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            the vets

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Meet Petplan's panel of veterinary experts!
  • Dr. Jules Benson
    VP, Veterinary Services at Petplan
  • There are few veterinarians who understand the importance of pet insurance as well as Dr. Jules Benson, whose own pets (all 32 legs of them!) have had numerous adventures and lived to meow, squeak and chirp about them.


    Prior to graduating from the University of Liverpool School of Veterinary Science, Dr. Benson worked for a year as a wildlife volunteer in Egypt and also spent time working with sheep, cattle and horses in farms across England and Wales. Dr. Benson moved to the United States in 2004 and settled in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, where he worked in a small animal practice.

    In 2008, Dr. Benson joined Petplan in his current position where he works diligently to help Petplan ensure that its policies cover the ever-evolving medical needs of their beloved pets.

    A member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, Dr. Benson also serves on the Board of Trustees for the Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association (PVMA) and is on the Board of Directors for 2nd Chance Rescue.

    Dr. Benson is regularly consulted by a broad range of media outlets, including ABC, NBC, FOX, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, to provide pet health advice to pet parents nationwide. Additionally, he served as veterinary editor for fetch! magazine, and is the editor of Petplan’s Vets for Pets blog.

    Unable to leave his passion for caring for sick pets behind, Dr. Benson still loves practicing veterinary medicine and does so part-time.  When not involved in veterinary-related work, Dr. Benson enjoys music, movies and reading as well as cycling, Muay Thai kickboxing and hanging out with his four cats (Jackie-O, Westley, Jethro and Penguin), bunny (Cinder), two rats (Jerome and Montmorency) and leopard gecko (Charlie).

  • Dr. Ernie Ward, Jr.
    Veterinary Advisory Board at Petplan
  • Dr. Ernie Ward is a 1992 graduate of the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine. He is the owner and chief-of-staff of Seaside Animal Care in Calabash, North Carolina, which received the prestigious National Practice of Excellence award in 1999.

    Ernie has been instrumental in bringing senior pet care guidelines to general veterinary practices, and in 2000, was appointed to the Veterinary Economics’ Editorial Advisory Board. His chart for drug monitoring guidelines is found in most small animal veterinary hospitals in the U.S. and Canada.

    Dr. Ward is a frequent author and lecturer, and in 2004 he received the Speaker of the Year Award from the North American Veterinary Conference. His latest book, Chow Hounds, was published in 2010.

    In 2005, Ernie founded the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention to help raise awareness of the dangers of excess weight in dogs and cats.

    Dr. Ward has been featured on Animal Planet and regularly appears on numerous television and radio talk shows and newscasts around the country, including the Today show, CNN, Nightline and the Rachael Ray Show.

    When he’s not helping four-legged friends stay healthy, Dr. Ward, a certified personal trainer, USA Triathalon Certified Coach and Ironman finisher, can be found helping humans achieve their personal fitness goals. Dr. Ward shares his home with his wife, two daughters, his beach mutt Sandy, and two feisty felines, Freddie and Itty Bitty Kitty. 

  • Dr. Ken Drobatz
    Chair, Veterinary Advisory Board at Petplan
  • Dr. Ken Drobatz is a 1985 graduate of the University of California at Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and a 2003 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with a Masters of Clinical Epidemiology. He entered private practice for a short time in Southern California before completing his residency in Emergency Medicine and Critical Care at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. 

    From there, Dr. Drobatz returned to private practice until the opportunity to join the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania arose in 1991. There, he serves as Professor of Critical Care and Director of Emergency Services, Chief of the Section of Critical Care and Associate Chair for the Education Department of Clinical Studies at the School of Veterinary Medicine. Well regarded for his expertise in the areas of internal medicine and emergency medicine, he is board certified in both ACVIM (Internal Medicine) and ACVECC (Emergency and Critical Care) and also serves as Chairman of the Petplan Veterinary Scientific Advisory Board.

  • Dr. Kim Smyth
    Staff Veterinarian and Pet Health Writer at Petplan
  • A 2004 graduate of the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Smyth first began practicing veterinary medicine in a small animal clinic close to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In addition to a passion for practicing veterinary medicine, Dr. Smyth is a naturally gifted writer and has authored hundreds of veterinary pet health pieces, including essays, breed profiles and blogs.

    After several snowy winters up north, Dr. Smyth and her family moved to the more temperate climate of Charlottesville, Virginia, where she currently pens her pet health content. The daughter of a military father, Dr. Smyth moved around quite a bit in her early days and is happy to be finally settled down a little closer to her “home base” in South Carolina. 

    Dr. Smyth and her husband, Matt, have two children, Wyatt and Cooper, and two crazy cats named Joe and Charlie.

  • Dr. Nina Mantione
    Staff Veterinarian and Underwriting Support at Petplan
  • Dr. Nina Mantione graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in 1995. Dr. Mantione subsequently completed a prestigious small animal medicine and surgery internship at the Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

    After working in Philadelphia for several years, Dr. Mantione is now in private practice in central Pennsylvania. She has been providing her expertise to Petplan pet insurance since 2004. An undergraduate art major, Dr. Mantione now fills her creative needs by writing, painting and gardening while being supervised by four helpful kids, three lively dogs and three arrogant cats. She spends most of her down time (what's that?) riding her horses and hanging out with her (very patient) husband, John.

  • Rebecca Jackson
    Staff Veterinarian at Petplan
  • Dr. Rebecca Jackson is a staff veterinarian for Petplan pet insurance. As the daughter of a veterinarian, Dr. Jackson grew up in a small animal vet practice in northern Indiana, and has seen the good, the bad and the ugly of veterinary medicine – and she loves it unconditionally.

    Dr. Jackson received her Bachelors of Science degree from Purdue University in 2002, and then attended the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Upon graduating from WSU in 2006, Dr. Jackson moved to Boston to begin her adventures as a small animal veterinarian.

    She has practiced in Tacoma, Washington , and Richmond, Virginia, where she served as a civilian veterinarian at the Fort Lee Veterinary Treatment Facility. Currently, in addition to her work at Petplan, Dr. Jackson works as a relief veterinarian for a handful of hospitals in the Philadelphia area.

    Dr. Jackson and her husband reside in Philadelphia with their daughter, their 9- year-old Golden Retriever and their 8-year-old cat.

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