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Our Veterinarians

Your pet’s emotional and physical well-being
is prioritized with every visit. We put the patients first!

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Dr. Joseph Marchionda

Dr. Joseph Marchionda

Veterinarian

During his childhood summers in Italy, Dr. Joseph saw many local cats and dogs who were afraid of humans and couldn’t receive proper medical treatment as a result. It was then that Dr. Joseph realized he wanted to work in a profession that would truly make a difference—for him, a career in veterinary medicine was the only choice that made sense!

A native of Welland, Ontario, Dr. Joseph began volunteering in local animal clinics during his undergraduate studies at the University of Guelph. After graduating with a degree in animal biology, he was accepted into the Ontario Veterinary College, where he received his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine. He then returned to his hometown to start his veterinary journey. Dr. Joseph is excited to continue his education and experience here at Heartland Niagara Animal Hospital, surrounded by a fantastic team of fellow veterinarians, technicians, and support staff.

Medically, Dr. Joseph has special interests in cardiology and dermatology, and finds it particularly rewarding to alleviate allergy problems in order to better the lives of both pets and their owners. Most of all, he enjoys witnessing animals he’s treated return to their normal, happy selves.

At home, Dr. Joseph has four cats of his own: Lilly, Grizzly, Daisy, and Batman. When he isn’t tending to their needs or caring for pets here at the hospital, he enjoys watching and playing sports, reading, playing video games, and spending time with his girlfriend.


Dr. Amanda Salazar

Dr. Amanda Salazar

Veterinarian

When she was younger, Dr. Amanda Salazar’s parents leased a small pony named Treasure for their daughter to show competitively. Shortly after they brought the animal home, it became lame and couldn’t jump. Dr. Salazar spent every day going to the barn to nurse Treasure back to full health, and she never forgot the satisfaction she felt from helping to relieve her pony’s suffering. It was then that she decided that she would one day become a veterinarian!

Dr. Salazar was born and raised in Mississauga and attended the University of Guelph after high school to study animal biology. At the same time, she began volunteering and subsequently working at a nearby animal clinic. Next, Dr. Salazar headed to Ontario Veterinary College, where she obtained her Doctorate degree. She joined the Heartland Niagara Animal Hospital family in May of 2016 and has been caring for the area’s pets here ever since. Dr. Salazar has special interests in internal medicine, surgical procedures, and working with exotic creatures.

Dr. Salazar has one animal companion of her own at home: Lexi, a boisterous German shepherd who loves just about everyone she comes into contact with. When she isn’t enjoying Lexi’s company or tending to pets’ needs here at the hospital, Dr. Salazar likes reading, swimming, hiking, and horseback riding. She’s been riding ever since childhood, and her greatest achievements thus far have been taking her pony and horse on the Trillium and A-Circuit horse shows!


Dr. Aron Bhan

Dr. Aron Bhan

Veterinarian

When Aron Bhan was a young boy, he first experienced the intense bond pet owners have with their cherished pets. While young Aron was visiting his grandmother’s northern Ontario farmhouse, the area was deluged by a pouring rain storm. Seeing a small animal dart under a car for protection, Aron found a four-month-old, soaking wet puppy huddling under the vehicle. Aron ran into the house, grabbed some peanut butter and bread, and crawled under the car to share it with his new canine friend. The grateful puppy wolfed down his snack and began licking Aron’s face, making this a joyous first meeting for Aron and his beloved dog Zack!

Growing up on a south Niagara Falls farm, Aron was the oldest in a family of three boys. Aron learned to care for the farm’s sheep, goats, chickens, geese, and other farm animals. Although Aron couldn’t quite pronounce the word “veterinarian,” he always had a special connection with animals, and he knew he wanted a career caring for them. In high school, Aron completed a co-op placement at an area veterinary hospital. This satisfying experience cemented Aron’s desire to become a veterinarian.

Following his high school graduation, Aron completed veterinary school at the University of Guelph’s Ontario Veterinary College. While attending veterinary school, Aron had met his wife Nicole, and the couple soon settled into the beautiful Niagara Region that Aron had always called home. Aron was able to satisfy his passion for farming by purchasing a small farm of his own.

