Joseph M. Trueba, BS, MS, DVM, DABVP (Emeritus)
(Board Certified Veterinary Specialist, Canine/Feline Practice)
Dr. Trueba is an Arizona native, who grew up on a cattle ranch in northern Arizona. He earned a BS degree in Animal Health Science and a MS degree in Animal Physiology from the University of Arizona. He received his Veterinary Degree from Araneta University, and completed a Medicine and Surgery rotating Internship at Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine. He did additional post-doctoral studies at the Santa Cruz, California Veterinary Post Graduate Institute, part time over a six year period, was awarded their Outstanding Alumni Award. He was interested in endoscopy, a skill not being taught in most veterinary schools in the early 1980s, mostly because few had endoscopes at the time. Those schools that had endoscopes usually had one in the equine department to examine horse noses. Dr. John McGregor the director of the G.I. laboratory at Tucson Medical Center took an interest in Dr. Trueba and mentored him through the difficult processes of developing competence in endoscopy and colonoscopy. Another mentor was Dr. Brent Jones the Small Animal Internal Medicine Director of the University of Missouri, College of Veterinary Medicine, and literally one of the first two Veterinary Gastroenterologists in America. Dr. Jones helped him refine his endoscopy skills further, and trained him in Rhinoscopy (nose scoping) and Laparoscopy (abdominal cavity scoping).
In the 80’s 90’s and early 2000’s Dr. Trueba owned and operated one of the largest Veterinary Specialty Referral Centers in the State of Arizona. That facility had five board certified specialists, a Surgeon, a Dermatologist, a specialist with interest in Cardiology, another with interest in Emergency Medicine, and Dr. Trueba with an Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology interest. This facility had a very active externship and internship program for young veterinarians. Many of the middle aged veterinarians in Tucson were able to learn and hone their skills for varying lengths of time at that facility, under the direct supervision of Dr. Trueba and the other specialists in the group. The referral center enjoyed referrals from literally every veterinarian in Tucson, as the only other specialists in town at the time were an ophthalmologist, an oncologist, a one day a month veterinary dentist, and another dermatologist that worked in Tucson only one day a week.
As a resource to other veterinarians, Dr. Trueba became quite proficient at reviewing past medical records, past laboratory records, interviewing referral veterinarians, and developing plans of action for diagnosing and treating troublesome or stalled cases. Dr. Trueba was a frequent speaker at national, state and local veterinary seminars. He held national office as the Arizona and Nevada representative to the American Animal Hospital Association. He was the past chairman of numerous AAHA committees including a committee that produced that association’s prestigious medical journal and their veterinary practice management journal. The committee also developed printed material for veterinary libraries, as well as the OSHA compliance materials used by most American animal hospitals. He was honored to have been awarded the Outstanding Practitioner of the Year by the American Animal Hospital Association. Dr. Trueba was the chairman of the Arizona State Veterinary Convention for three consecutive years.
Dr. Trueba has a one office visit philosophy which he believes is best for the medical wellbeing of the patient, and best for the animal owner, since it causes less worry and in most instances is less expensive. To translate that philosophy, he feels that the patient should have a complete and accurate diagnosis on the first visit. Specific medication is then prescribed; the patient recovers rapidly, causing less stress to its owner. This translates to more economical care than the classic “try this”, “try that” trial and error medicine which never diagnoses the case and causes owners to purchase multiple office visits and multiple needless trial and error medications.
He never strays far from animals even in his hobbies. Dr. Trueba co-owns a mule farm with another veterinarian. This farm breeds, raises, trains and boards mules. His favorite activity is giving his grand kids mule rides around the yard. Driving his Budweiser style wagon with his teams of eight, six, four, and two animals is a close second favorite activity. When he is away from the clinic, you will usually find him riding his mule in the Saguaro National Park, with his mule enjoying the hike and Dr. Trueba enjoying the peace and quiet, and the companionship of a favorite mule.
Robert J. Riccitello, DVM
Dr. Bob was born in Valdosta, Georgia on Moody Air Force Base. His family traveled to many states including Schenectady, NY where his family still owns an Italian restaurant called “John Riccitello’s”. It was in NY where his grandfather’s attraction to race horses became an interest to Dr. Bob. It was then he realized he wanted to pursue a career working with animals.
Dr. Bob arrived in Tucson when he was 12 years old. He graduated from Santa Rita High School where he participated on the swim team. He attended the University of Arizona and was on the swimming and diving team while studying for his bachelor’s degree. He majored in Animal Health Science and minored in Genetics.
After graduating from the U of A, Dr. Bob moved to Baton Rouge, LA where he attended Louisiana State University Veterinary School. He graduated in 1992 and then moved to New Mexico where he worked exclusively in an equine surgery and general practice until 1995. He then moved to Lake Conroe, TX and opened his own equine and small animal practice. Dr. Bob has always had a love for Tucson, so he sold his practice in 2006 and moved back to the desert.
Shortly after arriving in Tucson, Dr. Bob was fortunate to have met Dr. Trueba who happened to be looking for an associate to help run Wiseman Animal Hospital. Dr. Trueba also owns a mule farm which has given Dr. Bob an opportunity to continue working with horses and mules.
Dr. Bob has 3 cats named Carmen, Lacy, and Mercy (a 3 legged cat who he saved as a kitten). His hobbies include swimming, biking up Mt. Lemmon, and reading. He enjoys spending time with his brother’s family (he loves spoiling his niece and nephew!) and friends.
Erika Gray, CVT
Erika grew up in southeastern Pennsylvania and went to Milton Hershey School in the famous town of Hershey (yes, the chocolate). Milton Hershey School provided many opportunities for Erika, one of them being working on a dairy farm. It was here that she developed a special interest in working with animals. Tending to the calves was her favorite part and she was always eager to help the veterinarian when he came to the farm. This was when she decided she wanted to have a career as a veterinary technician.
After visiting a friend who lived in Tucson, Erika realized that this was the place she wanted to live. In 1996 Erika and her mom made the 2,500 mile journey cross country in a Ryder truck with Erika’s two cats and settled in Tucson. Shortly after arriving, Erika enrolled at Pima Medical Institute in the veterinary assistant program. In early 1997, Erika started her career at Dr. Trueba’s emergency and referral center as an emergency veterinary assistant. Erika fondly remembers her first shift “I was definitely nervous. I was working under the senior emergency veterinary technician and I remembered thinking “someday I want to be the senior emergency veterinary technician”. In 1999 Erika earned her certification and shortly after became the senior emergency veterinary technician.
A few years later Erika transferred to Dr. Trueba’s other veterinary clinic, Wiseman Animal Hospital. After taking a short break in 2004/2005 to pursue a career as a massage therapist, Erika realized that working with animals was her true passion and came back to work for Dr. Trueba at Wiseman Animal Hospital where she was offered the position of Clinic Manager. Managing a veterinary hospital and boarding kennel keeps her very busy but she doesn’t mind, “I love working with animals and the staff here are the absolute best, I couldn’t ask for a better boss than Dr. Trueba”.
Erika has one cat (Simon) and enjoys spending her time away from work with her family and friends. One family favorite, especially for her nephew, is going down to Dr. Trueba’s mule farm to feed the mules. She also enjoys cooking, reading a good book, and rooting for her favorite sports team, the Tennessee Titans.