Golden Gate Veterinary Specialists
Dr. Nicole Eckholm
Owner, Veterinary Dermatologist
Nicole Eckholm, DVM, MS, DACVD grew up outside of Philadelphia but has made northern California her home for the better part of 20 years. She is a 2006 graduate of the University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and has a Master’s degree in Microbiology from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, PA. After completing veterinary school Dr. Eckholm worked in general practice and shelter medicine in the Washington DC area for three years. She completed her residency in veterinary dermatology at the University of California, Davis in 2011. Dr. Eckholm introduced animal dermatology to Marin county in 2013 and practiced in Marin from 2013 to 2016 followed by a short stint in Memphis, Tennessee. After returning to Northern California in June, 2017, Dr. Eckholm joined VCA Animal Care Center of Sonoma County, where she also served as the hospital medical director. She left VCA to form Golden Gate Vet Specialists in November, 2020.
Dr. Eckholm enjoys teaching, and she takes a special interest in infectious skin disease, allergy and autoimmune disease. When she is not at work she is home with her husband, two children, rescued dog, six cats, chickens, ducks, and horses! She also has a special interest in helping animals in need. She is a firm believer in making exceptional veterinary care available to all animals large and small and the people that love them.
Dr. James Farese
Owner, Veterinary Surgeon
Dr. James P. Farese, DVM, DACVS received his veterinary degree from the University of Florida in 1994. He completed an Internship and Surgical Residency at Cornell University in 1998 and a Fellowship in Surgical Oncology at the Animal Cancer Center at Colorado State University in 2006. He was on the Faculty at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine from 1998 to 2011 and since then has been in specialty practice in the San Francisco Bay Area. He was awarded Diplomate status in the American College of Veterinary Surgeons in 1999 and in 2012 he was recognized by the American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS) as a Founding Fellow of Surgical Oncology.
He is a past President of the Veterinary Society of Surgical Oncology (VSSO) and past President of the Marin County Veterinary Medical Association (MCVMA) and currently serves on the ACVS Surgical Oncology Fellowship Oversight Committee.
Dr. Stacey Holz
Stacey Holz, DVM grew up in the Bay Area and ventured to Washington State University to pursue an undergraduate degree in the Honors Program and run Cross country and Track. In keeping with her love of all things WSU, she remained in Pullman, WA and graduated in 1999 from the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine. The lure of dermatology led her from general practice to pursue and complete a residency in veterinary dermatology in 2004. Since then, Dr. Holz has worked in private dermatology practice in the Bay Area for most of her career. She has a passion for teaching veterinary students, and she provides the didactic Dermatology lectures for the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine, where she previously led the WSU Veterinary Dermatology Clinical Service.
At Golden Gate Vet Specialists, Dr. Holz continues to provide excellent veterinary dermatology care with a team approach, and in the process, she improves the quality of life for the animal patients and their families.
When Dr. Holz is not involved in veterinary dermatology, she enjoys time with her family and in the great outdoors mountain biking, swimming, chasing after her huskies, and cheering on her beloved WSU Cougars…GO COUGS!
Registered Veterinary Technician and Surgery Team Coordinator
Summersette’s first job in the veterinary field was in high school at a local general practice. After working several years as an assistant she decided to go back to school to obtain her R.V.T. license. While in school, she got a job at an Emergency and Specialty Hospital gaining experience in the emergency, neurology and surgery departments. There she developed a love of surgery with a special interest in oncological and reconstructive surgery. She’s spent the past 14 years expanding her knowledge and skill set in the field of surgery and has worked alongside Dr. Farese for the past 12 years. She has also volunteered at wildlife rescue centers and has worked at the San Francisco Zoo. In her free time, she enjoys discovering local microbreweries, reading a good book curled up with her cat Lucy and going to the movies with her daughter.
