Intern Veterinarians

Compassionate and High Quality Care

Nicholas Lani
DVM

Dr. Nicholas Lani was born and raised in northern Nevada. He was interested in horses from a young age. Dr. Lani is a fourth-generation graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno; and a fifth-generation Nevadan. While pursuing his Bachelors of Veterinary Science from UNR, he worked as a veterinary assistant at an equine practice. His time as an assistant sparked a passion for working on horses. Dr. Lani recently graduated from Washington State University with his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine. His professional interests include equine surgery and lameness. Nicholas’s personal hobbies include hunting, hiking, fly fishing, and camping. He enjoys spending his free time with his fiancée Caitlyn, their red heeler mix Ruby, and their cat Zeus.

Samantha Mehling
DVM

Dr. Samantha Mehling is a Central Valley native who grew up surrounded by grapevines and almonds. From a young age she was certain of two things –she loved horses and she was going to be a vet. After years spent convincing her very non-horsey parents her horse obsession wasn’t “just a phase”, they signed her up for riding lessons and soon she had a horse of her own who she rode in local 4H shows, gymkhanas, and backyard cattle sorting events. Samantha obtained her Bachelor Degree in Animal Science with a pre-veterinary emphasis from Fresno State in 2017, becoming the first member of her family to graduate college. She then obtained her Veterinary Degree from Iowa State University in 2021, fulfilling her lifelong dream of becoming a veterinarian. After completing her internship with Pioneer, Samantha plans to enter general practice in an established hospital with the goal of eventually becoming an ABVP specialist. In her spare time, Samantha enjoys practicing and competing in Polynesian dance, crabbing along the coast, and spending time with her dog Rudy and her trusty steed of 14 years, Jack-Jack.

Rebecca Abanto
DVM

Dr. Rebecca Abanto is a Peruvian veterinary graduate of the Universidad Cientifica del Sur. For as long as she can remember, Dr. Abanto has been interested in equine medicine and during her studies in Peru she shadowed many equine veterinarians.    Dr. Abanto worked with the Equitarian Initiative in Cusco multiple times getting to spend time with horses, donkeys and mules. After graduating she moved to Miami, Florida where she worked with small animals in general practice, emergency, and Oncology. Her passion for horses brought her to California in 2021 to pursue an internship at Pioneer. In her spare time, she enjoys working out, running, and playing with her cat Tomas.

Ligia Pentzke
DVM

Dr. Ligia Pentzke was born and raised in Puerto Rico, where she learned to love the ocean and warm weather. Growing up she was always passionate about animals, although never was really exposed to horses. Dr. Pentzke went to veterinary school at Ross University on her neighbor island St. Kitts & Nevis. It was here, where she learned how to work with and cherish the particular personality of the Nevisian donkeys, which helped her realize her passion for the equine world. Later on, she completed her last clinical year at Colorado State University where she reassured her interest in academia and it became clear she wanted to pursue an equine internship to further continue into a residency program. Dr. Pentzke completed a one year rotating equine medicine and surgery internship at Washington State University. She was very excited to join Pioneer Equine Hospital to complete a second internship in a state-of-the-art practice before pursuing further specialization. Although, Dr. Pentzke’s interests are many; such as internal medicine, neonatology and theriogenology, her aspiration is to become a large animal surgeon and travel around the world to work and learn about cultural differences in practicing veterinary medicine and surgical treatments. In her spare time, Dr. Pentzke loves to take her dog, Lennon, to the beach, river, lake (really any water body), and go for runs, dance latin music or play her guitar. She is a firm believer that pineapple does not belong in pizza and loves to cook and bring people together to celebrate pretty much anything.