While operating Welland’s Main West Animal Hospital, Dr. Aron Bhan and Nicole saw the need for a practice that could better serve their Niagara Falls area clients. The new Heartland Niagara Animal Hospital uses a collaborative approach, as the veterinarians partner with pet owners to provide the best possible care to the clients’ beloved pets.

Dr. Bhan follows a holistic approach to veterinary medicine, and often uses his skills as a certified veterinary chiropractor to offer alternative patient treatments. He also thrives on the challenges of surgery, especially orthopedic surgery, as a successful outcome can have an immediate and often dramatic effect on his patient’s health. Finally, Dr. Bhan enjoys working with exotic pets such as rabbits, ferrets and other pocket pets, and reptiles. While these patients’ needs are often complex, Dr. Bhan feels a sense of satisfaction when he’s able to return them to good health.

Away from the hospital, Dr. Bhan gravitates toward the outdoors, especially several types of water sports. He enjoys wakeboarding, kiteboarding, waterskiiing, canoeing, and kayaking. On land, he indulges his lifetime passions for hockey and music, often playing the drums and acoustic guitar.

Of course, this animal-friendly household also includes three fun-loving golden retrievers. Toby and Dexter are well-adjusted canines who don’t mind if their pet parents smell like dozens of other pets each day. On the other hand, much-younger Clifford hasn’t quite formed his opinion about the strange smells. He also races through the house at lightning speed while clutching a toy or other object in his mouth. You might say that Clifford is the family’s entertainer, providing his canine and human housemates with never-ending amusement.


Dr. Nicole Denouden

Dr. Nicole Denouden

Veterinarian

Dr. Nicole Denouden was “playing vet” when she was just a young girl. With many dogs and cats in Nicole’s family, she often listened to the pets’ hearts, checked their eyes, brushed their teeth, and peeked into their ears. Nicole frequently accompanied her mother to the pets’ veterinarian visits, as this aspiring veterinarian wanted to learn how to provide the best possible care for her animals. Today, as the co-owner of Heartland Niagara Animal Hospital, Dr. Denouden has fulfilled her childhood dream of becoming a veterinarian!

Growing up in Aurora, Ontario with her four brothers, Nicole enjoyed soccer, baseball, swimming, and dance. Nicole also spent much of her time riding and caring for her family’s horses. Nicole often watched her father deliver the mares’ foals, and she helped to train the young horses as they matured. Nicole also spent time caring for the family’s dogs, cats, and other farm animals.

One day while visiting the barn, Nicole found two small kittens with respiratory symptoms. Immediately taking the tiny cats to the veterinarian’s office, Nicole watched as the veterinarian examined the kittens and provided treatment. Nicole learned how to administer antibiotics, bottle feed the kittens, and keep them warm. Within a day, the kittens were energetic and playful again. Nicole was grateful for this positive outcome, and this experience played a large part in her decision to become a veterinarian.

Fortunately, Nicole’s supportive parents encouraged her to follow her dreams. Nicole laid the groundwork for a veterinary career in school, developing a strong interest in science and biology. After Nicole graduated from high school, she attended Guelph University for her undergraduate degree. Next, Nicole attended Guelph University’s Ontario Veterinary College, where she earned her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine. Nicole also experienced another major life event during veterinary school: she met Aron, her future husband and veterinary practice partner. While operating Welland’s Main West Animal Hospital, Dr. Denouden and Dr. Bhan decided to open Heartland Niagara Animal Hospital to better accommodate Niagara Falls area pet owners.

Dr. Denouden enjoys many aspects of her work, particularly the dental surgeries that can dramatically improve a patient’s comfort and overall health. She gravitates to dermatology, as one of her golden retrievers regularly battles skin ailments. Dr. Denouden also loves engaging with rabbits, ferrets, and other pocket pets. While these small creatures have their own specific health challenges, Dr. Denouden loves to see them return to health after treatment. Finally, while Dr. Denouden thrives on the hospital’s fast-paced, challenging work environment, she also likes to slow down and learn more about her clients and their pets. Overall, she loves her veterinary career, as she never feels like she’s going to work each day.

Dr. Denouden also enjoys an active life away from the hospital. During the different seasons, she and her husband take time for snowboarding, skiing, ice skating, waterskiing, wakeboarding, and kiteboarding. She also loves to cook, visit the area’s wineries, and settle down with a good book in her spare time.

