Meet our team alumni.

Click an image to read a bio.

Dr. Debbie Sigesmund.
Dr. Debbie Sigesmund
DVM, MSc, MSc, Lab Alumna
Antonia DeGroot and her horse. Image links to Antonia's bio.
Antonia DeGroot (she/her)
MSc, DVM Student, Lab Alumna
Dr. Judith Cadeau Da Costa holding a bunny. Image links to Judith's bio.
Dr. Judith Cadeau Da Costa (she/her)
DVM, MSc, Lab Alumna

“I am very grateful to have worked with Dr. Coe, and thankful to him for
making grad school such a successful and enjoyable experience .”

Antonia DeGroot, MSc, DVM Student, Lab Alumna

Dr. Debbie Sigesmund.

Dr. Debbie Sigesmund, DVM, MSc, Lab Alumna

To relate means to create a connection. When we practice relationship-centred veterinary medicine we create connections that benefit all involved. 

Debbie completed her BSc in Biochemistry at the University of Toronto and her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Guelph. She practiced companion animal veterinary medicine in both Boston, MA and Toronto, ON. She also spent 10 years working as a technical service veterinarian at Nestle Purina Petcare Canada.

Debbie completed her Masters in Population Medicine in 2022, with a focus on virtual veterinary care from the veterinarian and pet-owner perspectives.  In 2021, she founded MyHeartPet Consultants with the goal of helping veterinarians and other veterinary team members learn how to communicate with clients and each other. 

Outside of work, Debbie is very proud to be the mother of two daughters, the pet parent of two dogs and two goldfish. (Return to top)

Dr. Judith Cadeau Da Costa holding a bunny.

Dr. Judith Cadeau da Costa, DVM, MSc, Lab Alumna

During Judith’s 21 years as private-practice veterinarian, she observed the differences in patient outcomes based on the quality of veterinarian-client communication. It was due to her on-the-job observation that she became passionate about perusing research in relationship-centred veterinary medicine.

In 1993, Judith completed her Honours BSc in Biology at the University of Guelph. She then went on to complete her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, in 1998. She practiced companion animal medicine exclusively until returning to the University of Guelph in 2019 to complete her MSc in Epidemiology in Dr. Coe’s lab, graduating in 2021.

Judith’s thesis research focused on veterinarian-client communication about the companion animal physical exam. She has published 2 papers in JAVMA on this topic. Currently she is the Chief Veterinarian at Toronto Animal Services. Outside of work, Judith enjoys boating, spending time with nature, gardening and interior decorating. (Return to top)

Antonia DeGroot and her horse.

Antonia DeGroot, MSc, DVM student, Lab Alumna

As a self-declared “people person” Antonia has always been interested in interpersonal relationships and communication. Getting to pair this interest with her passion for animal agriculture and food-animal producers was a dream come true when she started her Master of Science (MSc) degree with Drs. Jason Coe and Todd Duffield. 

Antonia completed her MSc in the Population Medicine Department at the Ontario Veterinary College in the summer of 2020, culminating in a thesis titled “Communication during food-animal veterinarian-producer interactions during on-farm appointments”. This work included examining factors associated with food-animal producer satisfaction following an on-farm visit with a veterinarian, as well as factors associated with producers’ and veterinarians’ perceptions of the veterinarians’ producer-centred communication skills during an on-farm visit. 

Currently, Antonia is completing her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree at the Ontario Veterinary College, where she is part of the class of 2025. She plans to pursue food-animal medicine after graduation.  Outside of school, Antonia enjoys horseback riding, spending time with her friends and family, reading and travelling. (Return to top)

“Jason is an extremely attentive, supportive, and present advisor. He tailors his mentorship to his individual students and is always open to a student’s feedback on what they want and need to be successful.”
Antonia DeGroot, MSc, DVM Student, Lab Alumna