Category Archives: Dr. Stephan


Our hospital was founded in 1990 by Dr. Steve Stephan in the fall of 1989 when Dr. Stephan acquired the Northkill practice from Dr. A. Godfried on Shartlesville Road. At the time it was a part time practice run out of a several room small building. Pretty soon the Bernville Veterinary Clinic outgrew the small building and it was expanded on that site. In 1994 we decided that this area needed more veterinary and pet related services than even the expanded building could handle so the present hospital and spa were constructed.

Our Stained Glass Windows

        Many of you comment on the beautiful stained glass windows in our hospital. We asked Dr Steve about their history and this is what he said: “Stained glass has always been one of my favorite art forms. I really wanted a pet-themed piece to accent the hospital. I went to South Mountain Stained Glass to get a design. He gave me some very elegant southwest inspired designs that were beautiful but not what I felt was in the spirit of my vision. They would have looked great in a financial building or elegant home but not the hospital. I drew a simple design and I explained to him my whimsical animal inspired theme with the sun & moon and he redesigned from that. He did an excellent job! Also, I can’t take credit for the amazing side windows around the door; they were designed by an intern at Partners’ Design.”

Dr. Steve’s New Penn State Blog

This is my first blog in what I hope will be a series on Penn State happenings. I know there are many of you out there. Well, it’s time to move forward after saying goodbye to JoePa. He was the major factor in turning a good university into a great one. His unique style that set Penn State apart will probably never be duplicated in this day and age. I have vague memories of a Navy game at Beaver Stadium when my sister attended in 1964. I’m told the great Roger Staubach beat PSU that day but I only remember a cheapo souvenir lion that held my interest. Joe was assistant at that time. I have clearer memories of listening to games on Saturdays with my transistor AM radio dreaming of one day being a hero on the field. As your laughter dies down on that thought, I at least will say in my defense that I was a rather large kid up until eighth grade. For some reason that was my peak adult height. Now I am shrinking, but that’s another story. For me it was always Joe Paterno & the Nittany Lions. I have been a season ticket holder since I was a freshman in 1978. It is hard to explain why a game is so important to me or why I was so deeply affected by a man that I only met briefly one day as a student but his death hit me hard. Anyone outside the Penn State bubble may not understand the immense pride that comes with being a Penn Stater but it is always there. I know it has been a rough year for the old blue & white. The press was very busy vilifying the whole university & football program. Many outsiders were kind of glad we were getting a bit of a comeuppance because we always had that holier than thou attitude. I must admit I did sort of feel we were a bit different and superior myself. But that attitude is built on years of high academic results combined with pretty consistent winning ways. The only two bowl games I have ever been to illustrate some other differences to me also. The first one I went to was the 2005 Orange Bowl against Florida State. Even though it was in their home state, it was like a home game for Penn State. The stadium was a great majority of Nittany Lions. Anytime they started with their signature chant we could easily drown them out with “We are, Penn State!” Then I hit the Rose Bowl a few years ago. Our seats were behind the USC bench for some reason. We got to see the USC players standing on their bench dancing and taunting the crowd as they beat us. You could never see that from a Nittany Lion team. My son is up there now and it’s been kind of a surreal year to be in Happy Valley but he says there is no place else he’d rather be right now. We both said to each other on my visit to honor Joe a couple weeks ago that we are really excited about next football season and we can’t wait for it to arrive. We can’t change anything so we might as well keep a positive attitude. The 2012 class of 19 is signed and hopefully our coaches can turn them into outstanding college players. They are already working on 2013’s class. Even though it’s different, I think Coach O’Brien can keep up Joe’s “Grand Experiment” and continue to do things the right way and keep winning. So far he’s said the right thing immediately to the recruits and their parents that a Penn State degree is why they are there first and foremost. I liked everything I’ve heard about the new coaching staff from on field tactics, education, to future recruiting. He may not have won the Super Bowl but now he can focus on Penn State. Our first chance to see the new team will be the Blue & White game this spring. I can’t wait. – Dr. Steve Stephan
The Views expressed within do not necessarily reflect the views of anyone else at The Bernville Veterinary Clinic.

Remember Old Yeller?

Remember Old Yeller? I remember crying like a baby when I saw it. And that was last week.

Well that story has hit home for local families over the years since we started our clinic. A barn cat located between Bernville and Strausstown bit two family members. A year ago a stray cat bit my friend’s dog. A couple months ago a stray cat he was feeding on his porch bit one of our clients. The scary thing is that when we submitted these cats for testing they tested positive for Rabies. There were many other exposures of people and pets over the years to various positive animals. So far in 2011 cats have been the most common tested rabid critters with skunks, raccoons, & foxes rounding out the list. My Cletus was trying to play with a skunk on our early morning walk a couple weeks ago.

Scientists are making some strides in the extremely difficult task of eradicating the disease in wildlife but exposure to domestic animals is something that is much easier to avoid. Vaccination is the key to eliminate the risk for most humans. Vaccinations are available for dogs, cats, livestock & some exotic pets. We do not recommend that anyone (who is not a rehabilitator) own any wildlife pets.

Pennsylvania state law requires all dogs and cats over 12 weeks to be vaccinated for Rabies. The first vaccine a pet receives, or a vaccine given at less than a year of age, must be boosted in 1 year. After that, boosters are determined by the license of the vaccine.

Remember that Rabies can look like anything, not just the classic mad foaming at the mouth. The animal may also be dull and docile or exhibit a wide range of neurologic signs. Therefore, always avoid close contact with wildlife and be wary of unknown domestic animals especially if acting abnormal. Also make sure your pets are kept up to date with their vaccinations and strays are examined and vaccinated as soon as possible. Don’t let this deadly disease or state mandated quarantines or fines be part of your life.

– Dr. Stephan