Watch our video to find out more about our dedicated team!
Our Veterinary Nurses
Dr Matt O'Donnell BVSc MANZCVS (Small animal surgery)
Veterinarian and Hospital Owner
Matt graduated from the University of Sydney in 1992 and has been working in the Illawarra for over 20 years. His early career was spent in mixed practice and more recently Matt has developed a keen interest in small animal surgery becoming a member of the Australian College of Veterinary Surgeons (Small Animal Surgery Chapter) in 2008. He also enjoys delving into radiology and ultrasound.
When not working, Matt is kept busy with 3 children and Pepper the Cavoodle! He also likes to sneak out for a bike ride or maybe the odd surf when he can.
Dr Sarah Anderson BVSc
Dr Sarah graduated from the University of Sydney as a veterinarian in 2011 and has worked extensively in veterinary specialist centres in Sydney. She brings this knowledge and experience to NIVH, as well as her interest in animal welfare, health and behaviour. Dr Sarah lives locally with her husband and new baby son Bodhi and outside of being a vet, she has an amazing musical background and an interest in sailing, camping, bush walking, mountain biking and yoga.
Dr Lisa Kavanagh BVSc
Dr Lisa graduated from the University of Sydney as a veterinarian in 2007 and gained a Master of Veterinary Studies in Small Animal Practice from Murdoch University in 2016. Dr Lisa has worked extensively in veterinary practices in the Sydney region and comes to NIVH with a wealth of experience and knowledge. She was most recently employed as a senior clinician in a busy practice in south west Sydney.
When not at work, Dr Lisa enjoys yoga, vintage treasure hunting, cooking, reading, music and hanging out with her Great Dane, Floyd and her gorgeous birds, Goose and Kermit.
Dr Sharon Tan BSc BVSc
Dr Sharon graduated from the University of Sydney in 2006 though she had previously obtained a degree in Conservation Biology in Canada before deciding to pursue her dream of veterinary science in Australia. She returns to the workforce after a year on maternity leave with a renewed passion for all areas of clinical practice and endeavours to be a well-rounded general practitioner. Dr Sharon is thrilled to be joining the very capable NIVH team and is looking forward to meeting our wonderful clients.
When not at work, Dr Sharon is mum to two kids and a Devon Rex who loves a smooch. She loves hiking and swimming, but would very much prefer to be chilling with Netflix or enjoying a good meal these days.
Dr Matt Leong BVSc
Dr Matt completed his veterinary studies at the University of Sydney in 2007. After working in mixed practice for 5 years on the outskirts of Sydney, he worked in the UK for 2 years, before returning to Australia. Dr Matt has practised in over 40 clinics between New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and the UK.
His clinical interests lie in soft tissue surgery and dentistry, though he enjoys all aspects of general practice. Matt has been helping out the Northern Illawarra Veterinary Hospital team since 2018 and loves helping people help their pets.
Dr Rebecca Hembrow BSc BVMS
Dr Bec graduated from Murdoch University in 2014. She has worked in mixed practice in north-east Victoria, the southern Riverina and the Illawarra, before joining the team at NIVH in June 2021. At work she enjoys medicine and soft tissue surgery and working with other pet parents to provide the best care possible in a low stress environment for fur babies.
Dr Bec is a pet parent herself to two dogs, a hyperactive American staffy Moo, who is great at catching rats, and Diesel, a geriatric staffy x mastiff whose favourite pastimes include getting tangled in blinds and raiding rubbish bins. In her spare time Dr Bec enjoys fishing, camping, hiking, orienteering, drinking red wine with friends and enjoying the beautiful Illawarra beaches.
Dr Jenny O'Donnell BVSc MVetClinStud
Veterinarian and Hospital Co-owner
Dr Jenny graduated from the University of Sydney in 1992 where she met her husband Matt and also completed a Masters Degree in Veterinary Clinical Studies in 2001. She has worked in both mixed and small animal practice and in more recent years, in between having three children, has spent time as the Executive Office of veterinary charity Vets Beyond Borders and is now Head Teacher of Veterinary nursing at TAFE NSW. Dr Jenny loves helping out at NIVH and supporting Matt with the hospital management.
