Dr. Kiefer is a University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine alumni, DVM class of 2006.

After graduation, she furthered her education in small animal medicine by a rotating internship at Red Bank Veterinary Hospital, and a surgical internship at Gulf Coast Veterinary Hospital. She then had the unique opportunity to complete a combined PhD and surgery residency at her alma mater. She studied and investigated the use of adipose derived stem cells to treat osteoarthritis in dogs for her thesis. She was then honored to stay on at the University of Minnesota as an Assistant Professor of Small Animal Surgery for many years after completion of her residency. During this time she also earned a certification as a Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner, and achieved board certification in Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation in addition to surgery. VetSSMART, LLC was founded as an opportunity to carry on her skillset and service in more direct and personal support of the veterinary profession, in an innovative and trailblazing manner that wasn’t possible to accomplish in standard roles and positions within the profession.

Her clinical specialties and interests include regenerative medicine, minimally invasive surgery, polytraumas, and highly critical, complex emergency surgeries. She is proud to be Fear Free trained, and help her clients explore and understand this service. Outside of the hospital setting, she can be found serving as a trail veterinarian for dog sled races across the country, fostering and puppy raising service puppies, and volunteering with non-profits for the welfare and care of animals.

Dr. Kiefer’s superpower is the ability to find joy, humor and curiosity in our profession, daily practice, and life. She finds deep satisfaction in dragging others along on that journey, and empowering them to make their own! She will also happily expound upon the wonders of tea, chocolate, Minnesota, fantastic and occasionally harrowing adventures outdoors, and the silliness of her dog pack.

Kristina Kiefer, DVM, PhD, CCRP, DACVSMR, DACVS-SA

Founder and Operator, VetSSMART, LLC

Veterinary Surgery and Sports Medicine Assistance, Research and Tutelage

Surgical Coach, Academy for Surgical Coaching


Founder of The Mourning Paws Project

Creator of the Mourning Paws Project Grief Journaling Series