Our Team

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Dr Mark Anderson

Born and raised outside Albuquerque, New Mexico, Dr. Mark Anderson received his veterinary degree from Murdoch University in Perth, Australia. Prior to attending veterinary school, however, Dr. Anderson received his Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Mechanical Engineering from Colorado State University. Dr. Anderson enjoyed working as an engineer in the environmental industry, which provided him with the opportunity to work throughout much of the western United States, including Wyoming, Washington, Utah, Nevada, California, and New Mexico. It was after spending a year working at a wind powered electrical plant in Costa Rica that Dr. Anderson made his way to Australia to fulfill his dream of becoming a veterinarian. Shortly after graduating from veterinary school, Dr. Anderson returned to the United States, quickly establishing deep roots in Southern California and making San Diego his home. Dr. Anderson stays up-to-date on the latest developments in the diagnosis and treatment of veterinary disease through countless hours of continuing education, and via membership to online boards, which gives him access to guidance from specialists throughout the world whenever the need should arise.

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Over the years, Dr. Anderson has developed special interests, knowledge, and skills in soft tissue surgery, hip dysplasia, orthopedic disease, cruciate repair, stem cell therapy, dermatology, pain management, and ultrasound. Dr. Anderson is certified in the PennHIP radiographic procedure, which allows Dr. Anderson the ability to make appropriate recommendation(s) for corrective/preventative actions for dogs at risk of having hip dysplasia. His diagnostic credentials include, among others, certification through Oncura for diagnostic abdominal and cardiac ultrasound. Dr. Anderson is also a member of the American Association of Feline Practitioners, ensuring your feline pet th

e best management and care whether visiting the hospital for a wellness exam, or in the case of illness or injury. As well, he is a credentialed VetStem veterinarian, capable and skilled at applying stem cell therapy. He is also USDA accredited, allowing him to complete international and interstate pet travel health certificates.

One facet of medicine that Dr. Anderson particularly enjoys, is developing practical solutions (non-surgical and surgical) for difficult, unique, and/or chronic cases and problems. Challenge him with your pet’s difficult problems — he looks forward to working with you to provide you and your pet with long term relief!

Dr. Anderson enjoys experiencing the world through the eyes of his hilarious and energetic 6 year old daughter and spending time with his wife. Together the three enjoy surfing, hiking, skiing and spending a lot of time being silly. They share their home with Spencer, a sweet and happy Papillon Chihuahua mix.

As the new owner of the Bernardo Heights Veterinary Hospital, Dr. Anderson is excited to join the amazing BHVH team, and to meet you and your family of pets!

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Dr Nadezhda Palikarova (Dr Nadia)

Dr. Palikarova was born in the capital of Bulgaria, Sofia.

After studying humanitarian science in Montpellier, France for one year, she decided to pursue her childhood dream and become a veterinarian. She graduated from the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Forestry in Sofia, Bulgaria as the Valedictorian. After working in Bulgaria for one year, she decided to move to the USA and work in the most progressive veterinary environment in the world, so she can find the newest and most effective solutions for her patients’ problems. She began her North American veterinary work in Central California.

She then moved to San Diego with her husband, Dr Palikarov, to join Bernardo Heights Veterinary Hospital's team.

Her interests are in providing the best medicine possible to her patients as she deeply believes that animals are the heart of the family.

In her free time she is always trying to keep up with the developing veterinary field by participating in continuing education courses and reading the latest publications.

When not working, Dr Palikarova is enjoying the perfect California weather with her husband and their energetic and curious German Shorthaired Pointer Siren 


Dr Ira Abrams

Dr Ira AbramsDr. Abrams grew up in Chicago, Illinois. He graduated from the University of Illinois' College of Veterinary Medicine in 1979, where he was proudly the Valedictorian of his class. Upon graduation, he worked for one year in Chicago and then he migrated to warmer weather in Los Angeles, California. After a year as an associate veterinarian in a small practice, Dr. Abrams moved to San Diego where he did relief veterinary work for several practices. He subsequently bought his own practice in San Marcos, California in 1985. After 21 years, he decided to sell his practice so he could spend more time with his wife and 18-year old son. In his spare time, Dr. Abrams enjoys traveling and attending sporting events with his family. 






Sara, Lead Registered Veterinary Technician sara 1

Sara attended Brown Mackie College where she received an Associates of Science degree in 2014. Sara has been working in the veterinary field for nine years.  She moved to San Diego in July of 2017 from Elkhart, Indiana where she grew up. Sara has two dogs, a papillon mix and a border collie mix. Sara enjoys spending time with her fiance and his daughter doing various activities including camping, snow boarding, surfing, hiking and rock climbing. 




Sandi, Registered Veterinary Technician 


Sandi is a native San Diegan who graduated from UCSD with a degree in biology. She started working in the veterinary field in 1990 and received her RVT license in 1994. In her free time, Sandi enjoys reading, skiing, rock climbing, cooking and spending time her family and friends. 






Liz, Registered Veterinary Technician

Liz, Registered Veterinary TechnicianLiz has been an RVT for 6 years and has been working in the veterinary field for 15 years.
She graduated Magna Cum Laude with an Associates degree in Animal Science from Hartnell College (Salinas, CA) in June , 2010. She passed her state board exam and became an RVT in October of 2010. She has two animal kids at home; a wiener dog named Peter and an orange cat named Leonard.
They are best friends and rough house daily. She also has a two-year-old son named Henry and is grateful to be a full time mom and part time RVT. Her love for animals started at a young age and will continue into her old age.



