Christopher Wilhite, DVM
Dr. Wilhite earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in 1996 from the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine. In 1998, he founded Wilhite Equine Veterinary Services, P.C., which is now doing business as Wilhite and Frees Equine Veterinary Services. His is a member of: AAEP; AVMA; MVMA; KCVMA; and the Missouri Academy of Veterinary Practioners (MAVP).
In his spare time Dr. Wilhite enjoys spending time with his wife, Dana and their two children. Both of his children are very involved in music and band so Dr. Wilhite is a devoted "Band Dad". His 4-legged family includes several horses, a miniature horse named Stanley, two Corgis, and a Terrier mix.
Karl. E Frees, DVM, MS, DACVS
Dr. Frees earned his DVM degree in 1997 from the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine. He completed a 1-year internship in equine medicine and surgery at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky and a 3-year residency in large animal surgery at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas. During the residency Dr. Frees also obtained a Master's degree in Veterinary Clinical Sciences; his thesis was on hyaluronic acid. In 2003 Dr. Frees attained Diplomate status in the American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS) as a Board Certified Surgeon. Dr. Frees has published articles in scientific journals and has served as a reviewer for the American Journal of Veterinary Research and the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.
He often speaks on equine and veterinary subjects to groups ranging from local 4-H clubs to International Conferences. His interests include lameness, rehabilitation, joint therapies, arthroscopic surgery, abdominal and soft-tissue surgery, and regenerative medicine.
When not working with your horses, he enjoys time with his family; which usually means discussing chemistry and genetics with his boys and tending to their honeybees or any number of creatures they currently care for.
Ricky A. Trahan, DVM, MS
Dr. Trahan was raised in southwest Louisiana and acquired his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine in 2013. Following graduation, he completed an extended internship in equine medicine and surgery at WFEH. He finished a 3-year residency in large animal surgery in 2017 at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine in Blacksburg, Virginia. Dr. Trahan’s Biomedical and Veterinary Science Master’s thesis was based on advancing laboratory models and treatments of osteoarthritis. Following completion of his residency, Dr. Trahan joined the Equine Field Service as a clinical instructor prior to returning to WFEH. His professional interests include lameness evaluation, arthroscopic/endoscopic surgery & integration of new technology into conventional treatment regimes. Standing surgical techniques and reconstruction of chronic wounds were also an important part of his surgical training.
He and his two dogs (Abita & Rue) are avid fans of LSU football and baseball, competition target shooting and most any outdoor activity.
Taylor Johnson, DVM
Debra graduated from Auburn University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture Animal and Dairy Science and a Master of Science degree in Agricultural Economics. She worked at Lane's End in Versailles, Kentucky and was the owner of a Thoroughbred breeding farm in New York. Debra's children include a dachshund, Mai Tai, a Lab mix named Bailey's Irish Cream, and her horse, River of Fortune. Debra joined Wilhite and Frees in November 2005.
Laura joined our practice in 2015. She is an Overland Park, KS native and attended William Woods University before moving back to the Kansas City area. Laura loves to ride and has 3 horses and 3 ponies of her own. She has a passion for training project ponies and spends most of her free time at her barn doing just that. Laura's two dogs, Dax and Daisy complete her 4-legged family.
Madison's love for horses grew out of 10 years spent volunteering for R.O.C.K. Ride on Center for Kids, a therapeutic riding center for children and adults with disabilities located outside of Austin, TX. After graduating in 2019 from the University of Rochester with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science, her interest in equine medicine led her to join Wilhite and Frees in 2020. While attending the University of Rochester, Madison rode for the equestrian team and played water polo. In her free time, she enjoys cooking/baking as well as hiking, biking, and exploring the Kansas City area.
Mattie came to WFEH in the fall of 2020. She has a degree in Animal Science from Kansas State and is currently enrolled in the Veterinary Technician program at Maple Woods. Although she primarily works in the hospital on nights and weekends caring for hospitalized patients you can sometimes catch her on the road helping with calls. Outside of work Mattie enjoys running and camping.
Elise is originally from Chicago but migrated from Illinois to attend William Woods where she majored in marketing with an equestrian science minor. She graduated in 2018 and joined our team in September 2019.
Elise has been riding since she was 5 years old and worked in the AQHA western all-around circuit. In her free time Elise can be found taking photos of horses for her business Figure Eight Photography or spending time with her dog Willow and cats Sausage and Jinx.
Hannah- Office Manager Hannah
Hannah, originally from San Antonio, Texas, insisted on learning to ride at the age of 3, but had to wait until her 4th birthday to begin saddleseat lessons. She grew up in the American Saddlebred and Arabian show industries, working at various show barns in Texas and later in Missouri. She has shown competitively across the country since the age of 5. Hannah graduated from William Woods University with a Bachelor of Science Major in Equine Administration and a Minor in Equine Science with a concentration in Graphic Design. She has two Arabian and Half Arabian show horses, CSP Hot Tamale and Heirabask SA, a miniature wire-haired dachshund, Toby and two black labs, Duke and Horton. When not working, Hannah enjoys spending time with her husband, traveling and being out on the lake. Hannah joined Wilhite and Frees in January 2013.
Contact Hannah at: [email protected]
Sydney grew up in rural Southeast Nebraska, where her love of large animals blossomed on her family's farm. She worked at her home town veterinary clinic, a mixed animal practice, from junior high until she graduated from high school. Following high school she moved to Kansas City to attend Maple Woods Veterinary Technology Program. Sydney completed the program in May 2014 and joined Wilhite and Frees in August 2014. Outside work she enjoys team roping with her husband and breakaway roping. Sydney has three Quarter Horses, a Border Collie/Blue Heeler mix named Max, an Italian Greyhound named Weasel, Border Collie named Sam, and a cat named Carl.
Contact Sydney: [email protected]
Louie - Supervisor
Louie joined the Wilhite and Frees team in the Summer of 2014. He had previously shared a home with an older member of Laura Frees' family. He arrived a somewhat quiet and timid cat; this lasted approximately 13.5 hours at which he obtained the FIC (Feline in Charge). Anyone who has visited our hospital knows Louis as the consummate greeter and entertainer; ready for any occasion as he is always wearing his formal attire.