Tiffani grew up in Petaluma. She has loved animals for as long as she can remember and has always had a passion for helping them. She started at a boarding facility but wanted to expand her knowledge, so she entered the emergency and specialty medicine field. She worked in this field for 12 years, rising to become a supervisor for speciality departments. She is a mom of two handsome boys and has three very spoiled dogs and two cats. She enjoys a good bottle of wine on the weekends and movie nights with the family.
Registered Veterinary Technician
Victoria Benson is a Marin County native who started her veterinary career in 2011. She became a registered veterinary technician in 2014. Victoria has a background in emergency and critical care as well as general practice. Victoria first became passionate about dermatology when she was 15 and started volunteering with the children’s skin disease foundation at their annual camp for children with genetic skin disorders. In her free time Victoria likes to garden and hang out with her three cats, Appa, Momo, and Lucy and her dog Trevor.
Originally from Central Coast California, Jamie grew up in Paso Robles, loving and taking care of many cats, rats, and a dog. After spending her junior year abroad in Catania, Sicily, Jamie began volunteering at the local shelter and working as a kennel assistant at a local vet clinic. Upon moving to Sonoma County to pursue her degree in cultural anthropology and Italian, she continued her veterinary path at an established animal hospital. Over the next 10 years, Jamie started out as a technician assistant, worked her way throughout the hospital, and eventually became the practice manager. She developed a great interest in emergency and specialty care, so she embarked on a seven year career with the local emergency and specialty hospital, gaining extensive knowledge in emergency care, surgery, neurology, dermatology, in addition to becoming the training coordinator. Jamie has a passion for CPR, disinfection protocol, and superb patient care. On her free time, Jamie can be found hiking local trails, fronting 4 local rock and cover bands, playing her ukulele, and sewing hammocks and accessories for her 3 rats Mars, Jupiter, and Nutty, her cat Rufio, and her senior pug Ripley.
Registered Veterinary Technician
Katherine Swango, RVT, is a Sonoma County native and has been an animal lover all her life. She grew up
with dogs and cats, but was also very active in 4-H and FFA exhibiting livestock animals such as sheep,
goats, cattle, and her horse. After high school she moved to New York, NY to pursue an education in
theatre, but after 2 years she realized nothing compared to Sonoma County’s beauty and nothing could
replace her love for animals. While working at a local general practice veterinary hospital she went to
night classes at the Santa Rosa Junior College to pursue her certification as a Registered Veterinary
Technician. Shortly after receiving her credentials, Katie started a 6 year career at a local emergency and
specialty hospital assisting in many departments such as Surgery, Neurology, Dentistry, Internal
Medicine, and Dermatology, but her full time commitment was to Emergency Medicine. Katie literally
put her blood, sweat, and tears into her role as an emergency technician, but she always had a passion
for Surgical Support. This passion led her to say “Goodbye” to emergency medicine and move toward a
career assisting Dr. Farese in surgery at Golden Gate Veterinary Specialists.
Katie always strives to provide gold standard patient care, and is passionate about client
communication and putting owners at ease. One of her main goals is to ensure that owners don’t have
any unanswered questions when it comes to their furry loved ones.
Whether she’s at work or with friends you can usually hear Katie cracking jokes, quoting her favorite
movies and TV shows, or singing to patients and her own pets. Never doubt that if you tell Katie to give
your pet lots of love, hugs, and kisses she takes that job very seriously!
Jacqueline is a lifetime Sonoma County resident and raised in the town of Penngrove. She began her career in large animal medicine, specializing in live stock and horses. In 2017 Jacqueline made the switch to small animal care due to her love of domesticated pets. Jacqueline previously worked in general practice gaining a great base knowledge in small animal care and while completing the Registered Veterinary Technician Program at the Santa Rosa Junior College. She made the switch to Golden Gate Veterinary Specialist in March of 2022, to further advance in her career and to work in a more specialized environment. In Jacqueline’s free time she spends days with her Fiancé, their two horses Nick and Harper as well as her two German Shepards Traeger and Major.
