Meet Presidio Way Veterinary Hospital’s Veterinarians & Staff
Kaila Helmer, DVM
Most children have a vague fantasy of what they want to be when they grow up: fireman, ballerina, princess, superhero…. For me, when asked this question, my prompt answer was always "veterinarian". At 18 I began working at a small, family atmosphere veterinary hospital in my hometown of Santa Cruz, California. We saw dogs, cats, birds, lizards, snakes, rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs, hamsters…. Pretty much anything a person might keep in their home, and some things that maybe they shouldn't. I loved the variety of medicine this required me to learn. Following high school I attended UC Santa Cruz and earned a bachelors degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Throughout these four years I was lucky enough to continue working and learning at the veterinary hospital, where the team player atmosphere and focus on educating the staff allowed me to expand my knowledge and skills working with a wide variety of animal species. Fortunately, I was accepted to UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine following my undergraduate education! For the first year after graduation I have practiced and lived in Kona, Hawaii; my husband and I are very excited to be moving home to California to enjoy all of the opportunities available in the Bay Area.
I am very excited to be a part of the team at Presidio Way Veterinary Hospital. The family atmosphere, attention to detail and degree of care given to both the animal patients and the human clients is top quality. Over the years working in a small animal hospital and throughout my education at UC Davis I have developed an appreciation for the skill required to develop lasting relationships, provide high quality medical care, and communicate my medical knowledge in a relatable manner to everyone. I look forward to serving the community and caring for your pets!
Amy Crain, BVMS, Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist
With upstate NY roots, growing up amid all creatures great and small, my love for animals and caring for them began at an early age and drove my desire to become a veterinarian. My journey led me to Scotland, where I attended the University of Glasgow and earned my veterinary degree.
I started my veterinary career at Bluepearl Veterinary Partners in Manhattan, and completed a small animal medicine and surgery internship. For six years, I practiced at the fast paced,exceptional, NYC hospitals of Heart of Chelsea and Lower East Side Animal Hospital. My heart and soul needed a change which led me to San Francisco in June of 2015. Since then, I have been a proud member of the Presidio Way family!
My interests in veterinary medicine include preventative medicine, internal medicine and Traditional Chinese Veterinary medicine. I am certified in acupuncture and am delighted to offer this to our patients to improve their quality of life.
Outside of work, I am an obsessed competitive runner and am always training for my next big race. The Bay Area has allowed me to enjoy hiking, cycling and all outdoor activities all year round. My feline bestie, John Cougar Melloncat, is the love of my life. I love him more everyday!
I look forward to meeting you and your furry companions.
Caroline Kim, DVM
I started at Presidio Way in Jan 2017. I've wanted to be a veterinarian since I was 7 years old, and I have been practicing now for over 20 years. I previously worked at a hospital in the Marina /Pacific Heights for 15 years and loved every minute of it. After they were sold to a corporation, I decided to find my cozy new home here at Presidio Way.
I'm a San Francisco native and always joke that if I ever leave this city again it will be under the rubble of an earthquake. I attended Lowell High School and then went to the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia for pre-med, graduating cum laude with a Major in Biology and a minor in Chemistry. Tired of the cold, I returned to California to attend UC Davis for Veterinary School. There, I developed a real interest in soft tissue and orthopedic surgery. I went back to the east coast to complete a surgical externship at the Animal Medical Center in New York and became TPLO and laparoscopy certified after eventually returning to San Francisco for good.
I now live here in town with my husband, two kids and two cats. When I'm not at work, I can be found in divey cafes reading my newspaper, at home typing a letter on my typewriter, or listening to the Wood Brothers on my turn table. I illustrate for my writer friend on the side, and occasionally play gigs on the fiddle. I also try as much as possible to speak French and Spanish to people who won't cringe at my terrible accent. If your pets are bi-lingual, get ready... I am known to try my conversational skills on my furry friends as well!
I'm so happy to be a part of the Presidio Way Vet Hospital team- we seem more like a family than co-workers, and I very much look forward to meeting you and your animal family soon!
