestVet in Boise Idaho, and a one-year surgical internship at the Las Vegas Veterinary Specialty Center. Following his internships, he moved to the mid-West, where he completed his three-year residency at the Iowa State College of Veterinary Medicine. After completion of his  residency he returned to Utah were he began practice, and passed the national surgical board exam. He has been practicing in the Salt Lake Valley since 2015.

Dr. Burton enjoys spending time fishing and hiking with his wife Toshiko, daughter Hanna and two big dogs.

Clinical Interests: Canine Stifle Injuries, Fracture Repair, Arthroscopy, and Medical Research

Mark Langheinrich, DVM

Dr. Mark Langheinrich is a native of Salt Lake City, Utah. He attended the University of Utah, graduating with a Bachelorof Science in Biology with special interest in comparative anatomy and physiology. He then attended the University of California, Davis School of  Veterinary Medicine. During clinical rotations

he emphasized rotations with the emergency service and the intensive care unit. After graduating he completed a 1 year, rotating internship in San Diego, California. The internship focused on emergency and critical care with rotations in Internal Medicine and Surgery. He returned to Utah and has since continued to pursue his interest in Emergency Medicine. In his free time he enjoys exploring the local mountains with his wife, and his dogs, Oquirrh, Teton, and Madelyn.

Staci Gustafson, DVM

Dr. Staci Gustafson began her career in the veterinary industry in 1999 in Utah as a veterinary technician. In 2005 she began her pursuit to further her education and become a Veterinarian, graduating from Ross University in 2010. After graduation Staci began working here in Utah as a general practice small animal veterinarian. In 2013 Staci began her internship in Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care and completed her first year residency. During her free time Staci enjoys spending time with her family and friends, and her dog Walter.

Laura Boehler, DVM

Dr. Laura Boehler grew up in Southern California and graduated from Cal State Polytechnic University with a Bachelor of Science in Zoology.

Prior to vet school, Dr. Boehler spent several years working as a vet assistant at a variety of wildlife and exotic animal sanctuaries. Dr. Boehler graduated from UC Davis school of veterinary medicine in 2013 and then completed a one-year rotating internship at VCA West Los Angeles. After the internship, Dr. Boehler moved to South Florida to work at Save the Chimps, the world’s largest chimpanzee sanctuary to provide veterinary care for over 250 rescued chimpanzees. She eventually returned to California and spent a few years working at exotic animal hospitals, local wildlife sanctuaries and worked late nights as an emergency vet at a busy specialty practice in Los Angeles. She moved to Utah in the summer of 2018 and spent about two years working full time at an exotic animal practice.

Dr. Boehler joined Mountain West Veterinary Specialists in May 2020 and is thrilled to have access to specialists and advanced imaging which has improved the management and care of her exotic patients. She enjoys the challenges of working on a wide variety of exotic animals including pigs, hedgehogs, rabbits, rodents, reptiles, birds and foxes and has a special interest in rabbit and rodent dentistry, general surgery and managing GI stasis syndrome in critically ill bunnies. In her spare time, she enjoys rock climbing in the cottonwood canyons and making edible gardens for her 25-year-old Russian tortoise and two rescued lionhead rabbits Elsa and Bun.

Kara Tassone, DVM

Dr. Kara Tassone was born here on the Wasatch front and enjoyed growing up near the mountains where she learned to love hiking and enjoying the outdoors.  

She attended Weber State University where she graduated with Bachelors degrees in Psychology and Zoology.  After graduation she then took a few years away from academia to enjoy the outdoors and to fall in love with motorcycle riding and her husband.

Dr. Kara attended St George’s University on the island of Grenada where she and her husband enjoyed the island life (between studying) and being able to learn about medicine in a very practical manner.  They completed their 4th year of Veterinary education at the University of Illinois.

Following completion of her DVM, Dr. Kara did an internship in small animal medicine, emergency, and surgery at the Animal Referral and Emergency Center in Mesa, Arizona.  After completing her internship she worked doing relief medicine at multiple emergency facilities while living in AZ.  Later she and her husband moved back to Utah where she joined the team at Animal Care Center and K-9 Rehabilitation.  There she learned to appreciate amazing staff, clients and patients. She also developed a passion for end of life care and acupuncture. 

Ultimately, she missed being able to help patients and families in their most stressful moments- so she decided to return to emergency medicine.

Dr. Kara has served on many committees, both national and local. She is currently President Elect of the Utah Veterinary Medical Association and believes we have to speak to be heard. Her motto is “lead to inspire”.  We all have something we are passionate about- SO LETS CHANGE THE WORLD AROUND US!

She loves living on the Wasatch front with her husband, daughter, their dog Bos, and their foster kitty “momma unicorn.”

Nicolle Lofgren, VMD

Dr. Lofgren is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania College of Veterinary Medicine, and earned her BA in biochemistry from Colorado College. After earning her VMD, she moved to New York to complete an internship in avian and exotic animal medicine and surgery at Long Island Bird and Exotics Veterinary Clinic. She remained at LIBEVC for two additional years after completing her specialization, seeing only birds and other exotic species. 

Although Dr. Lofgren completed her specialty training in all exotic companion animal species, her passion is avian medicine and surgery, and she is preparing for avian board certification. She provides high quality medicine for exotic species, including advanced imaging, blood work, infectious disease testing and surgical procedures. She has presented at the Exotics Conference on cases of avian imaging and pneumonia, and treatment of ferret cystine urolithiasis. She was raised in Ogden, Utah, and is thrilled to return home to join the Exotics team at Mountain West.
Dr. Lofgren speaks Mandarin, and outside the hospital enjoys skiing and spending time with her husband, two ferrets (Vera and Fredrick), blue tongue skink (Arms McLegs), panther chameleon (Petunia) and axolotl (Alfred).