Large Animal Veterinarians

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Meet the Team

Our Large Animal Vets

Dr. Chantal Stoop


Chantal joined the Heartland team shortly after graduating from the Ontario Veterinary College in 2018. Beyond medicine and surgery, Chantal has a keen interest in dairy herd management and bovine hoof health. Growing up on her family’s dairy farm in the Niagara region cultivated Chantal’s passion for agriculture and dairy cattle. Outside of work, Chantal is involved in athletics, 4-H, and her Church community.

Dr. Daniella Rizzo


Daniella graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College in 2017; she joined the Heartland team shortly after completing the Summer Dairy Institute at Cornell University, a 6-week intensive training program for dairy veterinarians. She recently completed the Master of Public Health program at the University of Guelph and spends a portion of her time working as an epidemiologist with the Public Health Agency of Canada. Daniella grew up in a small town in the Niagara region, where she first developed a passion for working with large animals. Her main areas of interest include public health and the OneHealth initiative, emergency medicine, dairy production medicine, and bovine surgery.

Dr. Elisabeth Begley


Originally from the Ottawa area, Elisabeth graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College in 2016. She joined the team in 2017 after practicing mixed animal medicine for a year. She has been providing comprehensive, high-quality emergency care for our food, animal, and equine patients. She has a special interest in small ruminant herd health and medicine and bovine medicine and surgery. Outside of work, she can be found spending time with her cat Mister Joe and her dog Lady Esmeralda.

Dr. John Thaler


John graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College in 2015. He joined the Heartland team in April 2016 after having practiced for 1 year as a large animal veterinarian. John has always had an interest in medicine, having completed a Master’s degree in human medical research on osteoporosis. His passion for veterinary medicine was ignited while working with camels, wild pigs, and other animals at the Calgary Zoo. His main areas of interest are bovine medicine and surgery, small ruminant (sheep & goat) medicine, and dairy herd problem-solving. Originally from New Hamburg, John now lives in Wellesley with his wife and their two pet chinchillas. In his spare time, he enjoys playing Ultimate Frisbee, board games, and whitewater kayaking.

Dr. Melanie Thompson


Melanie grew up in rural Flamborough near her grandparents’ dairy farm and began riding horses at a young age. She attended the University of Guelph for her undergraduate degree and graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College in 2018. During her time at the veterinary college, Melanie worked in the OVC Large Animal Clinic, which gained her lots of valuable experience in complicated cases. After graduating, Melanie worked in her hometown as a large animal veterinarian for her first year of practice. Melanie joined the large animal team at Heartland in 2019 for both food animal and equine practice. She enjoys ruminant medicine and surgery and working with farmers. Melanie also enjoys equine practice, with an interest in primary care, emergency care, and equine reproduction.In her free time, she enjoys running, riding horses, playing the piano and painting. Melanie lives in Drayton with her husband Will, and their cat “Mimi”.

Dr. Meredith Vair


Meredith grew up in the Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia. She first gained an interest in large animal veterinary medicine while working at a local mixed practice. She obtained a BSc. Agr in Animal Science from the Nova Scotia Agricultural College and then went on to the Atlantic Veterinary College, where she focused her studies on equine and food animal medicine. Meredith joined the Heartland team in the spring of 2014 as a large animal veterinarian. Her main areas of interest are bovine surgery and dairy production medicine. In the future, she hopes to further expand her knowledge in dairy nutrition and calf health. Meredith lives in Listowel with her husband, daughter and son, and two dogs.

Dr. Niki Alsop


Niki is a recent grad from the Ontario Veterinary College in 2020. Niki comes from a family dairy farm in Feversham, where she spends much of her free time fostering her passion for agriculture and large animal medicine. She is excited to join the team at Heartland and to put her years of schooling to work. Niki has an interest in dairy production medicine. In the future, she looks forward to learning more about dairy nutrition and genetics.

Dr. Rod Wieringa


Rod graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College in 1994. After graduation, Rod practiced in Stratford for just over a year before moving to Listowel to work at Heartland Veterinary Services. Heartland’s large progressive dairy practice was the main attraction to move to Listowel. Shortly after arriving, Alton MacKay asked Rod to start flushing cows with him. Rod is a graduate of OVC’s Dairy Health Management Certificate Program and has a strong interest in embryo transfer technologies and dairy production medicine. What brings Rod the most satisfaction is being part of the next generation of veterinarians and staff as they develop their skills and help our clients achieve success. Rod lives in Listowel with his wife Lisa, and their two boys Matthew and Carter, and golden retriever Murray.

Dr. Thomas Veens


Thomas graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College in 2012 and immediately joined Heartland Veterinary Services to pursue a career as a farm animal practitioner specializing in dairy cattle. He became part owner in 2016. Thomas’ main focus is herd health, with a special interest in reproduction, calf and heifer rearing, transition cow management, disease prevention, and protocol development. In addition, Thomas works with bulls at artificial insemination centers and is part of the embryo transfer team at Heartland. Thomas is also very interested in surgery and enjoys performing many different surgical procedures. Thomas lives in Fordwich with his wife, Angelika, and children, Julia and Henry. He enjoys hiking, camping, canoeing, kayaking, various other sports, and traveling in his spare time.

Dr. Andrew DeHaan


Andrew started working on a dairy farm when he was 12 and continued working there before and after school while attending high school. He worked on a large veal operation for seven years through his undergraduate and veterinary medicine degrees. Andrew began working at Heartland Veterinary Services in 2004 and has been a co-owner since 2007. His main interests include dairy herd health, bovine medicine & surgery, and small ruminant herd health & medicine. He has a special interest in calf and heifer management. Andrew also does some CQA for swine clients. Andrew and his wife Cheryl have four children, Scott, Lauren, Reid, and Tessa.

Dr. Christie Morrow


Christie graduated from OVC in 2010, and her strong interest in dairy cattle medicine led her to Listowel upon graduation. After being away a few years, Christie rejoins the Heartland team to pursue her dairy production systems and embryo transfer passions. She completed the embryo transfer training course in Saskatoon with Dr. Reuben Mapletoft in 2013 and looked to explore all opportunities in this field. When not working, you can find Christie enjoying time with her family on their dairy farm with their dogs Lightning and Frankie. The Heartland management team excitedly welcomed Christie as co-owner in January of 2020.

Dr. Kelly Barratt


Kelly has been on the Heartland team since she graduated in 2005. She is now a part-owner and spends her days split between doing dairy cattle herd healths and working with Dairy Farmers of Ontario as a quality assurance program consultant for the proAction program and other Canadian dairy industry projects. Kelly was awarded a “Top 40 Under 40” in Agriculture for North America by Vance Publishing in 2014 and the Ontario Association of Bovine Practitioners Award of Excellence in 2017. When she is not at work, you can find her working alongside her dairy farmer partner, Adam, and their young son, Noah. Kelly’s other hobbies include riding her dressage horses, traveling, wine and cheese tasting, and she has recently taken on a farm project of her own – beekeeping!