Small Animal Veterinary Associates, P.A.

1273 Church Road
Toms River, NJ 08755


Small Animal Veterinary Associates - Our Doctors


Dr. Martha O'Rourke

Dr. Martha O'Rourke

Dr. Martha O'Rourke is a graduate of Kansas State College of Veterinary Medicine (KSU-CVM). Following graduation she moved to New Jersey and after a short time in practice, she completed the post-doctoral training in ophthalmology at NYU Medical School. Dr. O'Rourke opened her own practice in 1972 in Toms River, NJ, in doing so she became the second women in the state to establish their own practice. 

Dr. O'Rourke became a Diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners n 1983 and holds emeritus status now.  She was also elected to be the first woman President of the New Jersey Veterinary Medical Association and the Jersey Shore VMA. She spent six years on the American VMA political action committee, which successfully lobbied congress for the right of veterinarians to use human drugs on animals, an example being the use of insulin. Subsequently she served 14 years on the AVMA Life and Health Insurance Trust. Along with these great achievements, Dr. O'Rourke was a founding trustee of the New Jersey Veterinary Foundation and has served a number of years on the committee that awards grants to veterinary students each year. 

Dr. O'Rourke has been honored by the Jersey Shore VMA as Veterinarian of the year in 1986, 1999, and 2002, as well has being honored with the title of Association of Women Veterinarians as Practitioner of the year in 1994. She was honored by KSU-CVM in 2001 with the alumni recognition award. In 2006 she received the Distinguished Service Award from the NJVMA. Meanwhile, in 2013 she established a lectureship at KSU-VCM in honor of one of her professor (The Upson Lecture Series).  Then in 2018 KSU-CVM honored her with the Distinguished Alumni Award. 

Dr. O'Rourke has served on the veterinary medical team (VMAT-2), which is a group that addresses national disasters and the care of animals in those areas, as a deputy director from 1998 thru 2013. She was called into service on September 11, 2001 at the World Trade Center and responded to the avian influenza outbreak in Virginia in 2002. 

Locally Dr. O'Rourke has served as a member of the Dover Township Board of Health, Pleasant Plains HOA, as the deputy emergency veterinary coordinator for Ocean County as well as on the governing board of the Girl Scouts.

Her interests are soft tissue surgery, ophthalmology and dentistry, and throughout the years she has written and published papers on unusual cases that she has seen in her practice.


Dr. O'Rourke's husband, Lawrence Simpson passed away in 2006. She has two adult children: Matty and Brian, as well as a granddaughter who was born in 2014. 


Dr. Vanessa Moore

Dr. Vanessa Moore

Dr. Vanessa Moore was born and raised in Clifton, NJ. Dr. Moore was an avid equestrian and rode and competed in Hunter/Jumpers starting at the age of 10. She attended undergraduate at Cook College at Rutgers University where she was captain of the Equestrian Team, a member of Student Mounted Patrol, and volunteered for many research programs in Animal Science.  She graduated from Rutgers in 1999 and went on to The Ohio State University for her veterinary degree. After graduating in the top 8% of her class in 2003 she traveled to Ontario, Canada for an internship at London Equine Hospital, a very busy equine surgical facility. After completing her internship Dr. Moore worked in Hunterdon County, NJ as an Equine Veterinarian for 10 years.  During this time she trained at the Chi Institute in Florida learning Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine, and the Energetics of Food.

In 2014 after having her first child Dr. Moore transitioned to working with companion animals both doing Conventional Medicine and Acupuncture. She has special interests in lameness and other orthopedic issues, internal medicine and ophthalmology. She has since moved to Monmouth County and lives with her husband, their three children and her Rhodesian Ridgeback. She is enjoying life at the Jersey shore and is very happy to be part of the team at Small Animal Veterinary Associates.

Dr. Kristen Szydlowski 

Dr. Kristen Szydlowski 

Dr. Kristen Szydlowski, the Director and Owner of SAVA, received her undergraduate degrees from John Hopkins University in behavioral biology and from the Peabody Conservatory of Music in French Horn performance in 1998. After graduation, she moved to Philadelphia and worked in a research laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania studying neural tube development. She continued at the University of Pennsylvania in their veterinary medicine program, and graduated in 2003. She worked in practices in Princeton and Collingswood, NJ, until moving to the Jersey Shore in 2009 where she began work as a relief veterinarian. 

A few years later, she developed a shoulder injury. She was initially treated with steroid injections, physical therapy and medications, but it was only after she was treated with acupuncture did she realize the power of integrative medicine. She was eager to learn how to help companion animals with acupuncture, so in 2015, she completed the Basic Acupuncture course at the Chi Institute in Reddick, Florida. 

She is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the Jersey Shore Veterinary Medical Association (JSVMA) and the World Association of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (WATCVM). She is also certified by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). 

When not at work, she enjoys spending time with her family. She also lives with 3 crazy cats, 7 chickens and her snake Houdini. She is an avid CrossFitter and loves to travel.