Meet The Vet: Kelly Giunta, VMD, CVA

Dr. Kelly Giunta grew up in southern New Jersey and received her undergraduate degree from  Rutger’s University.  She earned a Master’s degree in Genetics and performed biomedical research at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia before attending the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. Following graduation, she completed an internship at Southwest Equine Medical and Surgical Center in Scottsdale, AZ. She then joined Equine Sports Medicine in Texas, where she further honed her skills in sports medicine and lameness by following the AQHA and NRHA circuits as a horse show veterinarian. She joined Blue Ridge Equine Clinic in 2010. Her professional interests include lameness, sports medicine, diagnostic imaging and acupuncture. She completed specialized training in equine acupuncture at the Chi Institute in Florida. She is also an FEI permitted treating veterinarian.  In her spare time, Kelly enjoys competing her horse Witham at local events, mountain biking, skiing, and traveling.  Dr. Giunta’s favorite part of working at BREC are the amazing clients, patients, and staff that she interacts with every day!

Meet The Vet: Donovan Dagner, DVM

Dr. Donovan Dagner serves as President of Blue Ridge Equine Clinic. He grew up on a training farm in New Jersey where he gained an appreciation for horses and the people who work with them. He graduated from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine in 1995 and completed an internship at Apex Veterinary Hospital in North Carolina before joining Blue Ridge Equine Clinic in 1996. He has served on the Virginia Association of Equine Practitioners board as well as the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association board.

His current interests include dentistry and reproductive services, including embryo transfer. He provides these services as well as all routine health care to the clients of Blue Ridge Equine Clinic at their farms as well as at the clinic. His wife Anne is also a veterinarian. They live in Crozet with their daughters, Cecelia and Calla. They all enjoy hiking, camping and any excuse to go to the beach.

His favorite part of being an equine veterinarian at BREC is building relationships with our clients. He says, “It is great to visit with them on their farms and hear all about their horses and their families. After being at BREC for 20 years, I am grateful for all the wonderful connections I have been able to make.”


Malorie Kemmerer, LVT Of The Year, As Described By Her Colleagues

Blue Ridge Equine Clinic is very pleased to announce that our LVT, Malorie Kemmerer, was awarded the Virginia Technician of the Year award. Throughout her years of working at the hospital, she has become an example to all those who work alongside her. From her wealth of knowledge to her fiercely positive attitude and love for her patients, Malorie is one of those humans you just want to sit down and get to know. From those who work with her, it is a definite privilege and we are all so glad she is getting this recognition. This is how they describe her:

“Malorie is one who is consistent, whether it be as a veterinary technician or simply as a person. She is a driven, take no handout, and work-for-what-you-get type of person. She is compassionate, non-judgemental, and selfless.She is confident, yet modest. She is the type of woman moms and dads want their daughter to grow into; a truly all-American girl.”

“Malorie has served as a mentor to many, and she completely represents the attributes of a valued member of the veterinary team. She has a heart filled with love and hope for all living beings. Malorie comes in to work every day with a smile on her face; it is a rare day that she is not ready to jump into the work ahead. From identifying bacteria on culture gram stains to running anesthesia to pouring through inventory numbers on the computer, Malorie is a great technician who is proficient in all aspects of the job; including more “behind the scenes” tasks than one can list. She has a heart of gold and simply sees good in the world.”

“Malorie has amazing patient side manner, animals and people alike are drawn to her. She can easily communicate and explain procedures with clients and co-workers. She can repair just about any piece of equipment and is always available to help out a co-worker. Anyone that comes in contact with her, sees her in her element, and sees how gentle she can be with her patients is a lucky person.”

“Malorie has been an exemplary mentor for interns, veterinary students, and technicians and student technicians. She is very approachable, and explains things in a way that is easy for everyone to understand. She has received numerous compliments from those that she works with and has a personality that unites rather than divides. She remains calm in crisis situations and has an innate ability to neutralize challenging and or difficult situations. She does this all in a very humble manner and not in a way that is self-promoting. She is one of the few people that actually raises the work level of the people around her. Because of that, many look up to her as a leader and everyone enjoys working with her. She is a team builder. Her motivation in pure and simple, selfless, she does what is best for the horse and for the practice.”

