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Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Teaneck—Dr. Jennifer Suss’ dream of becoming a veterinarian began at a young age.

When her pet cat Tiger was given a diagnosis of kidney failure, the treating veterinarian told her that Tiger only had a few months to live. To enhance the quality of the last few months of life, the veterinarian gave Suss a specific daily regimen, and, lovingly, the young girl performed the routine on a day-to-day basis. Tiger lived for two more years. Suss was heartbroken when Tiger passed away, but felt that her bond with Tiger had strengthened throughout his illness, and she was thrilled to be able to do something to help him.

This experience helped inspire Dr. Suss’s approach with pet owners and helped to mold her philosophy of treating the patient while educating the owner to ensure the best quality of life for his or her animal companion. The experience helped to solidify her dream: enhance the quality of life for animals while helping to build relationships between people and their pets.

After graduating from Frisch High School, Suss studied at Stern College and then at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Michigan State University. She then completed an optional small animal medical and surgical internship at Red Bank Veterinary Hospital and moved on to get a job at Bloomingdale Animal Hospital, where she diligently worked with the animals there for ten years. Suss has been on the board of the Northern New Jersey Veterinary Medical Association for nine years, spending the last four years as the association’s president. She also volunteered as a veterinarian at the Van Saun Park Zoo for four years. Seven months ago, she started anew at Bergen Veterinary Hospital.

Dr. Suss, a Bergenfield resident, felt strongly about coming back to serve her community. When the opportunity arose to re-open the defunct Veterinary Hospital on Teaneck Road, she grabbed it. “I used to take my cat to this hospital,” Suss said, “and I always dreamed of being able to open a practice in my hometown.”

The former hospital had been founded in 1934 and had been closed for around two years before Suss re-opened it. In the months since its inception, the hospital has grown. Dr. Suss recently added an associate, Dr. Amy Pellicano.

Bergen Veterinary Hospital offers an extensive list of services including: in-house ultrasounds and echocardiograms performed by a board-certified veterinary radiologist, Dr. Justin Goggin. Aside from soft tissue surgeries, they also offer orthopedic surgeries performed by a board certified orthopedic and soft tissue surgeon, Dr. Chris Thacher. The practice is completed by a team of receptionists, veterinary technicians, and assistants. Pets have the ability to get a full panel of services done under one roof.

For pets with oral ailments, Dr. Suss uses digital dental radiography while performing dental exams, and can perform in-house blood work with an on-site laboratory. She treats dogs and cats, as well as pocket pets, guinea pigs, rabbits, ferrets, mice, and hamsters, and offers wing clips, and beak/nail trims for birds. Reptiles are also welcome. For the animal who needs a little more, Bergen Vet is housed under the same roof as the Pawdicures Grooming Salon, and many of Dr. Suss’s patients receive a beautiful transformation just downstairs.

What’s different about Bergen Veterinary Hospital is in Dr. Suss’s relationship with a patient and his/her owner. “Through my own personal experience, I learned of the unique bond that people have with their pets. I strive to educate owners and highlight each treatment option, until we arrive at something comfortable.” Her ultimate goal is to afford each animal with the best quality of life, and to encourage a collaborative team-effort in doing so. “I truly understand that pets are part of the family,” said Suss, who also owns a guinea pig and a dog.

The full service Veterinary hospital offers state-of-the art medical technology and a comprehensive list of services. The staff is compassionate and caring, and no detail goes unnoticed. Dr. Suss has thought through every aspect of its establishment. There are separate wards for feline and canine patients, and an enclosed outdoor courtyard for patient exercise. Drop-off appointments are available, and owners have the option of using the hospital’s facility for short-term boarding or for pet day-care. The office is open seven days a week, has evening appointments, and is always responsive to emergencies.

But opening a veterinary hospital close to her roots is not the only way that Dr. Suss gives back to her community. Every year, she offers free rabies vaccines for pets, in conjunction with the township. She supports the local police and fire departments, as well as the Teaneck food pantry, and supports organizations devoted to Breast Cancer Awareness.

For more information, or to make an appointment, please visit their website, www.bergenvet.com , email [email protected], or phone 201-837-3470

Sarah I. Abenaim is a freelance writer, living in Teaneck. She is working on her first book. To read her essays, please visit www.writersblackout.wordpress.com

By Sarah Abenaim