Our Veterinarians

The West Hills Animal Hospital team of skilled veterinarians welcomes you to our practice. Proudly serving the West Hills area. At West Hills Animal Hospital, it is our daily privilege to provide quality vet care to your cherished pet, with compassion and competence. We hope to ensure a positive impact on our patients, pet owners and the local community.


Dr. Dawn Lawson, DVM

Dr. Dawn Lawson is a native of Sherman Oaks, CA. When she was just five years old, she planned her life as a veterinarian. A Bachelor of Science degree from Cal Poly Pomona along with employment in small animal hospitals as kennel help, receptionist and veterinary assistant lead up to veterinary school. Dr. Lawson earned her DVM at Oklahoma State University in 1984. She owned a small animal practice in Sacramento for eleven years, then joined a large group veterinary practice for another six years. In December 2000, Dr. Lawson returned to Southern California and quickly joined the staff at West Hills Animal Hospital. Dr Lawson enjoys time with her three children, three dogs, one cat and a large koi pond. The family enjoys all pet activities together especially training and showing purebred dogs. When time allows she enjoys traveling, being in the great outdoors, reading, crafting, and entertainment. Dr. Lawson is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association and the California Veterinary Medical Association.


Dr Crystal Gerards, BVSc BVMS

Dr Gerards was born and raised in Southern California, the daughter of a teacher and another local, small animal veterinarian.    She has wanted to follow in her father’s footsteps since she was in middle school.  She went to high school at Viewpoint, right here in Calabasas.  After finishing high school she got her undergraduate degree from University of California Davis where she continued to follow her dream of becoming a veterinarian by majoring in Animal Biology.  After graduation from university she traveled with her friends to Australia and loved it so much that she decided to apply to veterinary school overseas.  She was accepted into and completed her Veterinary degree at Murdoch University, in Perth Australia (the farthest city from any other city in the WORLD) in 2010. During her time at university she paid her way by working as a waitress in a local restaurant where she would soon meet her future husband (a native of Holland but living in Australia at the time). 

During her final year in veterinary school, Dr Gerards was accepted into a local rotating veterinary internship at Animal Specialty Group in Glendale, California.  Her Dutch fiancé travelled with her back to California where they had a beautiful wedding and began their new life together.  Dr Gerards completed her rotating internship in June of 2012 and has now joined the West Hills Animal Hospital family as a new associate veterinarian.  She loves running, swimming, shopping, and especially playing with her two dogs, Rusty and Jabba the Hut, and her kitty Clive. 


Stephanie Hengst, DVM

Dr. Stephanie Hengst has always had a love for animals and a special interest in their care. In college she began as a working student at a local horse ranch and a kennel assistant at a small animal and exotics practice. Her knowledge expanded as she grew with the clinic. She soon became a veterinary assistant, learning about Veterinary medicine and enjoying every moment. She received her bachelors in biological science from California Lutheran University. She then went on to earn her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Western University of Health Sciences. She is very happy to be an associate at West Hills Animal Hospital. She dedicates her life to the care of our fluffy friends that are such an important part of our lives. She will strive to put her heart and soul into every patient that she sees. Dr. Hengst shares her home with her loving husband, and three fur kids: her dog Carleton, and two cats Brinkley and Doogie Meowser. In her free time she loves to travel, go hiking, and craft.