 Megan, Registered Veterinary Technician

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Megan has been an RVT for 6 years and has been working in the veterinary field for 10 years. She has 2 dogs, Meesha, a Belgian Malinois and Stella, a chihuahua mix. She loves hanging out with family, friends and her pets in her spare time. Her hobbies include paddle boarding at the beach, off-roading, and camping in the desert     .






Theresa, Client and Patient Care 

Theresa was born in New York but considers Poway home since she was a young girl. She has always had natural love and passion for animals as far back as she can remember. For the past 33 years, working in the veterinary field has given her the privilege of doing what she loves. Caring for animals has been the most rewarding career she could have hoped for. Theresa enjoys spending time outdoors and traveling with her ever growing family. She has 3 dogs of her own, 2 grand doggies and 2 grand kitties. Her most recent adventure began last year when her and her husband were blessed with their first grandchild. 







Evelyn, Client and Patient Care

Evelyn has been working in the veterinary field for about 3 years now. She recently graduated from CSUSM with a degree in Biology. She is planning on continuing her education and is currently signed up for MCAT prep classes starting in August. She has always had pets and currently has an adorable 2 year old Shiba Inu named Mochi whom she takes everywhere. She spends her free time either doing school work or going out with Mochi hiking, to the beach or out to new restaurants. 




Emaleigh, Patient Care

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Emaleigh has been in the veterinary field for 5 years. She has two dogs, Zeus, a Pomeranian and Midori, an American Bully who rule her world. Emaleigh moved to San Diego from Washington State in 2012. She has also lived in Texas, but considers San Diego her home. In her spare time, she likes to go to the beach, listen to music and travel. 







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AJ, Lead Receptionist 

Aj was born in Tijuana and raised in San Diego. She has always had a passion for helping animals and has been in the field since 2008. She went to Pima Institute for both the Vet Assistant and Vet Technician programs. She shares her home with her husband Todd, daughter Kiara as well as her Great Dane "Kong" and her English Bull Terrier "Roxy". She also has 6 chickens and 2 tortoises! She treats all animals as if they were her own and looks forward to helping you with your fur babies. 






Savannah, Patient Care 

Savannah grew up in Virginia, and after a two-year detour in the Boston/New Hampshire surrounding areas she is now glad to call San Diego her home. Savannah loves people and all their four-legged family members. When she is not at work her hobbies include painting, practicing guitar, watching hockey (GO BRUINS!), reading, yoga, trying new foods, traveling and dog beach days with her four-legged best friend, Jonas. She is currently attending Mira Costa College, finishing her associates degree, and completing her general education courses for CSU transfer. Savannah has been in the animal care industry since 2013. The journey has been rewarding and humbling for her. She cannot wait to meet you and your four-legged family members! 











Justin, Patient Care/Technician Assistant


 Justin has been working with animals since 2012 when he started at an animal shelter. He is currently enrolled in the Penn Foster online RVT program. He has just one dog, an 8 year old Labrador named "Bubby" and on his free time he enjoys hanging out with his young son and girlfriend as well as hiking and reading comics. 







Chris Fenner, Hospital Administrator, Registered Veterinary Technician

Chris Fenner, Hospital Administrator, Registered Veterinary TechnicianChris Fenner opened Bernardo Heights Veterinary Hospital with Dr. Fenner in 1987, and has filled many roles since then. She grew up in California and Washington and wherever else her father's Navy career took them. She graduated from Ft. Steilicoom College with her degree in Animal Health Technology and has worked in multiple practices and the San Diego Zoo before and during working here. In addition to working here, she is a full-time mother to 14-year old Conor. All of her pets have always been family members to her.



Conor Fenner, Consultant

Conor Fenner, Consultant

Conor Fenner is Dr. Fenner's 14-year old son. He works very hard at assisting the other team members and making sure that our patients have a boy to play with when necessary. He plans to become a veterinarian in 2024.




Marilyn Fenner, Hospital Cat

Marilyn Fenner, Hospital CatMarilyn (aka Mimi) is our most valuable staff member. She followed a client who was walking her dog home, and came to us because she had found more of a dog person than cat person. She is extremely friendly and happy to be a part of our staff. She rarely does anything bad and she enjoys moving from place to place to find a comfortable spot. Her hobbies are sleeping, eating, and playing with toys. If you look closely, you will see that her eyes move independently of one another.



In Memory of Dr Paul N Fenner

In Memory of Dr Paul N FennerIt is with a heavy heart that we notify our client families of Bernardo Heights Veterinary Hospital that our founder and friend Dr Paul Fenner lost his long time battle with Melanoma cancer over Labor Day weekend (2015). He passed away at his home with his wife Chris and son Conor by his side. The staff here at Bernardo Heights will miss his smile and sense of humor the most. He enjoyed caring for all of you and your beloved pets over his 28 year career here at our hospital. Sympathy cards can be sent to the hospital and we will pass them along to his family. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the animal rescue of your choice. In July, Dr Fenner selected Dr Anderson as practice owner to look over your beloved pets as he did. Dr Anderson, Dr Abrams, and the entire staff here at Bernardo Heights aspire to make Dr Fenner proud by continuing his compassionate approach to veterinary medicine.