Dr. Sheryl Eckstein


Dr. Eckstein is a Southern California native and has lived in Ladera Ranch since 2004. She received her B.S. in Biology at Cal Poly State University San Luis Obispo and her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at Mississippi State College of Veterinary Medicine in 1999. She took over ownership of Rancho Viejo Animal Hospital in 2012. Her work experience includes general practice and shelter medicine. She especially enjoys internal medicine and rescue work.

Dr. Eckstein is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, California Veterinary Medical Association, and the Southern California Veterinary Medical Association. She currently shares her home with her husband, 2 children, 4 dogs, 1 cat, and a hairless guinea pig. She and her family are also the proud owners of a sweet and slightly stubborn Morgan horse named Doc. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, going to the dog park, going to the barn, watching movies, listening to music, watching soccer, and taking care of her family and pets, great and small.

Dr. Lara W. Alkofer


Dr. Alkofer grew up outside of Charleston, SC.  She received her Bachelor of Science in biology from Wofford College in Spartanburg, SC.  She graduated from Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1997. She worked at San Diego’s Scripps Research Institute as a research assistant, which led to her desire to pursue a career in veterinary medicine.  She practiced in small animal emergency and general medicine practices in Eastern Washington for 6 years & has worked in Orange County since 2003.  She joined the Rancho Viejo team in 2014.  In addition to general medicine, she especially enjoys surgery & dentistry.  Dr. Alkofer works in our hospital on Mondays and Tuesdays and when she is not working, she enjoys spending time in the gorgeous Southern California outdoors with her husband and children.  We are happy to have such a kind, caring, and experienced veterinarian as a member of our team.

Dr. Elizabeth Edmunson


Dr. Elizabeth Edmunson is a Southern California native. She earned her bachelor’s degree at UC San Diego and her veterinary degree from UC Davis in 2008. Immediately out of veterinary school she went to work in a very busy practice in West Los Angeles and worked there for 6 years. It was there that she started doing a large number and variety of soft tissue surgical cases. She also started working for the non-profits SNP LA and Fixnation doing high quality/high volume/spay neuter during that time. Dr. Edmunson moved to Orange County in 2014 where she continued to do spay and neuter work as well as general practice relief work. In 2017, she was hired by a large private practice veterinary hospital to do all of their soft tissue surgical cases. She is very efficient in surgery and makes “key hole” incisions for spays which allow shorter anesthesia time and less discomfort during recovery. She has a passion for soft tissue surgery and while she isn’t a board-certified surgeon, she will tackle most soft tissue surgery cases.

In addition to spay and neuter surgeries, she also has vast experience and advanced training in many other types of soft tissue surgeries commonly recommended by general practice or emergency veterinarians. She is a member of AVMA, CVMA, and SCVMA, which provide access to high-quality continuing education and collaboration with colleagues. She serves our community by working with local rescue groups & Orange County Animal Control to help combat pet overpopulation and homelessness. She lives in Ladera Ranch with her husband, their daughters, and their 2 crazy Doodles. They enjoy outings as a family to all the playgrounds, parks, beaches, hikes, bike rides, and more that Southern California has to offer. She loves to read, bake, and macrame as well. Helping people and communities care for their pets to the best of their abilities brings her great fulfillment.

Emily, RVT

Registered Veterinary Technician

My name is Emily Clifton and I have been a vet tech for 2 years. I love waking up every morning and doing what I love. Something to know about me is that I love singing and dancing and I’m probably putting on a show for your pets in the treatment area. My daily goals are to wake up, hug some animals, and have a great day!

Tami, RVT

Registered Veterinary Technician

Tami has been working with animals her whole life. She earned her RVT in 2007. Outside of work you can find her spending time with her family or her bulldog mix “Piggy”.


Veterinary Receptionist

Catherine has had a life-long passion for animals and has worked in the industry for more than 20 years. She lives in San Juan Capistrano with her husband, children, terrier mix Kylo and kitties Baboo and Kerberos. When not at work, Catherine enjoys reading, anything Disney, going to the beach, watching her daughter play soccer and spending time with her family.


Kennel/Technician Assistant

Bio coming soon!


Kennel Assistant

Bio coming soon!


Kennel Assistant

Bio coming soon!


The Office Dog

Since adopting Enzo at 10 months old in 2015, he has become much more social and comes to work every day with Dr. Eckstein and hangs out (i.e. sleeps) in the doctor’s office. He loves to go to the dog park to see his friends and roll in the grass. He has food allergies among other things and eats a special diet. He is afraid of the Albertson’s delivery trucks, the mop bucket, and wet floors.


The Office Cat

We inherited Biscuit in 2018, at 19 years old, she is looking pretty good. She lost one eye to a Coyote a long time ago, which we believe may have contributed to her feisty nature. Besides a mild hairball issue, she is in pretty good health and is settling into her new retirement digs quite nicely.



Office Cat

Max passed away in 2016 at the ripe old age of 16 years old. He was the best “Office Cat” we could have ever asked for. He fit in perfectly with our hospital, wandered around happily, did not mind dogs, shared a bed in the office with Enzo, Dr. Eckstein’s dog. He kept us all smiling. He was a blessing and we were happy to give him the comfortable retirement he deserved.