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Our Practice

We are a full-service animal hospital providing comprehensive pet healthcare services in Capitola, CA. Our veterinarians offer a wide variety of medical, surgical, and dental services. Our hospital has advanced equipment and technologies, including comprehensive in-house testing for accurate diagnosis, digital x-ray, surgical suites, dental suites, and a pharmacy. We are committed to providing quality care at every stage of your pet's life. From routine preventive care to early detection and treatment of a wide range of conditions and diseases, we have the expertise to provide the highest standard of care for your pet. We also serve Santa Cruz, Opal Cliffs, Soquel, Live Oak, and Twin Lakes.

  • Dr. River May, DVM


    My name is Doctor River May and I am honored to be the Medical Director of Capitola Veterinary Hospital. I’d like to introduce myself and present my goals as your veterinarian.

    I have always been close to animals. In fact, my first memory is of a territorial black rooster whose aggressive attitude taught me to respect the animals on our family farm. The pets I grew up with gave me an appreciation for the immense value and depth of the human-animal bond. I was twelve years old when our family moved to California and I caught my first wave in front of Jack O’Neil’s house a few months later. Shortly after high school, I began my studies at UC Santa Cruz where I earned a degree in Molecular Biology. I cherished living by the sea and working in local veterinary hospitals, a marine biology laboratory, and a wildlife rescue center. Eventually, I left for Veterinary School dreaming of returning to the warmth and beauty of Capitola.

    I graduated from The UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in 1998 and began my career in a Bay Area specialty referral hospital. Working with board-certified veterinary specialists for over ten years allowed me to hone advanced skills including endoscopy, ultrasound, critical care, and surgery. My desire to work closer to home compelled me to start my own practice in Capitola.

    Capitola Veterinary Hospital combines friendly, professional, and compassionate service with advanced medical skills. Our progressive philosophy emphasizes preventative medicine to keep your pet healthy. Ongoing facility upgrades and continuing education allows us to offer better quality and more comprehensive services. We strive to accomplish growth while minimizing our environmental impact. I accept the privilege to care for your animals as an honor and look forward to meeting you.

  • Dr. Nicole Hage, DVM


    Dr. Nicole Hage was born and raised in Pacific Grove, California always with a cat in the house, and for as long as she can remember she has loved being around animals. Starting in middle school, Dr. Hage sought every opportunity to volunteer at animal shelters and rescues like the Animal Friends Rescue Project (AFRP) and the SPCA.

    Dr. Hage earned a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science from UC Davis, then went on to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming a veterinary doctor at the University of Missouri, College of Veterinary Medicine. Having never lived outside of California, Missouri was quite the leap. But she discovered a new kind of beauty in the abundant forests and bluffs of the Midwest. One can always appreciate a new place, but there truly is no place like home. After graduating as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, she moved back to the central coast of California which ultimately led to her becoming a veterinarian at Capitola Veterinary Hospital.

    Dr. Hage especially enjoys veterinary dentistry, oncology, and internal medicine. She is committed to providing optimal veterinary care to her patients and educating owners on how to best care for their furry family members so they can more fully enjoy their human-animal bond.

    In her free time, she enjoys exploring coffee shops and restaurants, dancing, drawing, and spending time in nature.

  • Shelly

    RVT + Hospital Manager

    Shelly is our Hospital Manager and RVT.  She grew up in Santa Cruz and has worked on the central coast in the veterinary field for over 25 years. She has experience with both small and large animals. Shelly received her RVT license after attending the Hartnell College Animal Health Technology Program. In her spare time she enjoys riding her horses, and spending time with her husband and their four legged family.

  • Victoria

    Lead Veterinary Assistant

    Victoria (Vic) is one of our Veterinary Assistants, who is a 5th generation local, born and raised in the heart of Santa Cruz, CA. Her love for animals started at the very early age of 5, where she then grew to dream of working in the veterinary field one day. Vic started her animal career in the equine industry as a trainer/coach for Hunter Jumper and Show Jumping horses. Upon becoming a successful coach, she then quickly broadened her love for animals from horse training to becoming a Veterinary Assistant which has currently lead to her career at Capitola Veterinary Hospital. Her love, compassion, and pure kindness for life has pushed her to strive in her career at CVH to fulfill all her patients well-being needs and necessities. She is bound by her loved one, Ricky, and her furr-son, Diesel. They advocate in Pit-bull awareness, enjoy hikes throughout the local scenery, long walks on the beach during the evening sunsets, and always love eating at Santa Cruz’s tastiest craft food spots. She hopes to one day work independently in the animal world but until then, she loves and appreciates every moment spent at Capitola Veterinary Hospital.

