Dr. Mark Epstein is a co-owner and Medical Director at TotalBond Veterinary Hospital at Forestbrook. Originally from Atlanta, GA, he graduated with honors in microbiology from North Carolina State University in 1981 and received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Georgia in 1985. He came to Gastonia to work at Forestbrook that same year and has called it home ever since. Continuing his training, Dr. Epstein became board-certified as a Diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (ABVP) in Canine and Feline Practice in 1993, and continues to be the only veterinarian with those credentials in Gaston County. He was re-certified in both 2003 and 2013.
He enjoys working with pets, their owners, and his team each day, and has a special interest in the field of pain management in animals. Pain management has been a focus of continued learning, so much so that he has been additionally certified by the American Academy of Pain Management as well as the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management as a Certified Veterinary Pain Practitioner (CVPP). Having developed a high level of expertise in this area, he has been called upon to author book chapters and peer-reviewed veterinary journal articles, and is a widely sought-after national and international speaker on the recognition, prevention, and treatment of pain in dogs in cats. Additionally, he has participated in national and international veterinary professional leadership rolls, including serving as the president of ABVP and IVAPM, and served as a Chairman of the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) Senior Care Guidelines and Pain Management Guidelines Task Force.
Dr. Epstein's local professional accomplishments include assisting in the development of the Veterinary Emergency Clinic of Gaston County, and of the Gaston College Veterinary Technology Program, for which he received the honors of NC Veterinary Medical Association Presidential Award and the University of Georgia Young Achiever Award in 1995, and the Gaston Chamber Small Business Man of the Year award in 1996. He has contributed to pet-related articles appearing in local publications such as the Gaston Gazette, Gaston Lifestyle Magazine, and others. Other community leadership experience includes being the past president of the Gastonia Jaycees, United Arts Council, Temple Emanuel, and Gaston Dance Theatre. Additionally, he has served in leadership capacities with the local Chamber of Commerce, Gaston Festivals, United Way FEMA Board, the City of Gastonia Planning Commission, and the Gaston Interfaith Trialogue. Currently, he is a proud member of the Gastonia East Rotary.
His biggest blessing of all is to be married to his wife, Janet. They have four children, Chris, Jamie, Hannah, and Torrie, and a stable of animals including dogs, cats, a horse, two turtles, and some fish. His hobbies include soccer, hiking, and making this corner of the world a little better through interfaith dialogue. He has an interest in genealogy and has even co-authored a book about his family history called The Epsteins: Our Illustrated 300-year Journey from Lithuania to Pennsylvania and Beyond.
Dr. Jamila McKenzie is a Veterinarian at TotalBond Veterinary Hospital at Forestbrook. She earned her undergrad degree from Tuskegee University in 2010, and went on to graduate from Kansas State University with her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine in 2014. Her areas of professional interest include anesthesiology, cardiology, and feline medicine. Dr. McKenzie began working in the veterinary field in 2004 and knew she wanted to become a veterinarian after growing up caring for dogs and horses. She says the best part of working in the veterinary field is the satisfaction of knowing that her actions helped to make a pet’s life better and giving pet parents some relief.
Dr. McKenzie grew up in Appleton Estate, Jamaica, in the West Indies. She currently lives in Charlotte, with her three cats MacKenzie, Stryker, and Nutmeg. In her free time she enjoys reading, sleeping, and riding roller coasters.
Megan joined the TotalBond team in March 2000 and is Forestbrook's Practice Manager. She was a skilled technician for many years and now enjoys being able to help out on the floor. Additionally, she is Fear Free Level 2 certified. Megan's professional interests include emergency and critical care as she loves the chaos and fast-paced environment.
She shares her home with her wonderful husband, Blake, and four sons and daughter. They have a dog, Pixie, who is a retired blood donor, and one cat named ThatCat. Outside of the hospital, she enjoys frequenting locally-owned restaurants and binge watching Netflix shows with her husband. She happily admits that she could lose an entire day watching SpongeBob SquarePants.
