Rancho Santa Fe Veterinary Hospital thrives in new location at Lomas Santa Fe Plaza


By Karen Billing

For the last six years, Rancho Santa Fe Veterinary Hospital has been treating local pets out of a location at the Helen Woodward Animal Center. In October, the Rancho Santa Fe Veterinary Hospital relocated to the Lomas Santa Fe Plaza (Vons shopping center) on Lomas Santa Fe Drive. The hospital offers all the same services and “didn’t skip a beat” in its move just a few miles away.

For many clients, the new location is actually closer to their homes and in a more convenient location — in the plaza in between 24 Hour Fitness and We-R-Fabrics.

The hospital, with the sweet logo of animals inside a golden heart, is open to cats, dogs, rabbits, rodents, and exotics such as reptiles and birds.

“We’re very happy here,” said owner Dr. Deirdre Brandes, noting parking is a breeze, their location is easy to find and they love their neighbors and the community.

The feeling is mutual for clients who have followed her from Rancho Santa Fe to Solana Beach.

“She really is a sweetheart of this community and everyone loves her,” said Heather Dinsmore, a longtime client of Dr. Brandes’. “They are the best veterinary hospital around.”

Brandes attended Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and has been a vet for 11 years, working at various practices before opening her own in 2005. The animal lover has two dogs, two cats and pet rats at home.

“I love animals but a lot of it also has to do with helping people because I strongly believe in the human-animal bond, it’s so powerful,” Brandes said.

When Brandes moved into the Lomas Santa Fe Plaza location, it was an empty shell and she was able to build her facility exactly the way she wanted it.

The result is a “homey feel” with a lobby with stylish leather chairs, wood floors throughout the hospital and four treatment rooms with new adjustable treatment tables that can be adjusted depending on the size of the patient.

The hospital does a lot of dentistry work, healthy pet exams, vaccinations, surgeries, including spay and neuter, and are open for daytime emergencies. In addition to Dr. Brandes, there are three other vets (Dr. Anaika Dayton, Dr. Vanessa Flores and Dr. Sophie Steele) and a very caring, compassionate staff.

“Our number one goal in moving was to keep all the staff because we’re like family here. The staff is just top notch and clients often ask for them by name,” Brandes said. “They really care.”

She said a special part of her practice is that every treatment decision is made as if the animal were the staff and doctors’ own. To that end, Brandes takes her anesthesia training very seriously and staff is monitored and goes through her “rigorous” training even if they have 10 years of experience.

“(Anesthesia) is the most serious thing we do and my staff is phenomenal,” Brandes said.

Brandes, a Solana Beach resident and San Diego native, has wanted to have her job since she was a little girl.

“I knew when I was 5 that I wanted to do this,” said Brandes. “I am fortunate to be able to open up a practice with high quality vet care and serve the community I grew up in. It’s really special.”

RSF Veterinary Hospital is located at 971A Lomas Santa Fe Drive. They are open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and closed on Sundays. For more information, call (858) 759-8797 or e-mail