  • Georgia

    Client Service Representative

    Georgia has worked in the animal care and veterinary field for close to 20 years. She has had a love for animals since babyhood! She grew up in Sonoma County with many animals, rode horses, and “showed” pets in 4-H. She has lived in Northern California and Southern California, but absolutely adores the Central Coast! She and her chef husband Ken and son have lived in Aptos for about 4 years and love the climate, the warm friendly people, and all of the amazing recreational fun and natural beauty this part of the world has to offer. She loves to spend free time with her guys, going on hikes, reading, playing softball, exploring the local beaches, listening to hard rock music, and playing with her 3 silly fur kids, Posey, Maizie, and Billie!

  • Shauna

    Veterinary Assistant

    Shauna grew up in Los Gatos and graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a major in sociology. While attending UCSC, Shauna discovered her love for working with animals while she volunteered for several organizations, including The Marine Mammal Center, Ca Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the UCSC Long Marine Laboratory. At The Marine Mammal Center, Shauna had hands-on training while rescuing and rehabilitating sick and injured sea lions, seals, otters, and dolphins.

    For the CA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, Shauna had the opportunity to rehabilitate two porpoise calves with pneumonia, by helping them swim in a pool and monitoring their vitals and progress. Shauna also assisted in elephant seal pup research for the UCSC Long Marine Lab. She monitored, weighed, and measured the pups for elephant seal research. After college, Shauna worked for Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks (Friends), which is a Co-Management partner for California State Parks. Shauna worked at various state parks and beaches in Santa Cruz County. While working for Friends, Shauna met her husband, Joe (a State Park Peace Officer Captain).

    Shauna then went on to become an Animal Control Officer for Santa Cruz County. As an Animal Control Officer, Shauna rescued domestic and wildlife animals, and worked with sick, injured, and aggressive animals. Shauna also enforced the laws regarding animals. Shauna transferred positions to become an Animal Health Technician for the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter, where she took care of all the animals in the shelter.

    Shauna then got the opportunity to work at Capitola Veterinary Hospital, and she’s so happy to say she’s the longest running employee (working since 2013) due to the amazing compassion and care from Dr. May and her wonderful manager and coworkers. Shauna lives in the Santa Cruz Mountains with her husband Joe, twin teenagers Austin and Logan, and six-year-old Orion. Shauna also has three fur daughters: rescues- kelpie/shepherd mix Sierra and black lab/pit bull mix Sonoma, and the newest member of the family, yellow lab Shelby.

  • Courtney

    Client Service Representative

    Courtney has lived in Santa Cruz County her whole life. She has always loved animals and being around them. When she was little, her dream job was to become a veterinarian which she still hopes to achieve one day. After graduating from SJSU with a degree in Forensic Science, she spent some time working for Henry Cowell State Park. She is excited to learn and work with this amazing community. In her free time, she can be found reading, singing, cooking, and learning to roller skate.

  • Skylar

    Veterinary Assistant

  • Rika


    Rika grew up in the Santa Cruz Mountains with creative energy and a love for any fuzzy creature, from kittens to tarantulas.  

    After experiencing different animal emergencies and wanting to help all she could, she changed directions from her animation background to becoming a Registered Veterinary Technician through Foothill College.  After 5 years in an integrated general practice, Rika became an emergency, surgical, critical care and internal medicine nurse at busy 24 hour hospital.  Now Rika wants to share her love and continue to help the best friends in our community.  When not working you will find Rika with her dogs and human loved ones; creating art, enjoying nature, practicing yoga, cycling, dancing, and enjoying the simple things. 

  • Maddie

    Veterinary Assistant

  • Audrey-Grace

    Veterinary Assistant

    Audrey grew up in the central valley. She has always had a love for animals and went to school at Fresno State University where she earned her degree in Animal Science. Growing up with animals all around her, her love for animals and nurturing nature has led her to pursue a career in the animal medicine industry. Five years in the field in general practice, emergency, critical care and internal medicine has taught her so much and given her so much appreciation for those in veterinarian medicine. When not working, you will find her with her dog Sir Franklyn and partner Jen, creating art, film photography, surfing, world travel, exploring different cultures, and enjoying new cuisines.