Finally, three rambunctious golden retrievers have joined this pet-friendly household. At 10½ years old, Toby is king of the pack, with his two younger brothers giving him first dibs on meals and treats. Next, six-year-old Dexter’s curiosity draws him to many corners of the yard, as he’s always searching for his next play toy. At one year old, Clifford is still a puppy, and goes to great lengths to annoy his brothers so they’ll play with him. Even though the dogs occasionally roll in dead fish or chew the bark from the backyard’s trees, these three lovable dogs have become a treasured part of this active family.


Dr. Debbie Hoffele

Dr. Debbie Hoffele

Veterinarian

Dr. Hoffele grew up in a small town in Ontario spending time at her grandparents’ farm. At a young age, she knew that she wanted to become a veterinarian. Dr. Hoffele graduated from the University in Guelph in 1988 and has had a long career starting in Hamilton, Ontario, moving to Nova Scotia and now back to Welland. She started an animal hospital in Hamilton and worked in several clinics in Nova Scotia. Dr. Hoffele was also able to work with a wildlife rehabilitation centre and some of the most unusual animals she treated there were a seal and a pelican!

Dr. Hoffele currently enjoys working part-time at Heartland Niagara Animal Hospital. She has 2 boys whom are home schooled, and involved in gymnastics, robotics, and lots of other things! Dr. Hoffele and her husband enjoy travelling; and recently spent a year visiting 16 countries.


Dr. Erin Hamaba

Dr. Erin Hamaba

Veterinarian

Dr. Erin Hamaba’s childhood cat was her best friend in the world growing up. When her beloved pet passed away, Dr. Hamaba vowed to help other animals in whatever way she could. That’s why she decided to become a veterinarian! Now, she’s able to help pets and their owners on a daily basis as a part of the Heartland Niagara Animal Hospital team.

Dr. Hamaba is originally from Scarborough and began her veterinary career as a Veterinary Assistant. She graduated from Seneca College in May of 2012 as a Registered Veterinary Technician, then moved to Toronto to launch her animal-care journey. In 2015, she moved to St. Kitts in the Caribbean to attend Ross University’s School of Veterinary Medicine and become a licensed veterinarian. Next, she completed her year of clinical studies at Purdue University in Indiana before moving to the Niagara Falls area.

Dr. Hamaba completed her externship right here at Heartland Niagara Animal Hospital. She was more than happy to accept a job offer after her externship hours were completed! Dr. Hamaba particularly likes dentistry work and soft-tissue surgery, but her favorite aspect of her job is seeing patients and pet parents go home happy after they’re feeling better.

In her free time, Dr. Hamaba loves curling up with a good book or watching her favorite movies. She shares her life with four cats, two of which were foster failures from St. Kitts. They hate the cold weather so much that they often try to jump into the dryer while Dr. Hamaba is doing laundry!


Dr. Olivia Mazzorato

Dr. Olivia Mazzorato

Veterinarian

Dr. Olivia Mazzorato has adored the company of pets ever since she was a little girl, but she started to fall in love with the science and medicine behind veterinary care during her high school and university years. When she secured a part-time job as a Kennel Attendant, it sealed her fate—Dr. Mazzorato knew that she was destined to work with animals professionally! Now, she’s proud to care for pets on a daily basis as a member of the veterinary team here at Heartland Niagara Animal Hospital.

Dr. Mazzorato hails from Burlington, Ontario and earned her undergraduate degree in life sciences from McMaster University in 2014. She started volunteering at a local veterinary hospital and was hired on a short time later, and then started volunteering at an equine referral hospital and at the Bat Lap at McMaster University, where she cared for the school’s colony of brown bats.

A year after finishing completing her undergraduate degree, Dr. Mazzorato gained acceptance to Ontario Veterinary College. She graduated in 2020 and immediately started working at Heartland Niagara Animal Hospital, having completed a one-week placement during her final year of veterinary schooling. She knew that it was the perfect place to launch her career as a veterinarian! Dr. Mazzorato brings with her special interests in preventative medicine, neurology, and internal medicine.

