Our veterinarians are a skilled team who take passionate pet care to a whole new level. As pet owners ourselves we understand the ups and downs of caring for our furry family members. Meet our team by reading on, or come meet us yourself at our South Loop clinic!
Dr. Dan Sanchez
Dr. Dan Sanchez, co-founder of South Loop Animal Hospital, graduated from Ross University after completing his clinical year at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Originally from New Jersey, he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology from the University of Washington in Seattle. Dr. Sanchez practiced small animal medicine for a number of years in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood prior to establishing South Loop Animal Hospital with Dr. Manrique. He also has extensive emergency care experience after working in multiple Chicagoland veterinary emergency clinics. While he is confident in his abilities to handle any emergency need that may arise, it is the challenge of providing long term care for his patients with chronic conditions that he enjoys most. In addition to managing chronic diseases, Dr Sanchez also has a special interest in veterinary dentistry.
He is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association, and Chicago Veterinary Medical Association.
Dr. Sanchez lives with his wife, a native Chicagoan and also a veterinarian, and their two young children.
Dr. Maria Manrique
Dr. Maria Manrique, co-founder of South Loop Animal Hospital, is an Illinois native born and raised in Chicago. She graduated with a BS in Biology from the University of Illinois, and went on to receive an MS in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior from Indiana University. She received her DVM from Purdue University’s School of Veterinary Medicine in 2004. Following graduation, Dr. Manrique relocated to Florida to practice at a 24-hour emergency animal hospital in Miami. She returned to Chicago and practiced for several years in the Lakeview neighborhood before opening South Loop Animal Hospital (SLAH) with Dr. Dan Sanchez.
Dr. Manrique is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association, and Chicago Veterinary Medical Association. She is also a relief surgeon at PAWS Chicago’s Lurie Spay/Neuter Clinic. In her spare time, Dr. Manrique enjoys outdoor activities (biking, hiking, and kayaking), traveling, and expressing her creative side through painting and other media. She is the proud owner of an unruly, yet sweet, American Bulldog pup named “Nelson” who is a regular visitor at the clinic, and our unofficial mascot.
Dr. Claire Ojala
Dr. Ojala graduated as salutatorian from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine after completing her undergraduate degree at Case Western Reserve University. After graduation she returned home, to Chicago and its suburbs, where she practiced for 5 years before joining South Loop Animal Hospital.
Dr. Ojala believes that with patience and an understanding of a pet’s unique concerns that veterinary visits can be a positive experience for both animals and their owners. She is particularly passionate about helping pet owners understand the causes of chronic medical conditions so that they can be actively involved in the prevention and treatment of their pets’ illnesses.
Dr. Ojala loves that general practice allows her to use all her skills from cardiology to surgery, but she has special interest and education in veterinary behavior, internal medicine, dentistry, dermatology, and pathology. She also works at one of Chicago’s busiest veterinary ERs on a regular basis—in addition to keeping her emergency skills sharp, she enjoys the ability to work hand in hand with numerous specialists on challenging cases and keep abreast of the most current diagnostic and treatment options.
In her free time she enjoys running (10Ks are her favorite distance), yoga, enjoying Chicago’s performing arts (particularly dance), and finding great “hole in the wall” restaurants. She is a volunteer surgeon with local rescue organizations and enjoys relaxing at home with her husband and sassy tortoise shell cat, Stella.
Dr. Robert Plourde
Dr. Robert Plourde received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from St. George’s University after completing his clinical year at the University of Minnesota. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Sciences from St. Cloud State University. After graduation, Dr. Plourde completed a small animal rotating internship during which time he trained with veterinary internists, surgeons, dermatologists, radiologists, neurologists, cardiologists, and oncologists. This experience was invaluable to Dr. Plourde as it enhanced his approach to each of his patients. Dr. Plourde also enjoys the challenges of emergency medicine when a patient is in need. Nothing pleases him more than getting to know his patients and keeping them healthy with preventive medicine and dentistry. Dr. Plourde is also a relief surgeon at PAWS Chicago’s Lurie Spay/Neuter Clinic. He is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association, and Chicago Veterinary Medical Association.
Dr. Plourde lives with his girlfriend Kelsey (a veterinary radiation therapist) and their three dogs and two cats: Moo (the queen Puggle), Leeloo (an Italian Greyhuahua with an attitude), Frio (a loveable Chug), their dog-like cat Mr. T. (a handsome Maine Coon), and Choanae (the sassy tuxedo). They enjoy exploring all the city of Chicago has to offer and spoiling their pets rotten. When not spending time with his wolf pack, Dr. Plourde can be found reading or rummaging around a flea market.
Dr. Gail Simpson
Gail Simpson received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. She was born and raised in Arlington Heights, Illinois, and after completing her bachelor’s in Biology at Case Western Reserve
University in Cleveland, Ohio, was glad to return to her home state for veterinary school.
After veterinary school, she moved to Chicago to begin practice. Dr. Simpson has a special interest in emergency, behavioral, and internal medicine. She is passionate about educating owners and forming lasting partnerships that allow them to be active participants in the healthcare of their beloved family members. In 2018, Dr. Simpson completed her Fear Free certification and has been eagerly applying her knowledge to make the clinic a fear free environment for all of our patients.
In her spare time, Dr. Simpson likes to garden, exercise, cook, and spend time with her
dog Scout (an affectionate and sweet mixed breed) and Scout's best friend Lego (a mischievous Siamese cat).