Our Team

The Neurology/Neurosurgery Service is run by a team of five attending faculty veterinarians (all board-certified neurologists – i.e. specialists in neurology) and four residents specializing in the neurological diseases of animals. The NNS provides diagnostic testing, medical care, and surgery for dogs and cats, as well as a consultation service for horses, food animals, exotic species and laboratory animals.

Peter J. Dickinson, BVSc, PhD, DACVIM (Neurology)

Dr. Dickinson obtained his veterinary degree (BVSc) from the University of Liverpool in 1989, followed by a surgical internship at the University of Glasgow which he completed in 1993. In 1995 he completed a PhD with the Applied Neurobiology Group at the University of Glasgow. Dr. Dickinson completed a Neurology/Neurosurgery residency in 2000, and achieved board certification the same year. He is currently an Professor of Neurology/Neurosurgery at UC Davis.


Marguerite F. Knipe, DVM, DACVIM, (Neurology)

Dr. Knipe was born and raised in Redondo Beach, California. She received her DVM from the University of California at Davis, followed by a one-year rotating internship at Purdue University. She completed her residency in Neurology/Neurosurgery at UC Davis and is currently a Health Sciences Clinical Professor on the service, training veterinary students and residents. Dr. Knipe has worked as aspecialist in private practice at the Animal Care Center in Rohnert Park, California.



Richard A. LeCouteur, BVSc, PhD, DACVIM, (Neurology), DECVN

Dr. LeCouteur received his Veterinary degree (BVSc) in 1975 from the University of Sydney in Australia. After a year in small animal practice in Sydney, he did an internship and a residency in surgery at the University of Guelph in Canada (1976 to 1978). He completed his Neurology/Neurosurgery residency training and a PhD in comparative pathology at the University of California-Davis and then joined the faculty of Colorado State University from 1984 to 1989.


Beverly K. Sturges, DVM, DACVIM (Neurology)

Dr. Sturges completed a BS with high honors from Andrews University in 1980. Between 1980-1981, Dr. Sturges was a graduate researcher in Immunoparasitology. She received her DVM degree cum laude, from Oregon State University in 1986.
Dr. Sturges practiced mixed animal medicine and surgery between 1986-1988 and small animal medicine and surgery from 1988-1991. She then moved to Sydney, Australia, where she was a small animal practitioner between 1991-1995. Dr. Sturges returned to the USA in 1995 and completed a Neurology/Neurosugery residency at the VMTH UC Davis in 1998.


Karen M.Vernau, DVM, MAS, DACVIM, (Neurology), Chief of Service

Dr. Vernau completed three years of an Honors BSc degree before acceptance into Veterinary School. She received her DVM degree with distinction from the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph in 1991. After graduation she worked in a small animal practice in Canada for one year before moving to Sydney, Australia. In Sydney she was a small animal practitioner in two large practices until 1994. She moved to California in 1994 in order to complete a Neurology/Neurosurgery residency at UC Davis. In 1997 she was the recipient of the Favorite Small Animal Resident Award from the veterinary class of 1997.
In 2006, she completed a master's degree in clinical research at the UC Davis School of Medicine. She is currently an Associate Clinical Professor of Neurology/Neurosurgery at UC Davis, and Chief of Service. Dr. Vernau's research interests include inflammatory brain disease, cerebrospinal fluid, metabolic encephalopathies and brain tumors. She and her family keep busy with their 2 mixed-breed dogs (Bessie and Joey), 1 Abyssinian cat (Rojo), 1 rabbit (Mandy), and 1 guinea pig (Tanner). Joey has been an active registered blood donor at the VMTH since 2009.