Dr. Mazzorato’s interests outside of veterinary medicine include hiking, playing the guitar, playing hockey, baking, and traveling. She’s been to South Africa and Namibia with Global Vets and even took part in a rhinoceros anti-poaching project on the Ithala Game Reserve in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal. Dr. Mazzorato also lived on a boat in the Peruvian Amazon for two months! At home, she shares her life with one pet: a Bernese Mountain Dog mix rescued from a high-kill shelter in North Carolina who spends most of his time relaxing on one of his many beds around the house.


Dr. Natalie Chow

Dr. Natalie Chow

Veterinarian

As a pet owner herself, Dr. Natalie Chow recognizes the many difficult choices in the road of pet parenthood and the overwhelming amount of information that’s out there. She’s always wanted to help guide others through hard choices and serve as a trusted resource for animal owners. That’s why she decided to become a veterinarian! Dr. Chow is proud to serve as a member of the veterinary team here at Heartland Niagara Animal Hospital.

Dr. Chow was born in Macao, China before immigrating to Canada with her parents at the age of four. She’s been in Markham ever since! She was only 12 years old when she started helping at a local pet store, and later secured a co-op position at a local vet clinic for four months to get her first real taste of veterinary medicine. Next, Dr. Chow volunteered at another hospital for three years and served in various research positions while completing her collegiate education.

During her final year of veterinary school, Dr. Chow interned at Main West Animal Hospital, Heartland Niagara Animal Hospital’s sister clinic, and fell in love with the practice, staff, and clients. After helping at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency as a veterinarian at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, she was happy to start full-time here at Heartland Niagara Animal Hospital in September of 2020. Medically, Dr. Chow is interested in helping chubby pets lose their excess pounds, and she’s also fond of scrubbing in for surgical procedures.

When she’s not at work, Dr. Chow loves reading great books and playing Magic the Gathering. She even placed in the top three contestants in a local tournament recently! Dr. Chow also loves to dote on her own pets at home. She has a dog, Miley, who is the best cuddler, as well as two cats: Biscuit, the grumpy old man of the house, and the rambunctious Loki.


Dr. Jen Kishbaugh

Dr. Jen Kishbaugh

Veterinarian

Dr. Jen Kishbaugh grew up in Cheektowaga, New York, where her family kept everything from dogs, birds, and rabbits to hamsters, gerbils, fish, and even a snake. In fact, it was the hours spent learning about and caring for her very first pet, a hamster named Critter, that convinced Dr. Kishbaugh to become a veterinarian! Her passion hasn’t quit. She couldn’t be happier to help pet owners and their adorable animal companions here at Main West Animal Hospital. 

During her undergraduate studies, Dr. Kishbaugh volunteered at the Aquarium of Niagara and also worked at a local small-animal and exotic veterinary clinic. Next, she moved to the Caribbean to attend veterinary school at Ross University in St. Kitts, and completed her clinical training at Cornell University before starting an internship on Long Island. Dr. Kishbaugh worked in several specialty, emergency, and critical care facilities after her schooling, volunteering with local wildlife rehabilitators on Long Island in her spare time, before moving to Washington, D.C. There, she joined the Smithsonian’s Global Health team to focus on emerging infectious diseases. 

Dr. Kishbaugh became a research consultant, specializing in transfusion medicine and researching transfusion applications for zoo species, and still helps animals in that role. Currently, she’s working to meet the transfusion needs of elephant calves suffering from a highly fatal disease known as elephant endotheliotropic herpesviruses, or EEHV. 

Dr. Kishbaugh joined the Main West Animal Hospital family in May of 2020 and couldn’t be happier to use her extensive background experience and skill set to help the area’s pets. She has a special interest in pocket pets and exotic medicine and the unique challenges they present. She’s also still passionate about wildlife rehabilitation—nothing beats helping an animal return to the wild in a safe manner. Dr. Kishbaugh has worked on Asian and African elephants, the Southern White Rhino, the Leatherback sea turtle, and the Nile crocodile! 

When she’s not helping pets, Dr. Kishbaugh likes gardening, biking, kayaking, swimming, and hiking with her family. She’s also fond of knitting, crocheting, baking, and reading. She and her husband have a young daughter, and the family shares their home with three cats: Trixie, Popeye, and Thackary Binx.

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