When it comes to the pet medical services, the patrons of Chiquita Animal Hospital rely on Dr. John Kacoyanis.
They believe he is the best and one satisfied client took it to the top level in December by nominating him for "My Vet's the Best" distinction in a national contest conducted by Pets Best Insurance. Kacoyanis learned two weeks ago that he is one of six finalists for the award. Online voting is under way either at www.petsbest.com/vetpromo website or the company's Facebook page until Feb. 27.
"It's a great honor for me to have had a client write down how she felt, and she wrote it well," said Kacoyanis. "All the docs here try to do what's best for the pet and treat the client fairly. Me, I'm more old school, I guess."
Old school or not, clients take their pets to the clinic and ask for Doctor K, who bought the practice from Dr. Robert Dunton in 1999 after working with him for a year. Dunton established the practice in the 1980s when, Kacoyanis says, the clinic was "in the middle of nowhere."
Doctor K currently ranks third in the final voting at this point, about 300 votes behind the vet with the most votes. All of the clinic patrons are aware of the contest and encouraged to vote for him.
The winning vet receives a $1,000 cash prize and Doctor K never hesitated when asked what he would do with the money.
"I'm giving it to ARC," he said. "We support ARC anyway. It's an excellent group. It's a no-kill animal shelter and doing good work. I have never been there myself."
The folks at ARC are aware of the contest and what Doctor K plans to do with the prize if he wins. They, too, are spreading the word to their patrons to support Doctor K in the national voting.
"I think I have a good chance to win," Kacoyanis said. "I'm up against some very good people according to the bios on the website. I'm proud to be in such good company."
Doctor K and the five other veterinarians at the practice served about 5,000 patients last year with routine checkups, diagnostics, testing, urgent care and surgeries.
"Doctor K has a way of bonding with his clients," said practice manager Dave Warnes. "Each of the vets here brings unique skills. One uses acupuncture, another specializes in skin disorders and they all work together really well. They want every pet and their owner to have a good experience when they walk in and out the door."
Kacoyanis, now 49, started his professional career as an electrical engineer for Raytheon in New Hampshire and Maine. One day, he decided to change careers to one more rewarding personally and studied veterinary medicine at Prince Edward Island and Atlantic Veterinary College.
Doctor K has a special interest in orthopedic surgery, diagnostics and physical rehabilitation.
He moved to Cape Coral in 1998 with his wife and two children. He enjoys his two dogs and three cats usually staying close to him while lounging around in his office at the clinic.