Rebecca Saunders, DVM, DACVIM (Cardiology)


Dr. Rebecca Saunders grew up in Chicago and attended Washington University in St. Louis for her undergraduate degree in Biology. She then went on to attend veterinary school at the University of Missouri. She completed her small animal medical and surgical rotating internship at The Ohio State University and was then accepted into a cardiology residency at Purdue University. 

After completion of her residency in 2018, she practiced as a board-certified cardiologist in St. Louis for 4 years. After visiting Charleston on vacation, she fell in love with the city and knew her heart was pulling her to the South. She happily joined CVRC in December 2022 and is excited to join forces with Dr. Jesty to care for all the Charleston cardiac patients! Her clinical cardiology interests include feline cardiomyopathies, arrhythmia management in dogs and cats, and caring for chronic congestive heart failure patients.

Education / Experience: 

2022 - PresentCardiologist - Charleston Veterinary Referral Center, Charleston, SC
2018-2022Private Practice
2015-2018Residency in Cardiology & Master's Degree - Purdue University, Veterinary Teaching Hospital, West Lafayette, IN
2014-2015Internship in Small Animal Medicine & Surgery - The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
2010-2014Doctor of Veterinary Medicine - University of Missouri-Columbia, College of Veterinary Medicine, Columbia, MO
2006-2010Bachelor of Arts - Washington University, St. Louis, MO


Saunders RS, Kraipowich N, Marshall HC. Intracardiac malignant nonchromaffin paraganglioma (chemodectoma) in a cat. Journal of Veterinary Cardiology 2021;37:1-7.

Saunders RS. Rare atrioventricular septal defects in veterinary species: complete atrioventricular septal defect in a dog and double-outlet right atrium in a cat. Veterinary Record Case Reports 2021;e149.

Saunders RS, Scansen BA, Jung SS, Khabiri H, Wilkie DA. Use of an intravenous sclerosing foam (3% sodium tetradecyl sulfate) for treatment of orbital varix in a dog. Veterinary Ophthalmology 2017;1-5.

Halpin RE, Saunders RS, Thompson BJ, Rohde Newgent AS, Amorim J, Melillo GN, DeClue AE. Evaluation of a feline-specific multiplex, bead-based assay for detection of cytokines, chemokines, growth factors, and other immunologically active proteins in serum and plasma samples from cats. American Journal of Veterinary Research 2016;77:495-504.


ACVIM Cardiology Specialty Examination Committee (June 2020-Present)

ACVIM Scientific Editorial Board member (April 2020-Present): Membership & Communications Committee subcommittee and the subcommittee

Veterinary Specialty Services Rotating Internship Selection Committee (January-February 2021)


November 2017: Abstract-The effects of serotonin & reduced ALK5 function on the development of myxomatous valvular degeneration in rats

September 2016: Signaling Pathways and Protein Expression in Mitral Valve Degeneration

April 2016: Antithrombotics in the Management of Feline Aortic Thromboembolic Disease

May 2015: Clinical Case Presentation for Clinical Pathology Conference-“Riley” Roberts


October 2021: Arrhythmias (Part 1); In-house intern and ER doctor rounds

July 2021: Cardiac Emergencies; In-house intern and ER doctor rounds

November 2019: Common ICU Arrhythmias and Their Treatment; In-house technician CE

October 2019: Canine Congestive Heart Failure (1 hour) & Canine Heartworm Disease (1 hour); RDVM CE entitled Coughing Dog Symposium

May 2019: Canine & Feline Heartworm Disease and Treatment Updates; RDVM CE

July 2017: Feline Aortic Thromboembolism, ECG Basics & Arrhythmias; Intern rounds

Fall 2015, 2016, 2017: Cardiovascular Diseases, Heartworm Disease; VCS 322 course

August 2016: NAVLE Preparation- Cardiology Topics; Senior veterinary students

July 2016: Feline Aortic Thromboembolism; Intern rounds


Purdue Veterinary Clinical Sciences Research Residency Research Project

West Lafayette, IN. 9/2017 - 7/2018.

Conducted an experimental and histopathological study evaluating the effects of serotonin and ALK5 inhibition on the development of myxomatous valvular degeneration in a rat model

CIRMD (Critical Illness Related Myocardial Dysfunction) Research Clinical Research Coordinator for Dr. DeClue

Columbia, MO.  2/2013 - 5/2014

Faculty Cardiology Mentor: Dr. Stacey Leach

Tasked with performing daily census of ICU patients and enrolling those cats and dogs that qualified for the study

Obtained blood samples, measured cardiac troponin concentrations, processed samples for serum storage

Served as head research assistant and coordinator of four other first and third year assistants for Master’s research being completed by Dr. Rachel Halpin

Veterinary Research Scholars Program at University of Missouri Research Scholar

Columbia, MO 5/2011-8/2011

Participated in a Scholars Program that involved conducting research at the Dalton Cardiovascular Research Center related to the hormone relaxin and its effects on neuronal activation in rats’ brains

Developed a working knowledge of laboratory techniques such as immunohistochemistry, computer imaging and how to use a cryostat

Presented a project poster at a symposium in Orlando, FL upon program completion


ACVIM Cardiology Research Abstract Award (June 2018)

Abstract entitled: “Relationship between serotonin and ALK5 function on development of myxomatous valvular degeneration in rat model”

Purdue Veterinary Clinical Sciences Competitive Research Award (March 2017)

Proposal entitled: “The effects of serotonin & reduced ALK5 function on the development of myxomatous valvular degeneration in rats”


Phi Zeta Honor Society of Veterinary Medicine, Pi Chapter Inducted Member (May 2013)

Scholarships for Academic Year 2013-2014: F & E Rhoads Scholarship, Salsbury Veterinary Medicine Scholarship, Vet Med Scholarships and Awards, F Wells Veterinary Medicine Scholarship

Scholarships for Academic Year 2012-2013: Phi Zeta Award,  F & E Rhoads Scholarship

Scholarships for Academic Year 2011-2012: Veterinary Medicine Scholarship, Adele M Buescher Fund recipient