Make us your home page

Spring Hill veterinarian is 'America's Favorite Veterinarian 2013'

SPRING HILL — A new banner in front of San Francis Veterinary Hospital on County Line Road reads "Home of America's Favorite Veterinarian 2013, Dr. Carlos Campos."

It is not exaggerating.

At its annual convention in July in Chicago, the American Veterinary Medical Foundation presented the "America's Favorite Veterinarian" title to the 39-year-old Guatemala native who has been caring professionally for animals in Hernando and Pasco counties since 2002.

Clients nationwide nominated more than 1,000 animal doctors.

The foundation committee settled on Campos based on the nomination written by dog owner Joan Spitrey of Hudson.

Spitrey praised the doctor's kindness, clear explanations and compassionate manner with both animals and clients.

"He's the nicest guy ever. He spends time to talk. We adore him," Spitrey added by telephone.

Campos' ease with clients is evident on meeting. Entering the room at a near-trot, white coat flying, Campos greets human clients with a sincere smile, firm handshake and full attention.

He crouches down to meet and comfort frightened animals, Spitrey said.

Winning the "favorite" title came as a surprise to Campos.

He describes himself as a general practitioner, dealing with orthopedics, soft tissue matters and maladies that call for surgery, medication or both. He also handles breeding management, cancer therapy and eye procedures.

Other veterinary clinics may field specialists to address such issues, but Campos handles many of them himself.

"It is so expensive to go to specialists. … I can do those things at a more moderate cost," he said.

Campos has an undergraduate degree from Florida State University and a doctoral degree from the Florida College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Florida. He stays up-to-date on procedures by taking continuing education courses every two years.

This summer, Campos completed continuing education in hands-on orthopedics, medications, business and USDA animal health certification.

"We try to stay ahead of the ball," Campos said of himself and the three veterinarians under his direction — Drs. Lisa Littlejohn, Stephanie Knapp and Leigh Ann Collins. Together, their client list is about 6,000.

Some of the most challenging cases, Campos said, are those involving more than one disease. He recently treated a diabetic canine also suffering Cushing's disease, causing a double dose of endocrine malfunction.

Campos has a practical approach to end-of-life cases.

"I don't care how long they live; it's how they live. Quality of life over quantity," he said.

The Campos family immigrated to the United States, moving to Miami when Carlos was 14. After veterinary school, he and his wife, Lisa, moved to Pasco County to be near her relatives. In 2002, he joined Animal Care Center of Pasco County, then established San Francis in 2010.

His affinity for animals began with his parents' pair of German shepherds in Guatemala City. He adopted a Scout mantra at age 6 or 7: "Take care of everybody, including animals, as you would yourself."

He remembers enjoying his visit to a farm, where he helped care for chickens and cows. His current patients range from cats and dogs to pigs and chickens.

The Campos family — including children Xavier, 11; Sebastian, 8; and Sofia, 5 — live in Hudson. They have seven goats, 18 chickens, one rabbit, many fish, two dogs and a cat.

"I love going home and seeing the chickens run," Campos said. "The cat I call my third dog. He comes to greet me."

Beth Gray can be contacted at

.Fast facts

America's Favorite Veterinarian

Who: Dr. Carlos Campos

Where: San Francis Veterinary Hospital, 18824 County Line Road, Spring Hill

Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, 8 a.m. to noon Saturday

Contact: Phone (352) 848-0940; on the Web at; send email to

Spring Hill veterinarian is 'America's Favorite Veterinarian 2013' 09/06/13 [Last modified: Friday, September 6, 2013 6:11pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Last steel beam marks construction milestone for Tom and Mary James' museum


    ST. PETERSBURG — Tom and Mary James on Wednesday signed their names to the last steel beam framing the 105-ton stone mesa that will be built at the entrance of the museum that bears their name: the James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art.

    The topping-out ceremony of the James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art was held Wednesday morning in downtown St. Petersburg. Mary James (from left), husband Tom and Mayor Rick Kriseman signed the final beam before it was put into place. When finished, the $55 million museum at 100 Central Ave. will hold up to 500 pieces of the couple's 3,000-piece art collection. [Courtesy of James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art]
  2. Heights Public Market to host two Tampa Bay food trucks


    TAMPA — The Heights Public Market announced the first two food trucks for its "rotating stall," which will feature new restaurants every four months. Surf and Turf and Empamamas will be rolled out first.

    Heights Public Market is opening this summer inside the Tampa Armature Works building.
[SKIP O'ROURKE   |   Times file photo]

  3. Author Randy Wayne White could open St. Pete's biggest restaurant on the pier

    Food & Dining

    ST. PETERSBURG — The story begins with Yucatan shrimp.

    St. Petersburg Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin, pilot Mark Futch, Boca Grande, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, and author and businessman Randy Wayne White,  Sanibel, exit a Maule Super Rocket seaplane after taking a fight around Tampa Bay off the St. Petersburg waterfront, 6/28/17.  White and his business partners are in negotiations with the City of St. Petersburg to build a fourth Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grille on the approach to the St. Petersburg Pier with a second event space on the pier according to White. The group met near Spa Beach after a ground breaking ceremony for the new pier. "We want to have our business open by the time the pier opens," said White. Other Dr. Ford restaurants are located on Sanibel, Captiva and Ft. Myers Beach. SCOTT KEELER   |   Times
  4. Guilty plea for WellCare Health Plans former counsel Thaddeus Bereday


    Former WellCare Health Plans general counsel Thaddeus M.S. Bereday pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement to the Florida Medicaid program, and faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set, acting U.S. Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow of the Middle District …

    WellCare Health Plans former general counsel Thaddeus M.S. Bereday, pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement to the Florida Medicaid program, and faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set, acting U.S. Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow of the Middle District of Florida stated Wednesday. [LinkedIn handout]
  5. DOT shows alternatives to former Tampa Bay Express toll lanes


    TAMPA — State transportation officials are evaluating at least a half-dozen alternatives to the controversial Tampa Bay interstate plan that they will workshop with the community over the next 18 months.

    Florida Department of Transportation consultant Brad Flom explains potential alternatives to adding toll lanes to Interstate 275 during a meeting Wednesday at the DOT’s Tampa office. Flom presented seven diagrams, all of which swapped toll lanes for transit, such as light rail or express bus, in the I-275 corridor from downtown Tampa to Bearss Avenue.