Dr. Parvaneh Larijani always knew she would become a veterinarian. Hints of her future profession began in elementary school when she often found herself saving sick and injured animals in her yard in Villanova, PA, and caring for her childhood pets which included parakeets, a dog, and cats. “There was no huge catalyst that made me decide to become a vet,” she says. “There really was never any question. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do with my life.”

A graduate of Saint George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine in the Caribbean and a lifelong resident of Villanova, Dr. Larijani completed her undergraduate work at Penn State where she majored in animal science and assisted with research on reproductive systems of the campus cow herd. Her international veterinary school experience included working with sea life and wildlife, including many species of birds. She was a member of the Marine Mammal Club and Ocean Spirits, which led her to research the breeding habits of Sea Turtles.

Dr. Larijani completed her final year of veterinary clinical training at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine and its world-renowned Ryan Veterinary Hospital. There, she fell in love with internal medicine and ophthalmology and worked through the challenge of the pandemic, speaking only by phone to owners before and after providing care. “Communication is always key when you can actually see pet parents interact with their pets, so it is really vital when you have to communicate only with your words. Discussing every aspect of care became more crucial to provide pet parents with information about their pets’ health and treatment plans,” she said. Her final year at Penn included rotations in Emergency Medicine and working with small mammals, as well as stray and feral cats, which require special handling and care.

Meeting pets and their parents and getting to know them is something Dr. Larijani looks forward to every day. “Building relationships with pets and their people is one of the most rewarding parts of being a vet,” she says.

Dr. Larijani lives in Villanova with her dogs, Sassafras, a shepherd, and JuJu, a Cairn Terrier..