Knollwood Doctors

Deborah Mitchell, D.V.M., M.S.
Our Medical Director and Practice Manager,


Dr. Deborah Mitchell is still as passionate about pets as she was as a 6 year-old in a crumpled and dirty Sunday dress, being scolded by her Mom. Her Mom recalls telling her that she shouldn't have been getting all dirty by playing with strange dogs and cats, and hearing: "But Mama! They're NOT strangers - they're my friends!". 


Today, Dr. Mitchell feels as privileged to care for your pets as she did when she first earned her veterinary degree from the University of Illinois in 1983. And, she still speaks the same Dog, Cat, and Bunny that she learned from her animal friends on those long-ago Sundays. Dr. Mitchell's overall medical focus is wellness maintenance. In other words, she works with you to show you the tools you need to keep your pet vibrantly healthy and happy. She understands that for pet-lovers like herself, our pets are our family and our dear friends.

In addition to serving as our hospital's Medical Director and Practice Manager, Dr. Mitchell sees patients at our hospital Tuesday through Friday every week, as well as on most Mondays each month. She will maintain this schedule through all of 2020, and is available by appointment only. 


Dr. Mitchell practices integrative medicine - not holistic medicine. This means that as appropriate, she combines the best that her traditional Western medical training has to offer with the best of the alternative therapies in which she is trained. This gives your pet more tools for healing - and for wellness maintenance. For consultation patients referred by other area veterinarians, the integrative therapies she offers can greatly enhance the work that your primary care veterinarian is doing to keep your pet healthy and happy! 


Dr. Mitchell  shares her life with two four-legged friends: Cairn Terrier Bettina, and Terrier mix Walter, both "rescued" pets. Walter and Bettina come to work with her every day, and would love to meet you. In her spare time, Dr. Mitchell gardens, reads, kayaks, continues her studies in integrative veterinary medicine, and is active in the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association as a two-time past member of the Board of Directors and as current Vice-Chair of the Conference Program Committee. As a recognized expert lecturer in veterinary acupuncture, veterinary chiropractic, traditional Chinese herbal medicine, Reiki, Bach flower therapy, homotoxicology, and integrative small animal medicine and practice management, Dr. Mitchell lectures to veterinary audiences nationwide.

Mary Papacek Svoboda, D.V.M., M.S.

Our former respected colleague and Associate Veterinarian, Dr. Mary Papacek Svoboda - or, as many of her devoted clients still prefer to call her, "Dr. Mary", now works with us as our primary Relief Veterinarian. Through 2019, she'll be at Knollwood several days a month, plus whenever Dr. Mitchell is lecturing or attending a medical conference. 


Dr. Mary earned her degree in veterinary medicine from the University of Minnesota. Originally from Sparta, Wisconsin, she moved to the Chicago area after graduation. Dr. Svoboda is known for her medical, dental, and client communication skills.  

We are delighted to work with Dr. Mary Svoboda again, on this as-needed relief basis. On days that she works with us, she will be available for medical appointments and surgical appointments to perform the surgical and dental procedures in which she has special expertise.  Dr. Svoboda is also available, on a limited consultation basis, to evaluate the medical and surgical needs of cats and dogs with severe and advanced dental and periodontal disease. 


"Dr. S is always so thorough and caring", says Nurse Hannah. "She spayed my dog, Bristol, and saw her for her first annual exam." Nurse Diane says "I really trust Dr. S with my cat, Gabby. She did a dental on her and did a wonderful job!" Furthermore, Dr. Mitchell utilizes Dr. Svoboda's medical and surgical skills for her own pets, Walter and Bettina.


In her spare time, Dr. Mary can be found out in the garden, relaxing with a good book, or in the kitchen preparing a gourmet meal. (She can cook ANYTHING on a grill, even blueberry cobbler!) She and her husband also enjoy kayaking and canoeing whenever the opportunity arises, as well as traveling to the Cub's winter camp in Arizona to watch them practice.


Knollwood Receptionists

Our Reception team can give you any pertinent information about your pet with a minute's notice. If e-mail is your preferred mode of communication, don't hesitate to let our receptionists know your e-mail address - they will respond to your inquiry or send you reminders via: (please add us to your e-list). Our paperless medical system doesn't just help us stay "green" - it helps you, too! If you have a medical question, a member of our staff may put you on hold briefly so that you can speak to a member of our Nursing Team...

Head Receptionist, Integrative Consultation Coordinator

Yadi es completamente bilingüe Español/Inglés y estará encantada de facilitar comunicación a todos nuestros clientes de Knollwood.

