In Memoriam: Dr. Pete Sakas

Sakas pics labeled

Everyone at Lafeber Company was greatly saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. Pete Sakas.

Dr. Peter Sakas joined Niles Animal Hospital in 1980 while still a veterinary medical student, working under Dr. T.J. Lafeber during his college breaks. Dr. Lafeber was so impressed with Dr. Sakas that he was hired immediately after he graduated in 1983. When Dr. Lafeber left clinical practice to build Lafeber Company in 1985, he sold his practice, Niles Animal Hospital, to Dr. Sakas.

Niles A.H.

Niles Animal Hospital and Bird Medical Center was established by Dr. T.J. Lafeber in 1949. Dr. Sakas became a staff veterinarian in 1983 and purchased the practice in 1985.

Dr. Sakas died on March 30, 2020 from COVID-19-related illness.

After an employee tested positive for COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2), Niles Animal Hospital closed for a self-imposed quarantine period on March 26. When Dr. Sakas fell ill and was admitted to the hospital, doctors placed him on dialysis because of his past medical history of kidney loss due to cancer. Initially he appeared to improve, but then he suddenly developed respiratory difficulty. “By Saturday or Sunday, things went downhill pretty rapidly,” his brother told the Chicago Tribune. “All of a sudden, he was having trouble breathing and his kidney started developing blood clots”. Dr. Sakas was placed on a ventilator in a medically-induced coma before he passed away. He was 67 years old.

Dr. Sakas was deeply admired and he will be greatly missed, not only for his medical excellence, but also for his kindness and compassion to all animals, wild and domestic. His family has asked that donations go to the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine’s Companion Animal Memorial Fund.

Do you have a favorite memory or story of Pete Sakas? The family has asked that you share your stories on his personal Facebook page or the Niles Animal Hospital Facebook page.


Alumni News. In Memoriam:  Dr. Peter Sakas. Apr 1, 2020. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of Veterinary Medicine web site. Available at Accessed April 2, 2020.

Johnson J. Family, animal lovers remember Niles veterinarian who died after COVID-19 diagnosis: ‘He truly believed all life is precious’. Chicago Tribune. Apr 2, 2020. Available at Accessed April 3, 2020.