Board-certified veterinary surgeons
Only veterinarians who have successfully completed the rigorous certification requirements of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS) receive the prestigious Diplomate designation. These veterinarians have earned board certification and the right to be called specialists in veterinary surgery. All our surgeons at Animal Surgical & Orthopedic Center are ACVS Diplomates.
Allen L. Johnson, DVM
Dr. Johnson received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Colorado State University in 1996, then completed a one-year rotating internship at Angell Memorial Animal Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. He went on to complete a three-year surgical residency at Michigan State University, earning board certification in 2001.
Following his residency, Dr. Johnson remained at Michigan State University for two years as an assistant professor in small animal orthopedic surgery. While there, he was integral in helping to develop MSU’s Canine Arthroscopy program. He moved to Seattle to join the Animal Surgical in 2002.
Dr. Johnson’s research has been published in several veterinary journals and texts, and he has lectured at national and international veterinary surgical meetings. His professional interests include canine arthroscopy, patellar luxation, correction of angular limb deformities, and distraction osteogenesis.
Outside of work, he enjoys golfing, hiking, and exploring the Northwest with his wife and three sons. They share their home with their Golden Retriever, Annie and a pointer mix named Frankie.
Alexander Z. Aguila, DVM
Dr. Aguila completed his veterinary degree at the New York State College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University in 2000. Following veterinary school, he completed a year-long internship in small animal medicine and surgery in Springfield, Massachusetts, at Rowley Memorial Animal Hospital, and a year-long surgical internship in Pattersonville, New York, at the Capital District Veterinary Surgical Associates. Dr. Aguila then returned to Cornell, where he completed a three-year residency in small animal surgery. He earned board certification in small animal surgery in 2006.
Prior to joining Animal Surgical in 2008, Dr. Aguila gained substantial experience in a variety of surgical procedures while in private practice at Bay Area Veterinary Specialists in Houston. He has lectured extensively to the veterinary community, both in academic and private practice settings, and his published works include studies exploring the biomechanics of locking compression plates. His professional interest includes cranial cruciate ligament deficiency and minimally invasive surgery including fracture repair and locking plate technology.
In his free time, Dr. Aguila likes to spend time with his family, getting outside as often as possible to go hiking, camping, skiing, running and expanding his newfound interest in cycling.
Russell L. Bennett, DVM
Dr. Bennett graduated from Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1991 and completed his internship in small animal medicine and surgery at Texas A&M University. He returned to Michigan State University to complete his three-year residency in small animal surgery in 1995.
Following a two-year position as staff surgeon at Metropolitan Veterinary Hospital in Akron, OH, he earned board certification in 1997, joining Animal Surgical shortly thereafter.
Dr. Bennett performs a wide variety of orthopedic and soft tissue procedures, and he has a special interest in orthopedic disease. He researched, published and lectured on many surgical topics while attending Michigan State University.
Outside of work, Dr. Bennett enjoys traveling with his wife and whipping up gourmet meals.
Kristin Kirkby Shaw, DVM, MS, PhD
Diplomate ACVS, Diplomate ACVSMR
Dr. Kristin Kirkby Shaw is a small animal surgeon and rehabilitation specialist whose career has focused on bridging the gap between these two disciplines. She received her DVM from the University of Florida in 2003, followed by a rotating internship in Colorado, and small animal surgery residency at the University of Florida. Dr. Kirkby Shaw completed both her MS and Ph.D. at the University of Florida.
As a surgical resident, Dr. Kirkby Shaw recognized the need for rehabilitation for her patients and took graduate courses in rehabilitation science, exercise science, and therapeutic modalities. In 2008 she became a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist (CCRT). In 2009 she became board certified in veterinary surgery (DACVS-SA). Following her residency, she remained at UF as faculty in surgery and founded the University of Florida Small Animal Rehabilitation and Fitness Center. In 2010 she was awarded the Outstanding Young Alumni Award by the University of Florida. In 2013, she became a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation (DACVSMR).
Dr. Kirkby Shaw has been a surgeon and rehabilitation specialist in Seattle since 2010. She sees appointments both at Animal Surgical and through our rehab department, SOUND Vet Rehab. She specializes in seeing dogs with hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, cranial cruciate ligament rupture, and arthritis. Her goal is to provide a comprehensive plan that is customized to each patient. While surgery is often part of the treatment plan, she can also discuss and provide non-surgical options such as intra-articular therapy (PRP, stem cell therapy), pain management, nutritional guidance and rehabilitation therapy. Dr. Kirkby Shaw is also a consultant with the Woodland Park Zoo, where she provides specific guidance on rehabilitation and pain management techniques for zoo animals with arthritis.
Dr. Kirkby Shaw is past-president of the American Association of Rehabilitation Veterinarians and is currently an instructor for the Canine Rehabilitation Institute. In 2018 she was the recipient of the John J. Sherman Award for Excellence in Veterinary Rehabilitation. She is a frequent invited speaker at national and international veterinary conferences and has authored numerous journal articles and textbook chapters related to veterinary surgery and rehabilitation.
She doesn’t leave the world of rehab behind when she goes home. Her husband, Aaron, is an occupational therapist/certified hand therapist and owner of MoveMend, physical and occupational therapy practices in the Seattle area. Kristin and Aaron are proud parents of Beans (Frenchie) and Arrow (Labrador). In Kristin’s rare spare time she enjoys running, snowboarding, hiking, yoga, and travel.
Mike Thoesen, DVM
DVM: Kansas State University, Magna Cum Laude, 2002
Internship: Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine
Residency: Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine
Board Certified: 2007
Areas of Interest: Regenerative bone healing; Complex fracture management
Prior to joining Animal Surgical, Dr. Thoesen worked for 11 years in Omaha, Nebraska, at Midwest Veterinary Referral and Emergency Center. In addition to clinical practice, he taught fourth-year veterinary students, lectured extensively to the surrounding veterinary community, and published multiple cases and research papers.
It seems that animal health is a family affair as his wife, Keli Anne, is also a veterinarian. Dr. Thoesen and his family started a new adventure in July of 2017 by moving to Seattle, his wife’s hometown. They have two daughters, a black Labrador named Emma and two cats, Kenny and Chief.
In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family, mountain biking, fishing, and camping.
Jeff Mitchell, DVM
DVM: Washington State University College of Veterinary
Internship: College of Veterinary Medicine, Texas A&M
(Small Animal Rotating)
Residency: College of Veterinary Medicine, University of
California-Davis (Small Animal Surgery)
Diplomate: American College of Veterinary Surgeons
Professional Interests: Dr. Mitchell is highly skilled in
fracture management, joint disease, and arthroscopy. He
is also adept at a wide array of minimally invasive
When he’s not at work, you can find him spending time with his wife, Mariah, and their dog, Arya. They enjoy camping, bike rides, cooking, and going on road trips. They are all excited to be moving back to the Pacific Northwest.
The addition of Dr. Mitchell means your patients now have access to a team of six board-certified surgeons, plus experienced licensed technicians and support staff. Together, with our rehabilitation division, SOUND, we are able to provide the widest array of treatments available in the region.