Melissa Aceto, DVM

Melissa Aceto, DVM

Dr. Melissa Aceto hails from Orillia, Ontario, Canada, where she raised Quarter Horse and Appaloosa performance horses. She completed her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada.

I started my journey with SVEC as an Intern, then a Sports Medicine Fellow, and now I’m a general practitioner at SVEC with a dedicated focus on lameness and surgery. From lameness work-ups, diagnoses, assisting in surgeries and helping patients and owners progress through their recoveries, the sports medicine fellow position fosters an advanced understanding of equine lameness physiology and strengthens skills in lameness isolation, imaging and advanced treatment modalities.

I wanted to become a veterinarian to help support both my local community and my horse show community abroad. I love working with animals and, of course, their people.

I enjoy following a horse’s journey with their owners, whether that be to treat a lameness in a highly competitive performance horse,  to following a mare’s pregnancy to term, or to treating a tricky colic – I am humbled and grateful to be a part of each horse’s support network.

I love riding and showing in reining, western pleasure and western riding. I’ve shown western pleasure and reining horses throughout Canada and the United States since I was a youth exhibitor.  I continue to ride and show with my current show horses; Django, a QH reining gelding, and Codie, a QH pleasure horse. I also have three dogs; Lola, a Boston Terrier, Jada, a German Shepard, and Tina the Pug; plus two cats, Boots and Stevie.

One of the most interesting and rewarding cases I’ve been involved in was, Pepperoni, a beautiful hunter-jumper gelding that was referred to OVC for colic surgery. During the emergency surgery, the surgeon found two lesions that resembled eosinophilic granulomas that were both resected from the small intestine. Due to a poor prognosis, Pepperoni was almost euthanized on the table – but the surgeon and owners remained hopeful.

The following days were challenging for Pepperoni as he continued to struggle with signs of colic. Each day and night, our team continued to monitor Pepperoni and to develop new plans to medically manage his abdominal discomfort and a newly emerged heart murmur – we were all unsure of Pepperoni’s outcome.

After two weeks at the hospital Pepperoni made a miraculous recovery. It was truly wonderful to see Pepperoni walk out of the hospital with his little girl who was excited and grateful to see her strong healthy friend again!

I am a good listener and offer empathy and support that allows owners to express themselves about their fears, worries, or frustrations about their horses’ aliments.

Communication is key to veterinary medicine, and the first step towards a successful diagnosis and treatment is to hear your patient’s story.