Meet The Virtual Specialists Team

Dr. Samantha Vitale

Samantha Vitale

DVM, DACVIM (Neurology)

Samantha Vitale graduated from Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2014. She completed a small animal rotating internship at the University of Georgia, then completed a specialty internship and residency in Neurology and Neurosurgery at the University of Illinois. While training in the fairly rural Southeast and Midwest, she recognized that the need to travel to access specialty care provided a hardship for many of her clients and patients. This grew into a passion for extending the reach of specialty care outside of the four walls of large urban hospitals. She worked for two years as a neurologist in private practice, before starting Stratocyte, a veterinary teleconsulting marketplace.

Simon Platt


Dr. Simon Platt qualified from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1992; he was then an intern at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph and completed a residency in neurology and neurosurgery in 1998 at the University of Florida. Dr. Platt was a professor of neurology and neurosurgery at the University of Georgia until 2022 and now co-leads the teleneurology team at VetOracle as well as being the Medical Director for Hallmarq Advanced Veterinary Imaging. Dr. Platt has authored or co-authored over 200 journal articles and 50 book chapters and is the co-editor of the BSAVA Manual of Canine and Feline Neurology and the Manual of Small Animal Neurological Emergencies.

Ryan Gibson

DVM, DACVIM (Neurology)

Ryan Gibson is a veterinary neurologist interested in veterinary education and working with students and practicing veterinarians to improve general practice care of neurological patients. Dr. Gibson teaches at Auburn University, focusing on foundational neuroscience, neurology, and microanatomy. He also provides vet-to-vet consultations for veterinarians with neurological patients who cannot be referred through multiple platforms for geographical or financial considerations. Dr. Gibson works with researchers at Auburn University to explore new compounds to treat neuropathic pain, chronic pain, and neuroinflammatory conditions. He founded Neuroscience Educators and Researchers in One Health (N.E.R.O.H), a multi-institutional collaborative effort to bring experts in basic and biomedical research, clinical medicine, and public health into one location for collaboration, educational experiences, and discussions through a One Health/translational medicine lens. Dr. Gibson also founded Pet Parent Educators, a client education platform aimed at supporting pet parents whose pets have been diagnosed with chronic conditions and working to facilitate strong relationships with their pets and the local veterinary team! Within his first year at Auburn University, Dr. Gibson was selected by the student body for the highest teaching award within the College, the Zoetis Teaching Award, highlighting his dedication to demystifying veterinary neurology and improving practitioner comfort in caring for neurological patients.

Ilyssa Meren

DVM, DACVIM (Neurology)

Dr. Ilyssa Meren received her DVM from Cornell University in 2013. She then went on to complete a small animal rotating internship at The Animal Medical Center in NYC. After this, she went on to complete a Neurology & Neurosurgery residency at Iowa State University (with a little bit of her residency spent at the University of Illinois as well). Since she finished her residency in 2017, she has been living in Phoenix, AZ where she has worked as a private practice neurologist as well as a locum neurologist all over the country in both academia and private practice. She is currently exclusively working as a tele consultant as well as doing some occasional locum work for the local veterinary school.

Brittany Ciepluch

DVM, DACVS, Fellow of Surgical Oncology (Surgery)

Dr. Ciepluch is a veterinary surgical oncologist at Virginia Tech. She trained at Ohio State for vet school, University of Florida for internship, Texas A&M for surgery residency, and Colorado State University for surgical oncology fellowship. There she learned more about how effective interprofessional interactions can lead to the best patient care. Her career has led to a variety of roles. She spent a year in full time freelance locum work, where she explored the variability of speciality and general practice. She has leadership roles in her current full time job and she is passionate about bringing high-level veterinary care to pets of clients who cannot make it to a referral hospital. She spends her free time hiking, camping, doing yoga and mountain biking.

Dr. Trina Hazzah

DVM, DACVIM, CVCH (Integrative Oncology)

Dr. Hazzah is a board-certified veterinary oncologist with an additional certification in Traditional Chinese Veterinary Herbal Medicine. After almost 15 years of practicing medical oncology, she switched her focus to predominantly cannabis medicine and founded a cannabis consulting service, Green Nile. Over the past 8 years, she has treated hundreds of patients with cannabis. She has given numerous lectures to veterinarians educating them on the topic of cannabis medicine, performed cannabis-related research, published peer-reviewed articles on cannabis in veterinary medicine, co-authored multiple cannabis-related textbooks, and is the president and co-founder of the Veterinary Cannabis Society.

Dr. Britt Carr Benson

DVM, DACVSMR (Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation)

Dr. Britt Carr Benson is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation. She attended the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. After earning her DVM, Dr. Carr Benson completed a small animal rotating internship at the Animal Specialty Group in Los Angeles, California followed by a small animal surgery and sports medicine internship at Veterinary Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Group (VOSM) in Maryland. She then remained at VOSM to complete a residency in canine sports medicine and rehabilitation. During her residency Dr. Carr Benson attended the Canine Rehabilitation Institute and is also a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist. She has co-authored dozens of peer-reviewed publications and several textbook chapters. She is a national speaker and instructor and currently practices in the upstate of South Carolina.