Cassie is a lifelong Sonoma county resident who grew up in Petaluma. Her love for all four legged furry friends began with horses, competing in many equestrian disciplines from a very young age. She can’t remember a time she didn’t have a dog by her side in all her life’s adventures. Her career in animal medicine started in 2019 working at a veterinary general practice where she found her passion in helping those that can’t speak for themselves. She is currently attending the Santa Rosa Junior College veterinary technician program, graduating in 2023. With her experience in animal care and her love of animals, you can count on her to provide excellent care for your beloved four legged family members.
O.R. Surgical Assistant
Liam officially joined the Surgery team this summer after graduating from Eckerd College in St.Petersburg, FL with a B.S. in Biology. Liam has worked part-time with Dr. Farese as an O.R. surgical assistant for the past four years. In his free time, he enjoys fishing and boating in the San Francisco bay, and spending time and caring for his dogs, cats and aquarium.
Kathie Seavey came from Arizona to Northern California with her family in 2009, landing in Novato. After working in sales for her husband’s company for three years, she transitioned into the veterinary field in 2013. Shortly after, Kathie joined Dr. Eckholm and the dermatology team. Kathie enjoys meeting each patient and watching Dr. Eckholm help them, and she takes great pride in building positive relationships with every client and their pets!
Kathie has two dogs, Grendel and Carson—both patients of Dr. Eckholm. They bring joy to her life and happiness to the family. She would love to have more, but her husband Leo claims that five kids and two dogs give plenty of happiness!
Client Services Representative
Lupe and her husband, William adopted two fur babies in 2009, Mamacita and Baby. Through the unconditional love provided by the two adorable and sassy tuxedo kitties Lupe developed an interest in veterinary medicine. Lupe began volunteering at the local shelters in San Francisco and enjoying all cat cafes. That experience inspired Lupe to pursue a career in the veterinary field. She has become an exceptional liaison between the client and medical staff in general practice, ophthalmology, internal medicine, nutrition and dermatology. Lupe is especially interested in the dermatological condition of Alopecia in animals because she loves to see the progression of hair regrowth after successful treatment.
Lupe takes joy in spending time with her loved ones. She enjoys watching live music and sports, loves the holiday season… all the decorations and festivities, beach days bring happiness to her soul.
Lupe’s favorite quote:
“Your smile can change the world, but don’t let the world change your smile.” ~ Anonymous
Client Service Specialist
Leslie Williams is our Client Service Coordinator here at Golden Gate Veterinary Specialist. She has spent the majority of her career in the veterinary field , gaining experiences , new knowledge and growing friendships in areas such as General practice (VCA Madera Pet Hospital) ,Emergency (SAGE,PESCM), and Specialty(SAGE,PESCM, and now GGVETS). Her passion for helping others and animals truly grew throughout the years. While Golden Gate Vets is her primary job function by day, Leslie also enjoys spending time with her husband, two little girls and of course, we could never forget her adorable toy Pomeranian, Heffy. She loves trying new foods, adventuring new places and is totally obsessed with getting her eyelashes done.
Client Services Representative
Anne grew up on a dairy ranch in west Petaluma, and she has spent her entire life around animals, big and small. It was natural that when she wasn’t raising her kids she was working in the veterinary field in all positions. She and her husband have been married over 30 years and have two grown children. She lives on several acres with seven dogs, a cat, two horses and lots of chickens. In her off time she likes to garden (flowers and vegetables), go hiking, road/trail race running (half marathons) and watching movies. She has a zest for live, and hence lives by the motto: Get busy living, or get busy dying!
My dogs suffered from severe allergies for years until we were referred to Dr. Eckholm. They have been patients for 7 years and we are so happy with the results. Dr. Eckholm put together a treatment plan for us that has greatly improved the comfort and quality of life for my dogs. I am so grateful for the care and expertise we have received.
~Linda O. (“Ollie” and “Dakota”)