Chad Harris, DVM — Chief of Staff
Originally from Odessa, Texas, Dr. Harris, our Chief of Staff, earned a DVM degree at Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine in 2012. After completing the classroom portion of veterinary school at Ross University in St. Kitts, located in the West Indies in the Caribbean, he performed a clinical rotation year at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Prior to veterinary school, Dr. Harris graduated from McMurry University in Abilene, Texas with a Bachelor's degree in biology, obtained certification in electrocardiography (ECG) and echocardiography (cardiac ultrasound) at the Sanford Brown Institute in Houston, Texas, and attended Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas for graduate school.
Dr. Harris' many interests in veterinary medicine include internal medicine, soft tissue surgery, stem cell therapy, avian medicine and surgery, reptile medicine and surgery, fish medicine and surgery, and cardiology. He has previously served as a Director-at-Large for the World Aquatic Veterinary Medical Association and on the Board of the Texas Veterinary Medical Foundation.
Amy Birdwell, DVM, CVA, CVCH
Dr. Amy Birdwell is a lifelong Texas native. Prior to her career as a veterinarian, she earned a degree in engineering from Rice University and worked as an engineer for Texas Instruments for five years. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Texas A & M College of Veterinary Medicine in 2005. After veterinary school she completed an additional internship at VCA Emergency Animal Hospital and Referral Center in San Diego. In 2011, she completed a course in veterinary acupuncture and uses this method to help pets.
Dr. Birdwell has recently completed her certification in Chinese Herbal Medicine (CVCH), which involves over 150 hours of continuing education, as well as review by a certified veterinarian of three acupuncture and herbal cases. More importantly, this gives her more options to treat patients when Western medicine has reached its limits, especially with chronic conditions or if pets experience side effects from medications.
Jean Heppner, DVM
Dr. Jean Heppner joined North Austin Animal Hospital in February 2014. A Michigan native, she now lives in Austin. Dr. Heppner attended Oakland University for undergraduate studies before earning a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine degree from Ross University 2014. After her course work was complete at Ross she performed a clinical rotation at Auburn University, War Eagle! Prior to earning a DVM degree, she worked at veterinary hospitals in Michigan as a veterinary assistant for eight years. Her medical interest is in surgery, dermatology, geriatric medicine, wound management and ultrasonography.
In her free time, Dr. Heppner enjoys being outdoors especially in the water, going to concerts, and traveling. Dr. Heppner also likes to donate her free time, by volunteering at local shelters performing surgeries and traveling overseas volunteering for spay/neuter clinics. She has two geriatric cats, Lola and Vendor, and a pup named Carl that thinks he is a cat.
Katie Castillo, DVM
Dr. Katie Castillo grew up in Los Lunas, New Mexico, and currently resides in Austin, Texas. She received an undergraduate degree from the University of Arizona and earned her DVM degree from UC Davis. Prior to joining the North Austin Animal Hospital team, Dr. Castillo practiced in Fairfield, California. Her special interests include surgery and internal medicine.
Outside of work, Dr. Castillo enjoys traveling, camping, wine tasting, and cooking! She has a German Shepherd dog named Zona.
Taryn Pena, DVM
Dr. Taryn Pena grew on Long Island, NY where she first discovered her love for pets and wildlife. She completed a training program at a local wildlife center her senior year of high school and with that experience later received her New York State wildlife rehabilitation license. She received her undergraduate degree from Binghamton University and during that time also completed undergraduate internships at the Riverhead Foundation Mammal and Sea Turtle Rescue Team and the Binghamton Zoo. She went on to complete her DVM at Cornell University where she volunteered and then worked at both the Wildlife Center and the Exotic Animal Service.
Nicole Savageau, VMD
Dr. Nicole Savageau grew up in Chicago, Kentucky, and Maryland and currently resides in Austin, Texas. She received an undergraduate degree from Cornell University and earned a VMD degree from the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to joining the North Austin Animal Hospital team, Dr. Savageau practiced in Australia, New Jersey, and North Carolina. Her special interests include feline medicine, preventative medicine, exotic animal medicine, soft tissue surgery, and cytology. She is excited to start working at North Austin Animal Hospital!
In her spare time, Dr. Savageau enjoys lyra (circus aerial hoop), reading, traveling the world, and scuba-diving. She also shares her home with one beautiful cat named, Adelaide.