Dr. Melissa Birken and her family (husband, three children and three dogs) are residents of Damascus. It has been Dr. Birken’s long time dream to built a companion animal hospital offering both routine and emergency medical and surgical services to her hometown. In 2014, Dr. Birken build Paws & Claws Animal Hospital. Veterinarian and clinical staff are highly trained and experienced in both general and emergency medicine.
Dr. Birken received her veterinary degree from Oklahoma State University in 2007. She started practicing at a general veterinary hospital in Gaithersburg, Maryland. During this time, she also continued her training part time at various emergency hospitals to learn advanced surgical techniques and emergency trauma medicine. Dr. Birken next elected to continue advanced training as a full time associate an emergency veterinary clinic in Hagerstown, Maryland.
Dr. Melissa Birken is experienced in treating unexpected emergencies such as trauma from a car accident, breathing difficulties (asthma, cardiac disease), bloat (twisting of the stomach), and removing objects from the digestive tract that our four legged friends should not have eaten. The hospital is well equipped with the latest equipment for both routine care as well as emergencies. Paws and Claws Animal Hospital offers in-house diagnostic blood analysis, blood pressure monitoring, oxygen saturation monitoring, ultrasound, EKG, a complete surgery suite, cages to provide oxygen, and digital radiology to provide full care.
You can be confident in bringing your treasured pet to Dr. Birken whose extensive training goes beyond routine care to include complex surgeries and emergency needs. Dr. Birken will also make recommendations as to how to keep your pet healthy all year. Your pet will have the best available veterinary care from a very compassionate practitioner.
Areas of Interest:
General/ Preventative Care
Most importantly hugging all our furry little friends!
Dr. Kerry Murphy
Dr. Murphy is a native California who has lived Maryland since 2007. She completed a Bachelor of Science in Psychology at the University of California, Davis, and graduated from the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in 2003. Dr. Murphy worked in a referral equine practice in Southern California before moving to a mixed animal practice in Howard County, Maryland. Dr Murphy enjoys small animal medicine & surgery and also continues to work in large animal practice with horses, sheep, goats, alpacas and the occasional pig. She is trained in High Volume High Quality Spay and Neuter (HVHQSN) techniques and works with several non-profit and rescue groups to control pet over population.
As a heart transplant recipient, Dr. Murphy is active the organ transplant community. She volunteers with Donate Life and Team Maryland to educate the public about organ donation. Dr. Murphy honors her second chance at life by competing nationally and internationally in the Transplant Games of America and the World Transplant Games (olympic style games for transplant recipients and living organ donors). She competes in a variety of events including track & field and basketball and has earned several gold medals. In addition to her competitive athletic adventures, Dr. Murphy is an avid hiker/backpacker who hopes to thru hike the Appalachian Trail.
Lead Veterinary Technician
Natalie has loved animals from a young age and has always wanted to help take care of them. Natalie started her veterinary career with Paws & Claws Animal Hospital in 2014. She is currently working on her veterinary technician license at Ashworth University. She shares her home with her husband Andrew, daughter Eleanor and 2 dogs Bandit (lab/shephard mix) and Izzy (Boston).
Areas of Interest:
Large and Small Animals
Kasey grew up on her family farm in Montgomery county, Maryland where she raised market steers and hogs. She was an active member in multiple 4-H clubs for over 10 years. Her passion for all animals started at a young age. She started working in veterinary medicine and found her new passion. She started her career at Paws & Claws Animal Hospital in 2018. Kasey is currently enrolled at Ashworth Career College get her certification to become a Registered Veterinary Technician. Kasey currently resides with her two little girls, her husband Alex, and her three dogs Doug (Saint Bernard), Abby (Black Lab) and Macy (pitbull). Her and her husband live locally and enjoy spending time together as a family and getting out on the water as much as possible.