Allie joined the TotalBond Veterinary Hospital at Forestbrook team in May 1997 and enjoys creating memories with our clients and their pets. She is our Lead Veterinary Technician and her professional interests include surgery and critical care. Additionally, she is Fear Free Certified. Allie is happily married with two children and a yellow Lab named River. Outside of the hospital, she enjoys spending time with her family, watching the Atlanta Braves, and partaking in activities with her church.
Amy joined the TotalBond team as a Veterinary Technician in 2019 and is Fear Free Certified. She has over 4 years of experience as a technician and currently working towards becoming a Registered Veterinary Technician. Amy is married with two teenaged children and enjoys riding horses when she has the chance. At home, she has a fresh water aquarium and three little dogs named Loki, Maggie, and Roman.
Clara is a Veterinary Technician at Forestbrook and has been working in the field for three and a half years. She is currently enrolled at Penn Foster and will graduate with an Associates Degree in Applied Science in 2020. A lover of animals, Clara know she wanted to be able to help animals as much as possible. Her professional interests include both large and small animals, and she truly enjoys being able to see pets that once came in sick return to the practice happy and healthy!
Originally from Lawndale, NC, Clara's first pet was a Pigmy goat named Coco who would follow her around the yard. She currently shares her home with a menagerie of pets including two horses, Stranger and Ernie, four dogs, Stubby, Sadie, RJ, and Dixie, and two goats and chickens. Outside of the hospital, she enjoys riding her horse, tubing, hiking, fishing, and sleeping. You can find her drinking coffee anytime of the day and she has a particular love for Italian food.
Kendra is a Tech Assistant at Forestbrook and has been working in the veterinary field since 2017. She has always wanted to work with animals and truly enjoys seeing and caring for animals on a daily basis. Born and raised in Gastonia, NC, Kendra shares her home with a Jack Russell Terrier mix named Cielo. In her spare time, she enjoys listening to music, playing games, sleeping, and eating. She particularly enjoys pizza and pasta.
Jordan is our Kennel Attendant at TotalBond Veterinary Hospital at Forestbrook. She is currently enrolled at Gaston College for Veterinary Medical Technology and is Fear Free Certified. Her areas of professional interests include veterinary medicine and dog behavior. Jordan currently lives in Gastonia, NC and has two pet white mice. In her spare time ehe enjoys playing piano and guitar, and also enjoys hiking and fishing. She also volunteers at the Gaston County Animal Shelter and is a full-time pianist at her church.
Jennifer joined the TotalBond team in 2019 as a Veterinary Technician Assistant. She is Fear Free Certified, KLaser certified, and our clinic Safety Officer. Jennifer has been in the veterinary field for 5 years and truly loves working with four-legged babies. She is a fur-mom to a cat named Sugar, a dog named Zeke, and a horse named Angel, and loves spending time with friends and family outside of work.
Zac joined the TotalBond team in 2019 as a Kennel Attendant and enjoys taking care of all of the fur-babies at Forestbrook, especially the senior dogs. He is currently in high school and active in the local Civil Air Patrol Squadron.
Alex joined the TotalBond Veterinary Hospital at Forestbrook team in June 2020. She is an animal lover with experience in the dog grooming, daycare, and boarding fields, and loves that each day at the hospital is different with the opportunity to learn something new. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, taking trips to the beach, and hanging out with her dogs, Bill and Murray.
Katie joined the Forestbrook team in 2020 and is new to the veterinary field. She previously worked in aviation and is loving this new experience and learning as much as possible. At home, Katie is a single mom to a twelve year old boy and together they have two dogs, Hazel Mae and Humphrey, and two parakeets, Apollo and Athena. Outside of the hospital, she and her son enjoy fishing, camping, being in the mountains, and hanging out at the pool. Katie loves to cook anytime she can!
Our animal hospital is located just 26 minutes from downtown Charlotte via I-85 N. We are by Gaston Country Club, easily accessible to the pets of Gaston County and the surrounding areas.