Dr. Mike Nelson, DVM
Dr. Mike Nelson, DVM, is the veterinarian and owner of Mahoning Valley Animal Hospital. Dr. Nelson will help educate you in all things animal related, be the doctor performing surgical procedures, will help you make decisions when it comes to the health of your pet, and ensure the highest standard of care during all of your pet’s life stages.
Dr. Nelson obtained his degree in veterinary medicine from the University of Wisconsin in 2003. He is always continuing his education by going to seminars and researching the latest products, medications, and surgical techniques. He does not have a specific favorite breed, as he is a lover of all animals both great and small. Dr. Nelson wanted to become a veterinarian not just because of his love for animals but for the science behind it as well.
Dr. Nelson has been married to his best friend, Kristen, since 1996. Together they have six children; Dani, Joe, Sam, David, Maddie, and Abby. He enjoys spending time with his wife and children. He is very active in his church and with the boy scouts. In his spare time Dr. Nelson is an avid cyclist, woodworker, and loves raising snakes and other reptiles.
Dr. Nelson’s pets include two chocolate labs named Teancum and Emma, a tortoise named Tank, and several snakes who don’t really have a name.
At Mahoning Valley Animal Hospital you may initially come through the doors as clients but you leave as family. That is the kind of care and compassion that drives Dr. Nelson and the staff at MVAH.
Justin Freeby, DVM
Dr. Justin Freeby, DVM is a veterinary associate here at MVAH. Dr. Freeby is available to care for your dogs, cats, pocket pets, and exotics.Dr. Freeby is a Lehighton native having grown up within the area. You may recognize him as he was previously employed as a Veterinary Assistant here at MVAH. After graduating high school, Dr. Freeby went on to pursue a bachelors degree in Small Animal Science at Delaware Valley University. After graduating in 2016, Dr. Freeby next attended North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine where he graduated in May of 2020. During his time at NCSU in addition to Small Animal Medicine he focused on treating exotic animals. Dr. Freeby’s special interests include Avian (bird) Medicine, Preventative Medicine, Nutrition, and Behavior.Additionally, Dr. Freeby is a fear free certified clinician and is a USDA accredited Veterinarian.During his free time, Dr. Freeby enjoys spending the day with his wife Caitlin, his 3 dogs, 2 cats, and his bird. Among many activites, Dr. Freeby’s favorites include kayaking, hiking, and jet skiing.
Stephanie has been a team member at Mahoning Valley Animal Hospital since 2011. She is very well versed in all aspects of the hospital. She schedules your pet’s appointments, assists the doctor during your pet’s exam, assists in some aspects of surgery, and helps to comfort you and is a listening ear “when the time comes.” Stephanie is also the office manager and handles the task of creating the schedules for both the doctor and staff, handles all of their social media and blogs, and reads up on all the latest products in the veterinary world. She is also in charge of the online store and pet portals and can assist you should you need any help accessing these tools. Her favorite things to do at the hospital are watching foreign body surgeries, c- sections, new puppy and kitten visits, and talking to the clients. Stephanie says she loves coming to work every day. “Where else can you give love and help in the healing of dogs and cats? Best job ever! Every day is an adventure here and the saying “you learn something new every day” certainly suits.” She also has an interest in dog grooming and is hoping to enroll in grooming school. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her husband Leon, son Austin, and daughter Leah. She also has 6 dogs; Katie a Miniature Poodle, Lucy a mixed breed, Maxx a Doberman, a wire haired dachshund named Petey, a rescue rottweiler named Gunther, and Reagan whom is also rottweiler as well as 4 cats; Woofey, Oreo, Elliott, and Finn. She loves camping (especially with her co-worker Shirley and her husband Robin), going to baseball games, watching football, tubing down the Lehigh, supporting the local music scene, country line dancing, watching her daughter play softball and basketball, going to hockey games, playing in a football league, and going to concerts. Stephanie also volunteers for her daughter’s softball team as scorekeeper and does all the field maintenance. You can also find her on a Sunday teaching Sunday school, playing the bells, and singing with the choir. Stephanie’s most favorite dog breed is the Poodle, with the Rottweiler and Doberman tied for second.
Shirley Suarez- Veterinary Assistant
Shirley has been a team member at Mahoning Valley Animal Hospital since 1997. Everyone at the hospital calls her “the detective”. Whenever there is a mystery to be solved they look to her for guidance. Shirley is an exam room assistant that assists the doctor during your pet’s exam, assists the technician during nail trims and blood draws, and assists in some aspects of surgery. She is your “go to” for information on pet food; both prescription and non-prescription diets. She enjoys coming to work every day because every day is different and there is always something new to learn. In her spare time she enjoys camping with her husband Robin, daughter Kara, and her co-worker Stephanie and her husband. She also enjoys visiting her daughter Jessica and her granddaughters Willow and Lucy in North Carolina. Shirley currently has two dogs at home; Jazzy a Japanese Chin and Ruby who is a Papa-Chin. Her favorite breed is the Japanese Chin.
Cathy Hartz- Veterinary Technician
Cathy Hartz has been a team member at Mahoning Valley Animal Hospital since 1990. Cathy started as a receptionist but her love of learning led to her becoming the lead technician. She is well versed in the functioning of all of the hospital’s equipment such as the anesthesia machine, digital x-ray machine, blood chemistry machine, and the dental machine. Cathy’s responsibilities at MVAH are nail trims, administering vaccines, drawing blood, placing IV’s, and she is the lead surgical technician assisting the doctor during your pet’s surgery. Cathy can be very quiet but is very knowledgeable. She can answer many questions you may have about your pet’s health. She also breeds and raises French Bulldogs so she can answer any questions you may have about breeding as well. In her spare time she enjoys recreational carriage driving and taking care of her horses. Cathy also enjoys going on tours with her 1912 antique car. She loves vacationing in Disney World. Her favorite breed is the Frenchie.
Tia Tyson- Veterinary Assistant, Receptionist
Tia has been a team member at Mahoning Valley Animal Hospital since March 2021. She started as a veterinary assistant and now also does double duty our receptionist. Since 2011, she has been a member of The Carbon County 4-H Livestock Club breeding goats and raising market goats. Tia is currently attending LCCC to become a veterinary technician and works for her parents in a concession truck. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her four-wheeler, photography, and attending country music concerts. Tia likes spending time with her many goats, donkey, and crazy cat Remi.