Patti is a native of Pennsylvania where her love of animals started her on a new career path 21 years ago and she’s never looked back! Patti joined our team in 2017 and brings 10 years of ER experience with her. She is always learning, eager to expand her knowledge and enjoys educating both clients and coworkers. Patti resides in West Virginia with her husband and three sons. They have recently welcomed a black lab puppy named Zeppelin into their family. In her free time, you will find Patti watching her boys play hockey, playing with her puppy and hiking with her husband.
Aryn grew up in Rockville in a home that always had animals. She started her career in veterinary medicine when she was 18 as a kennel assistant. Since then, Aryn has worked as a receptionist, scheduler, surgery technician, recovery technician, intermediate care technician, and assisted in emergency and critical care at a local specialty veterinary hospital and an ER technician at a local veterinary emergency hospital. Outside of work Aryn likes to spend time with her children, hike, and dabble in photography. Aryn has four fur babies, Maggie (Dog), Gizmo (Dog), Champ (Dog), Gizmo (Cat). Aryn is very happy to be a part of the team at Paws & Claws.
Nina started working in a local animal hospital in Wheaton when she was 14. She continued to work as an assistant part-time through high school and college, graduating from Montgomery College with an Associates in Life Sciences and the University of Maryland with a BS in Environmental Science and Policy, focussing on wildlife. She lives with two dogs (Juneau and Casper) and two cats (Oliver and Jezzy). Nina aspires to continue training and education as a veterinary technician.
Areas of Interest:
Veterinary Medicine/Critical Care
Ice Skating and Hiking
Dr. Katie Spaniol
Dr. Katie Spaniol grew up in Frederick, MD. Her family’s farm style property was home to a wide variety of pets, which fostered at a young age a true passion for the care of animals. Dr. Spaniol graduated from Towson University in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a minor in Chemistry. She gained experience in small and large animal medicine working as a veterinary technician in a mixed animal practice prior to and throughout veterinary school. Dr. Spaniol received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine in 2017. Her areas of interest include radiology, ultrasonography, dentistry, internal medicine and preventive medicine. She shares her home with a tuxedo cat (Nola) and a chocolate Labrador retriever (Penny). Dr. Spaniol strives to provide quality, compassionate veterinary care to the Damascus community.
Ally graduated from the University of Maryland with a bachelors degree in Animal Sciences in May 2022! She grew up in Damascus, MD with an avid love for small and large animals doing competitive horseback riding for 6 years and having died in the home for as long as she can remember. Ally has been a part of our team since 2016 and is excited to continue serving the Damascus communities furry friends with her plans of becoming a state licensed veterinary technician!
Meet Becca! She just recently joined our team in March. Becca has been an avid animal lover since she was a child, and her family owned multiple pets. She lives in Damascus with her husband Jamie, and their cat Obi and gecko Anakin. When Becca’s not at the front desk, she’s enjoying the outdoors, and cooking.
Bio Coming Soon!
Dr. Eric Dubbin is from Florida and graduated from UF in the 80s. The bond between people and their pets matters. And Dr. Dubbin focuses on that connection for the benefit of both. His joy is preventive and proactive medicine for physical, mental, and emotional wellness. His hobbies are music and birding.
Chantell is a professional groomer with over 10 years of experience grooming cats and dogs. Chantell strives to make the world beautiful one pet at a time.
Areas of Interest:
Styling pet hair
Watching Scary Movies
Meet Tina! Tina always had a great love fro animals. Tina And Dr. Birken actually started working with each at the previous hospital in 2007! They worked so well in the veterinary field together, Tina joined our team at Paws & Claws Animal Hospital from the start in 2014. She has several great rapports with our clients and their furry family members. Since , Tina was a young child she has gravitated towards animals. She has always had four legged fur babies around and my bond became strong. They say “ a child who grows up with pets will never be lonely, they can make a friend anywhere they go.” Tina was active in 4-H and showed horses. Now days are spent with my husband and two wonderful daughters who also share that love of animals. Her passion has been handed down to them and they help care for our dogs, cat and hamster.