AVMA, CVMA, DEA licensed, USDA APHIS accredited
2015 ,2016 DJD and GN stem cell trials Animal Cell Therapies San Diego, CA
2011 Laparoscopy Certification - Oquendo Center . Las Vegas, NV
2003 TPLO Certification - Slocum Enterprises Eugene, OR
2003 Basic Abdominal Ultrasound Certification - Westchester, NY
2003 Basic Echocardiography Certification- Biosound Estate Inc Indianapolis, IN
Bill Rivers, DVM
We are very pleased to have Dr. Bill Rivers as our consulting radiologist. Dr. Rivers graduated from the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in 1984 and, after an internship with Dr. Steven Ettinger in Los Angeles the following year, he practiced general small animal medicine in the San Francisco Bay Area for several years. Dr. Rivers then completed specialty training and a PhD in Radiology from the University of Minnesota. He became board-certified as a specialist in Veterinary Radiology by the American College of Veterinary Medicine in 1995. After being on staff at two veterinary schools and a private specialty practice, he established his Bay Area Consulting practice in 1989.
Dr. Rivers performs the more complicated ultrasound examinations on our patients and helps us interpret our more complicated x-ray studies on our patients. His extensive training and experience helps us to provide the highest level of care for our patients.
Amanda Moorehead, The Sheriff
I hail from Downers Grove, Illinois, where I got my start in veterinary medicine in 2002. I began working at Presidio Way in September 2007. As the servant of two rescued cats, I am an avid supporter of animal rescue groups and shelters. Kaspian is an 11-year-old black and white domestic medium hair. He is very sweet and loves to be around people. Squid Vicious was found as a 4-week-old kitten in Battery Park City, New York. She is now a 9-year-old medium hair that loves to attack everything that moves. In my spare time, I am pursuing my other passion as a locally performing singer/songwriter.
Maria Mercado, Client Service Manager
I've been in the veterinarian field as a Client Service Receptionist since 2008 and have been at Presidio Way since February 2012. I continue to learn new things everyday which makes working much more fun and interesting. I have a lovely dachshund mix, Lucy and goofy great dane, Gotham! They are a constant reminder of why I continue to stay in this line of work. It brings me great pleasure being part of team who loves taking care of animals and to be able to help in any way I can. In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my two daughters, reading, and baking.
Cecilia Lin, Nurse
I was born in Burma and moved to the United States in 1995. Ever since I could remember, I was always surrounded by animals (cats, dogs, hamsters, and fish). It only felt natural for me to pursue a career in the veterinary field. I have a pit/lab mix dog named Oreo, that I’ve rescued and raised since he was a puppy, and a Maine Coon cat named coco, that my family rescued from a shelter. In my free time, I’m always at the gym, running, swimming, or involved in outdoor activities; there’s never a day where I am ever idle!
Amanda Tsukamoto, Nurse
I got my start in the veterinary world in 2008 working with a non-profit animal shelter and rescue while I was living and studying abroad. It was during that time I realized where my true passion lies and my career path took a fork in the road! Though I have had the wonderful opportunity to spend most of my adult life traveling internationally, I found that I left my heart in San Francisco, and relocated to the Bay Area in 2012. I now spend all of my free time with my husband and our fur-babies, 2 cat's I adopted while living in South Korea...Soju and Kimchi.
Bianca Guafo, RVT
My love for and care for animals started at a young age taking care of birds, rabbits, turtles, and dogs. Since I was a child, I had always been intrigued by learning about all kinds of animals and knew that i wanted to work with animals in the future. As I grew older, I became more involved in tending to dogs and cats as I started volunteering at an animal shelter in 2011. I graduated from Foothill's Veterinary Technology program in June 2016 and became a veterinary nurse! Eager to begin my dream career, I started working at Presidio Way Veterinary Hospital in July 2016. I love learning new things everyday and I am continuing to learn how to provide the best care for our client's pets. I greatly appreciate my role here and I am grateful to be a part of the Presidio Way team. Other than being a vet tech, my other passion is dancing!
Virginia Carter, Nurse
I grew up in the Bay Area and have had a passion for caring for and treating animals since I was young. I am currently finishing my last year at Foothill College Veterinary Technology Program and I plan on getting my veterinary technician license after graduating. In my free time, I enjoy volunteering at a dog shelter, reading books and going to the movies. I live with my two rescue dogs Daisy and Joe.
Rawnie O'Connor, Nurse
I was born and raised in San Francisco. I grew up in the Richmond district attending Star of the Sea and Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory schools. I have loved animals from a young age and grew up with three cats and a dog. I now have three dogs named Chuck, George, and Abbie. I also have a cat named Redford. I have volunteered at many veterinary hospitals, but I found my home here at Presidio Way. I graduated from an AVMA accredited school in 2016, and I am currently working towards obtaining my RVT license. In my free time, I enjoy adventures with my dogs and travelling.