“I feel incredibly privileged to work with Malorie as a technician. She is hard-working and devoted to her patients, and she has taught me a lot from her years of experience. Furthermore, she is not only a great technician but a wonderful person, whose kind-hearted, upbeat, and conscientious attitude shows through in all that she does. She works hard for the clinic and horses without ever asking for recognition.”

“Malorie was a great resource and friend during the first few months of my internship. She helped to make the transition from a student to an intern as easy as possible and was always available for questions night and day. This can be a very stressful shift as we begin our veterinary career. Blue Ridge Equine has some of the best technicians I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with and Malorie is absolutely incredible. Her compassion for her patients is unparalleled and she demands nothing but the best work from everyone. If we, as doctors, face a problem with a patient or treatment plan she is always thinking of good alternatives to give the horse the best care. And lastly, her infinite patience and kindness is something I will never forget. Thank you Malorie for your unconditional love for veterinary medicine and your patients.”

“Although Malorie will honestly try to convince you that she’s “not a teacher” there is no one I have learned more from in my short career. From her example, I have learned the true meaning of professionalism and hard work. She holds herself to a high standard so that every client, horse, and doctor gets her full attention, devotion, and compassion. In a career where burnout and compassion fatigue are daily challenges, Malorie never fails to be optimistic. She navigates the extreme lows of this profession with honesty and humanity. Her quiet support is a constant pillar of strength, in both the high points and low, inspiring everyone to keep going.”













Meet The Vet: Tracy Norman, VMD, ACVIM

Dr. Tracy Norman grew up in Pennsylvania, where she enjoyed foxhunting. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine in 2002 and completed an internship at Blue Ridge Equine in 2003. She completed an internal medicine residency at Texas A&M University, and is board certified in large animal internal medicine (equine focus). She has completed training in veterinary acupuncture at the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society. She has spent 6 years as an academic veterinarian at Texas A&M focusing on internal medicine and advanced ultrasound techniques. While there, she acted as the service chief for internal medicine and ultrasound and authored a number of scientific papers on internal medicine and ultrasound. Dr. Norman’s professional interests include diagnostic and interventional ultrasound, sports medicine, and internal medicine. She is very active in the American Association of Equine Practitioners. What she likes best about being an equine veterinarian at BREC: “Being part of a team of supportive veterinarians who are all dedicated to excellence. And the gorgeous Valley sunrises!”


Meet The Vet: Dr. Julia Hecking, DVM, CVA

Dr. Julia Hecking completed her undergraduate studies at Virginia Tech, then received her DVM from the University of Minnesota. After graduation, she completed an equine internship at Blue Ridge Equine Clinic before accepting a position as an associate veterinarian at BREC.

She enjoys working on a variety of breeds and disciplines of all different levels. Her special interests include reproductive work, lameness/sports medicine, dentistry and preventative medicine. She is certified in acupuncture and completed her training at the Chi Institute in Florida. She is an FEI veterinarian, a member of the American Association of Equine Practitioners, Vice President of the Virginia Association of Equine Practitioners, and is on the Board of Ride With Pride, a local therapeutic riding program. She is a control veterinarian at many Virginia endurance rides and enjoys presenting for pony club chapters and other equine associations.

She lives on a farm in Goshen, enjoys eventing her horse Cody, working cattle and anything outdoors. What does Dr. Hecking like best about her work as a vet with BREC? She said, “I enjoy working on all sorts of challenging cases and seeing them through from start to finish, especially knowing I can utilize the expertise and resources that the other veterinarians in my practice are able to provide. In the end, the most important thing is the horse’s well-being and the bond between the patient and owner.”

Profiling Newly Inducted AAEP President Dr. Reynolds Cowles

Blue Ridge Equine Clinic is proud to share Dr. Reynolds Cowles’ profile, published in this month’s Equine Veterinary Education magazine. We wish you the best as President of the American Association of Equine Practitioners and know your leadership will be as valued there as it’s always been here at Blue Ridge Equine Clinic.