Yadi is our full-time Receptionist. Her years of experience working in Pediatrics are as much of an asset to us here in the veterinary field as is her endless cheer and energy. Yadi heads up our Reception Team and organizes our Integrative Consultations. She is fluent in Spanish, and is glad to assist any Knollwood clients who would benefit from her bilingual communication skills. Her organizational and computer skills help keep our hospital humming. When not at work, she likes spending time with her rescue cat, Luna, who loves to cuddle. Yadi can also be found on the sidelines of a field cheering for both her daughters' marching band and drum corps competitions, or at a taekwondo tournament with her son, Max.


Knollwood Nurses & Nurse Assistants

Our Nursing, Nurse Assistant, and Veterinary Support Staff are just as accommodating and helpful as our Front Desk Staff! They are always available to answer any questions that you may have. Speaking with or e-mailing one of our Nurses is always the fastest way to get a question to, and an answer from, one of our Doctors. If e-mail is easier for you, don't hesitate to let our receptionists know your e-address. Our Nurses will respond to your inquiry via: When you and your pet come in for a visit, a Nurse will often be the first person you meet in the exam room. There, the Nurse will collect a list of medical information from you. Our Nurses can also sit down with you to discuss all of the needs of a new puppy or kitten, so you can be sure that you're doing everything possible as a new pet owner. Our Support Staff play a big role in making both you and your pet feel welcome as well. They are in charge of the cleanliness of the hospital and help the Nurses and Nurse Assistants with patient treatments. None of us could do our jobs without them!

Registered Veterinary Technician, Cryotherapist, CPR-certified (ACVECC)

Registered Veterinary Technician Diane has been utilizing her skills in Chicago-area veterinary hospitals nearly as long as has Dr. Mitchell! She's been assisting our Doctors with all medical, dental, and surgical procedures, as well as in exam rooms, since 2016. Cryotherapy is one of her specialty skills - she's definitely the person to talk to about anesthetic-free removal of skin lumps & bumps! Another is nutrition advice for patients who need a specialized diet, whether commercial or home-made. She is also Certified in CPR through the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care. Diane is a true Cat Whisperer, having worked with many shelter kitties in her career, including her own cat, Gabby, rescued as a tiny kitten. She and her husband are serious Lyric Opera fans. 

Veterinary Nurse, Certified Laser Therapist,

CPR-Certified (ACVECC) 

Hannah has served as a member of our Nursing Team since college graduation in 2016. She's a Certified Therapeutic Laser Therapist in Class IV Cold Laser Therapy, through AIMLA. She is also Certified in CPR. Hannah assists our Doctors with all exam room and treatment area procedures, and provides anesthetic support, post-surgical care and T.L.C. for our surgery patients. If your pet has ever taken a homotoxicologic medication such as an isode or nosode, Hannah's the one who patiently and painstakingly prepared all 100 serial dilutions! In her spare time, Hannah enjoys yoga, golf, and spending time with  friends, family, and her dog, Bristol. Her future plans include training as a Certified Veterinary Technician.


Veterinary Nurse, Certified Laser Therapist, CPR-Certified(ACVECC)

Stephanie (Steph) came to us early in 2018 from a large area emergency facility, where she provided emergency and immediate medical care assistance to injured and ill pets. She has expertise not only in these areas, but in dental care as well as surgery and primary medical patient care, where she assists our Doctors in exam rooms and in our surgical and dental suites. Steph is a certified Therapeutic Laser Therapist in Class IV Cold Laser Therapy, through AIMLA. She is also CPR-Certified through the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care. Steph is the proud owner of a young adult Goldie named Chief. 

Client Connection Specialist 

Maureen's years of experience working in a large area vet hospital, before jointing our staff in 2019, are as much of an asset to us as is her caring demeanor and calm, positive energy. Maureen headed up our Reception Team before family needs required a move to Arizona. We were delighted that she chose to remain with us, working remotely to bring news and updates about Knollwood events and integrative healthcare to our clients via electronic media.

Hospital Assistant

As a Knollwood Hospital Assistant, Chelsea heads up our HA team and is responsible for our hospital sanitation and cleanliness, as well as for attending to the comfort of both hospitalized patients (feeding, walking, keeping them clean and comfortable) and clients. She also makes sure that our clients and patients are comfortable by providing beverages and food. Chelsea is a local high school student and a proud "pet parent".

Hospital Assistant

Bio coming soon...

Business Hours

(Phone service ceases one half hour before closing time each day)


9:00am - 7:00pm


9:00am - 7:00pm


9:00am - 7:00pm


9:00am - 7:00pm


9:00am - 1:00pm





© 2019 by Knollwood Hospital for Pets. Proudly created by Danielle Perrott

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