Veterinary Dental Center

Dr. Stephen Juriga

Dr. Stephen Juriga:

Dr. Juriga graduated from the University of Illinois, College of Veterinary Medicine in 1987. After 4 years in private practice he and his wife, Alexandra, purchased River Heights Veterinary Clinic. River Heights has grown to a staff of six doctors and is proud to be an accredited small animal hospital with the American Animal Hospital Association.

Dr. Juriga completed a dental residency (2002-2006) at the University of Illinois under a board certified dentist and surgeon, Dr. Sandra Manfra. He became board certified in veterinary dentistry (Diplomate of the American Veterinary Dental College) in 2007. He is the 2007 recipient of the Robert Wiggs Outstanding Candidate Award. This national award is presented to a highly qualified and productive veterinarian that has recently achieved board certification in veterinary dentistry. He holds an appointment to the Credential Committee of the American Veterinary Dental College, Peter Emily International Veterinary Dental Foundation and provides dental services to Brookfield Zoo.

“What I enjoy most about veterinary medicine is the bond I have shared with my clients and their pets (who are just one of the family). Oral disease is found in 7 out of 10 patients that visit our hospital. It is only appropriate that I have taken the role as your pets “dental advocate” and offer the dental care needed to relieve a pet’s oral infection or discomfort. Our pets are living longer, in fact my family was blessed to have a golden retriever, Derby, with us for 15 years. Therefore, it is important for us to provide care that supports the bond we have with our pets. I feel that dental care has become one of the major keys to enriching and ultimately lengthening our relationship with our pets.“

Dr. Juriga is passionate about coaching clients, technicians, and veterinarians on the benefits of maintaining oral health in companion animals. He offers lectures and laboratories at the Veterinary Dental Center for veterinarians and technicians as well as lectures regionally and nationally on a variety of veterinary dental topics.

Professional Publications:

Step-by-Step- Mineral Trioxide Aggregate (MTA) for Apexification of Non-Vital Immature Permanent Teeth. Journal of Veterinary Dentistry, Volume 24:4, December 2007.


Dr. Laura Sasser

Dr. Laura Sasser:

Dr. Laura Sasser joined River Heights Veterinary Hospital in 2017. She is a 1997 graduate of Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine. She relocated to the Chicago area after practicing for 16 years in Southern Indiana. While she enjoys many aspects of veterinary medicine, her true passion is dentistry and is currently pursuing a residency training program to become a veterinary dental specialist in the American College of Veterinary Dentistry.

Dr. Sasser enjoys teaching as well and has conducted in-house training seminars to help other veterinarians develop a love for dentistry. Dr. Sasser and her husband stay busy raising their two daughters and they share their home with 2 dogs, 2 cats, and a guinea pig. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and exploring the Chicago area’s parks and museums.


Verena Niederberger

Verena Niederberger:

Over the last couple of years I seemed to have gained more family members than I would have ever imagined. By family members I mean my menagerie of pets. I have your common house hold pets; three cats have adopted me, as well as, two dogs, which love getting their teeth brushed, a guinea pig named Tigger and a couple of cockatiels that enjoy nothing more than to take a shower every morning. I also can't forget my most well behaved of pets, the freshwater fish. Besides inside pets, I also have some chickens, ducks and rabbits that live in the barn.

The love for animals and the never ending drive to learn something new about them is what made me want to be a veterinary dental technician.

Working with owners and their pets is one of the most rewarding jobs that I have had. I try to give each patient the care and comfort they need. Feel free to call me with any questions you may have about your pet, and I will try my best to answer them.