Meet Our Doctors


Dr. Nicoleta Popescu in a white lab coat with a stethescope around her neck.

Dr. Nicoleta Popescu

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine

Dr. Nicoleta Popescu with a tiny black and white kitty who puts his paw on her nose. Dr. Nicoleta Popescu sitting on the floor, smiling and hugging a large black Newfoundland dog.

Dr. Nicoleta Popescu was born in Romania into a family of teachers. She inherited her great love of animals from her father who taught veterinary medicine for 50 years and the love of teaching from her mother who taught children to read and write for 40 years. So very naturally, after completing veterinary school Dr. Popescu continued to work in the same University teaching veterinary students microscopic anatomy.

In 1997, Dr. Popescu met her husband Sorin and settled permanently in the United States. She worked as a veterinary technician, completed an additional year of veterinary school at University of Columbia Missouri, and then furthered her knowledge and skills through an internship at Animal Specialty Group in Glendale. Following the veterinary internship, Dr. Popescu worked relief at 15 different hospitals around Los Angeles and volunteered at multiple spay and neuter clinics. Finally she settled into a long-term position in La Crescenta at a prestigious animal hospital where she worked for 9 years as a dedicated full-time veterinarian.

It has always been Dr. Popescu's dream to have her own practice and when Dr. Duane Erickson decided to retire in April 2011, she got just that opportunity here at Nordhoff. Dr. Popescu brings more than a mastery of modern veterinary medicine to Chatsworth and the surrounding communities; she cares for the residents and their furry families a great deal! She is a compassionate communicator and a consummate animal lover.

When not taking care of our pets, Dr. Popescu likes to spend time with her husband, their daughter, and their tuxedo cat Sam and standard poodle Daisy. She also greatly enjoys cooking and loves to work outdoors around the garden at her home nearby.


Dr. Laura Gonzales hugs a sweet bassett hound and smiles.

Dr. Laura Gonzales

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine

Dr. Laura Gonzales has always had a love of animals. She even wanted to be one when she grew up! In college, she discovered a love of anatomy and physiology as well, it all came together in veterinary medicine.

Dr. Gonzales finished her undergraduate studies at Stanford University in 1986. She received her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from UC Davis and worked as Director of Veterinary Medicine for many years at a clinic in Simi Valley.

Inspired by a combinations of disciplines, Dr. Gonzales seeks to provide care that combines preventative medicine, high quality internal medicine and surgery, and the benefits of alternative medicine. A skilled and dedicated surgeon, Dr. Gonzales particularly loves her time spent in the surgical suite!

Despite the long hours and difficult cases, the people and patients she works with keep her grounded and motivated. She also enjoys working with small animals like the ferrets, rats, and turtles on occasion. They keep things fresh and are so cute!


Dr. Lucy Cohen hugs a gray and white cat and smiles at the camera.

Dr. Lucy Cohen

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine

Dr. Cohen was born in San Francisco and raised in Woodland Hills. She started working in various veterinary practices at the age of sixteen, and worked as an assistant horse trainer until entering veterinary school.

After graduating from the Atlantic veterinary college on Prince Edward Island, Canada, she decided to never again live where the ocean can freeze solid. Instead, she moved to Coos Bay, Oregon where she treated dogs and cats on both a preventative and urgent care basis. Deciding that Oregon was still too cold, she decided to pack up and move back home where “freezing weather” actually means sixty degrees and cloudy.

Dr. Cohen has a strong interest in geriatric medicine, ophthalmology, internal medicine, soft tissue surgery and acupuncture. She is certified to perform acupuncture by the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society (IVAS). In her spare time, Dr Cohen enjoys hiking, swimming in the ocean and practicing Shotokan Karate.


Meet Our Practice Managers


Our practice manager Max, a medium built man with black hair and closely trimmed beard.

Max Mendez

Certified Veterinary Practice Manager
Registered Veterinary Technician

Max in a burgundy polo shirt holding a tiny orange kitten and smiling. Max in gray scrubs kneeling on the floor with a brown and white pitbill mix.

Max brings unwavering commitment and unparalleled passion for animal care to Nordhoff Veterinary Hospital. Max has been working in the veterinary field nearly a decade and is a gifted veterinary nurse. He is a great joker and his deadpan sense of humor keeps things lively around the office. He lives nearby with his dog Toothless (who you might on occasion see around the hospital!) and enjoys boxing and spending time with friends and family.

In 2015, after 4 years at Nordhoff Veterinary Hospital, Max Mendez obtained Certified Veterinary Practice Manager (CVPM) designation. CVPM designation is achieved by those who demonstrate the knowledge and experience necessary to successfully manage the ever-changing operations of today’s veterinary practices.

  • The CVPM program is a three-part process based on veterinary practice management experience, achievements and knowledge.
  • CVPMs must demonstrate a minimum of three years experience in a veterinary hospital.
  • CVPMs must demonstrate management knowledge in Human Resources, Law and Ethics, Marketing, Organization of the Practice and Finance through a rigorous examination.
  • Among veterinary practice leaders, the CVPM designation is recognized to represent the highest level of credential.
  • Currently there are less than 400 CVPMs in the United States.

Ashley, a petite woman with dark blonde hair and long eyelashes holds a white poodle.

Ashley

Assitant Manager
Certified Veterinary Assistant

Ashley hugs a brown tabby cat in the treatment room. Ashley's three kitties cuddle on a light blue bedspread.

Ashley is our assistant manager. She is currently studying hard to become our hospital’s second Certified Veterinary Practice Manager. She is also a Certified Veterinary Assistant and is very hands-on with nursing care in the treatment room. She is endlessly dedicated, ambitious and tenacious (she once toilet trained her cat!)

Ashley lives nearby with her son, three cats (one of whom came from a litter of kittens rescued by the hospital’s FedEx driver!), and a beta fish named Petey Fish. In her time off she enjoys staying fit and active and spending time with her family.

  • The CVPM program is a three-part process based on veterinary practice management experience, achievements and knowledge.
  • CVPMs must demonstrate a minimum of three years experience in a veterinary hospital.
  • CVPMs must demonstrate management knowledge in Human Resources, Law and Ethics, Marketing, Organization of the Practice and Finance through a rigorous examination.
  • Among veterinary practice leaders, the CVPM designation is recognized to represent the highest level of credential.
  • Currently there are less than 400 CVPMs in the United States.