Veterinary Nurse and Practice Manager
I have worked as a veterinary nurse since 2000 at several local hospitals, an emergency centre in Sydney and in the UK. I have a special interest in medical nursing, radiology and animal behaviour and am currently studying Certificate IV in Companion Animal Services with The Delta Society, which focuses on training and behaviour. I am a local girl with a young family and two fur babies -15 year old Leroy, a Border Terrier, and 10 year old Huey, a cross breed. I enjoy spending time at the beach, going on holidays and being with family and friends.
My veterinary adventure started when I completed my Certificate IV in Veterinary nursing in 1999. My 20+ years of nursing have given me the opportunity to work in a small animal specialist and emergency hospital, locally in general practice as well as multiple mixed practices in Canada. I am a mum to two wonderful humans, a Jack Russell Terrier named Winnifred and a quirky cat named Graham. I look forward to each day at NIVH as our job presents opportunities to learn new things, be challenged and work together to improve the standards for our patients and clients. When I'm not with the NIVH family, I spend my time renovating a truck to hopefully go on holidays in sometime in the future.
I have been a veterinary nurse for over 20 years and still love it as much as the day I started. I love working with both the clients and their fur babies, forming the best relationships with both to create the best care possible.
My career began with a love for wildlife care and rehabilitation starting out as a zookeeper at Symbio Wildlife Park.
When not at work I am kept very busy with three small human children, a galah called Jack and a cattle dog x staffy called Juno.
I have been working in the veterinary industry since 2017 and recently completed my Certificate IV in Veterinary nursing at Yallah TAFE. With a love for all creatures great and small, it was after my move from the UK to Australia that I embarked on a lifelong dream to become a veterinary nurse. Previously I was a human sports therapist with a keen interest in rehabilitation. With my two qualifications my passion is to give every patient the best quality of life, with my specific areas of interest being orthopaedic rehabilitation, weight loss and geriatric care. I am also mum to two human daughters and three cocker spaniels and a keen soccer player!
After starting with NIVH as a casual veterinary nurse I have recently joined the team on a regular basis. I have worked locally as a nurse for 10 years and still love it just as much as the day I started. I have also studied zoo keeping but my heart has always been set on veterinary nursing. I have a special interest in surgery, behaviour and care of neonates. Things I love about my job are no two days are ever the same, you never know what you will be caring for next. I love being able to make a difference to our clients and patients through the care they receive from us. We have a great, passionate team at NIVH and I'm very proud to be part of it. When I'm not working I'm kept busy looking after my 2 young kids and 4 fur kids, as well as 2 birds and Franklin the turtle.
I have worked as a veterinary nurse in the Illawarra since I was 15 years old, graduating with my Certificate IV in Veterinary nursing in 2010. My passion has always been with all animals great and small and I find huge rewards working with them and their owners knowing I'm making a difference. I have a special interest in surgical and medical cases but love every day on the job and couldn't imagine doing anything different.
My family includes myself, my partner Richie and my daughter Keeley. We also have 3 dogs; Diesel, Axel and Ruby and a cat named Chevy. On our days off we all love spending time outdoors camping, exploring new places and getting away for weekend fun!
I started volunteering with the NIVH team in 2019 while studying my Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing at Yallah TAFE. I have always had a passion for caring for animals and knew that I would be happiest when working with them. Since graduating in December 2020, I now work as a veterinary nurse at NIVH where I am always learning something new and each day is unique.
The NIVH team is incredibly supportive and we are all like a big family, and I am very grateful to part of it. In my free time, I spend time with my partner and our two miniature dachshunds, Martini and Chaser, who are always keen for an outdoor adventure.
My veterinary nursing career started in 2009 while I was still in high school. I studied Animal studies as part of my HSC and then went on to graduate from Veterinary nursing in 2011. I joined the wonderful NIVH team in early 2021 after some time out having my four kids, and I am now also working as an emergency nurse at a specialist centre. I enjoy all aspects of veterinary nursing but I do have a special interest in surgical nursing and anaesthesia. I am also super passionate about animal rights and being their voice when they can’t speak for themselves.
When I’m not at work you will find me running around playing sport with my human children or at the beach with my 'fur' children, a Labrador and Golden Retriever, or riding my three beautiful horses.