As a Vermont native, Dr. Pirhonen attended the University of Vermont where she earned her B.S. in Biology and Animal Sciences. She received her doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Michigan State University in 2008. Dr. Pirhonen completed a small animal internship at South Shore Animal Hospital in Massachusetts before moving to Virginia with her husband. She has always had a strong interest in animals of shapes and sizes. As a child she enjoyed hermit crabs, hamsters, guinea pigs, hedgehogs, rabbits, parakeets, cockatiels, turtles, snakes, lizards, dogs, cats, horses, even a pet Holstein cow! Dr. Pirhonen continued to develop her special interest in exotic medicine, especially reptiles. She enjoys spending time with her husband and two human children, two dogs, bird and cornsnake.