Blue Ridge Equine Clinic Donates To Employees’ Favorite Charities

Blue Ridge Equine Clinic is pleased to support many equine related organizations and events each year. This year, partners Dr. Donovan Dagner and Dr. Steve Trostle also invited all BREC team members to pick their favorite charities to receive donations in their names. The result was BREC donating to the following 18 charities on behalf of BREC team members. All of us at BREC appreciate the fine work these organizations provide:

AAEP Foundation

Broadus Wood PTO


Brownsville PTO

Buck Mountain Food Pantry

Charlottesville-Albemarle ASPCA

Earlysville Fire Department

Earlysville Community Picnic

Hope’s Legacy Equine Rescue

Hunt Staff Foundation

Meals on Wheels of Charlottesville/Albemarle

Montanova Stable Foundation

Ride With Pride VA

Shelter for Help in Emergency

Special Olympics Virginia

Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation

UVA Children’s Hospital

UVA Polo


Putting You & Your Horse First – Every Time

retreat big1The doctors and staff spent last Thursday afternoon discussing ways to make every one of our clients’ equine care experiences excellent, every time without exception. We intend that each of our patients, from geriatric pasture pets to horses competing on a national level, will get the best, most cutting edge care available anywhere.

When you see one of our veterinarians, you have access to the entire BREC team: nine veterinarians with well over 100 years of combined equine focused expertise, including a board certified surgeon, a board certified internal medicine specialist, certified equine chiropractic, acupuncture and FEI veterinarians. Our veterinarians continuously stay abreast of the latest discoveries in diagnosis, medicine and treatment. They are involved in many equine associations on the national, state and local levels, and regularly consult on cases with each other and with colleagues across the United States.

We are always here for you and for your horse. Please let us know whenever we may be of help with any of your equine health care needs.

Dr. Tracy Norman Attends Advanced Cardiology Course

Dr. Tracy Norman attended an advanced equine cardiology course in Las Vegas offered by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine that was only open to internal medicine and veterinary cardiology specialists. New research regarding the importance of heart rhythm disturbances  on performance and safety was presented, as well as advanced techniques in echocardiography (heart ultrasound) and cardiac diagnostics for horses with poor athletic performance. This course will help me to thoroughly diagnose heart murmurs, rhythm disturbances, and performance limitations, to formulate a prognosis for horses with heart problems, and aid owners and riders in making informed decisions about the safety and suitability of horses for different kinds of work.

Dr. Tracy Norman Available For Appointments At The Clinic

Dr. Tracy Norman, VMD, ACVIM will be available for appointments at the clinic and for farm calls in the Charlottesville area beginning September 30. Dr. Norman will continue to be based in our Valley Division, but will be working at our clinic in Earlysville on Wednesdays and on an as needed basis to serve our clients in central Virginia.

Dr. Norman is a boarded Internal Medicine Specialist, in addition to having her doctorate in veterinary medicine. She has dedicated a large part of her career to excellence in diagnostic ultrasound and has been invited by state, regional, and national organizations to teach ultrasound to veterinarians on many occasions.

A boarded Internal Medicine Specialist is a veterinarian who specializes in conditions that affect the general health and well- being of her/his patients, including conditions affecting the GI tract, respiratory system, blood and lymphatics, liver, muscles, kidneys and bladder, neurologic system, infectious diseases, and care of neonates (newborn foals). Specialty training in Internal Medicine emphasizes critical thinking, excellent history taking and physical examination skills, and a problem based approach to reaching a diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Board certification in Internal Medicine requires several years of training with specialists, passing multiple examinations, completing research, and publishing at least one peer-reviewed article. Equine Internal Medicine specialists are employed in many diverse fields, including critical care medicine, cardiology, pulmonology, neurology, sports medicine, neonatology, general practice, industry, and academia, to name a few.

As always, let us know how we may best serve as a resource for your equine care needs.