1 landing page Surgery collab

Dr. Claude Gendreau was head of small animal surgery and an assistant professor at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine in the 1970s, when he realized that specialty veterinary care was needed in a metropolitan area the size of Chicago. In 1976, he opened his practice in Northbrook. A few years later he partnered with Dr. Sam Vainisi (who has since retired) to build a new animal hospital at the corner of Deerfield Road and Milwaukee Avenue in Riverwoods, a block from our current location. It was one of the first private specialty veterinary practices to open in the United States.

In the beginning, our practice, Veterinary Specialty Center, was home to surgical and ophthalmologal services. Throughout the years, the practice has grown to include numerous specialties – Internal Medicine, Oncology, Dermatology, Imaging and Radiology, Neurology, Rehabilitation, Behavior, Holistic Care and Anesthesia and Pain Management – along with Surgery.

As the practice has grown, many top veterinary specialists have come to practice at VSC. Over the years, ownership has grown to include Dr. Mitch Robbins, Dr. Rhonda Feinmehl and Dr. Karen Kuhl. The ownership team has invested in cutting edge, state-of-the-art digital imaging and diagnostic equipment to help specialists diagnose and treat the myriad of cases that have come into the practice.


Veterinary Specialty Center is home to one of the top veterinary nephrologists in the U.S. – Dr. Jerry Thornhill – and one of just two Anesthesiology and Pain Management Specialists – Dr. Jusmeen Sarkar – in private practice in Illinois. Over the past several years, several satellite clinics in Chicago, Crystal Lake and Mokena have been established to make the specialists at VSC accessible to more people.

As our practice continues to grow, we are continually updating diagnostic equipment, more specialists and varied treatment options to meet the needs of our patients and maintain our commitment to being the leading multidisciplinary hospital in the Midwest.

With two emergency animal hospitals in two separate VSC locations, we’re proud to say that our veterinary practice is as strong as ever. We serve pet owners from Chicago, Cook County, North Shore Chicago, Glenview, Northbrook, Buffalo Grove, and the surrounding area. Whether you’re from in-state or out of town, VSC is dedicated to providing top-notch veterinary care to your pet.