teamMeet the caring and compassionate veterinary team of Selkirk Veterinary Hospital in Nelson, British Columbia.

Drs. Chris Chart and Birgit Vierheilig are both graduates of the University of Saskatchewan. In 1992 they moved to Nelson to open the Selkirk Veterinary Hospital and to realize their dream of developing a practice where the bond between pets and “their humans” is fully recognized.

In developing the Selkirk Veterinary Hospital, they have integrated the use of conventional and alternative medicine and developed their own areas of special interest; acupuncture and orthopedics (Dr. Chart) and internal medicine and ultrasound (Dr. Vierheilig).


Dr. Birgit Vierheilig

4331-200x260Education: University of Saskatchewan
Birgit was born and raised in Germany. She immigrated to Drumheller, Alberta in 1976. Living on a farm there sparked an interest in veterinary medicine that culminated in her entering the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program at the University of Saskatchewan. Following graduation in 1986, she worked in Ontario and the U.K. After travelling the world she moved to Nelson in 1991 and helped to establish the Selkirk Veterinary Hospital with Dr. Chart. They have three beautiful children, Tristan, Sebastian, and Emma. The family has 2 dogs, 2 cats and 5 fish. Her hobbies are skiing, hiking, camping and sailing.

Dr. Chris Chart

4361-200x260Education: Western College of Veterinary Medicine
Chris grew up in England and worked in the mining industry in South Africa and Northern Canada for several years before becoming a veterinarian. He is a 1986 graduate of the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon. After graduation he worked in Williams Lake BC, Southern Ontario, and the U.K. before moving to Nelson in 1991. In 1999 he became a certified veterinary acupuncturist. He is an avid fan of Manchester United and the Cornish rugby team. His hobbies are sailing, squash and cycling.

Dr. Maude Gagnon

Education: University of Montreal

Maude-Photo-200x260Dr. Maude Gagnon graduated from the University of Montreal in 2008. She focused her studies and externships in small animal as well as equine. She has practiced medicine in Mont-Tremblant, Montreal, Olympia, WA, and has been in Nelson for a few years.

She fell for the beautiful Kootenays and what was supposed to be a 1 or 2 years adventure is turning into something more! When not at the clinic you can find her riding her horse or on a mountain with her adventurous dog!

Dr. Rebecca Maybank

photo2UW3YA9C-e1440532715627-200x260Education: University of British Columbia & University of Saskatchewan
Rebecca was born in Edmonton, Alberta, and attended undergraduate school at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. She began her studies with an interest in journalism; however, during a volunteer trip to Ecuador her passion for animal care and welfare became apparent. Having always loved her family dogs growing up, she transferred to Animal Sciences at UBC, and graduated from the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program at the University of Saskatchewan in 2015.

She is delighted to be working at the Selkirk Veterinary Hospital, and thoroughly enjoys her coworkers, clients, and patients. She has moved to Nelson with her two cats, Linus, and Fat Gord, and looks forward to adventuring in the natural beauty that is abundant in this part of the world. She enjoys soccer, singing and playing guitar, and any TV show created by Joss Whedon.

Dr. Mary von der Porten

Education: Western College of Veterinary Medicine & Simon Fraser University

Dr. Mary von der Porten is an associate veterinarian at Selkirk Veterinary Hospital. Mary has a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine with Distinction from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine as well as a Master degree from Simon Fraser University and a Bachelor of Science with Distinction from the University of Victoria. Her passion to be a veterinarian is motivated in a deep interest in promoting healthy communities through happy healthy animals with strong human animal bond.

Mary has a passion for animals big and small. As a lifelong competitive equestrian show jumper Mary gained valuable experience in animal care which led her to an academic career in biological and veterinary sciences. Before becoming a veterinarian Mary worked as a bear biologist in Whistler BC and in environmental management in Nelson. Mary’s veterinary employment has included award winning research in Bison reproduction and wildlife anesthesia as well as in small animal practice and remote spay and neuter clinics.

Mary, originally from Vancouver, moved to Nelson in 2010 to be with her husband, and after a brief time in Saskatoon, they are in Nelson for the long term. Mary and her husband have a beautiful little girl who is an active Nelson toddler that loves visiting with animals at the clinic and playing on the shores of Kootenay Lake. Her ‘fur brother’, Smokey, is a Catahoula Leopard Hound who was adopted in Creston, and his favorite activity is running through Kootenay forests at top speed. When not in the clinic you may see Mary flying down the ski hill or the mountain bike trails with her dog – embracing this wonderful town.

Dr Christina Meyer


Education: Washington State University

Christina graduated with a doctorate in veterinary medicine from Washington State University in 2008. While in vet school, she started dating a classmate, Joe, and they’ve been together ever since. After graduation, Christina and Joe moved to Gisborne, New Zealand. There she developed her interest in soft tissue and orthopedic surgery while caring for working dogs who often sustained injuries in the line of duty. In 2013 she partnered with Royal Canin and Massey University on a study on nutrition in working dogs. She has attended continuing education and multiple conferences on fracture management, soft tissue surgery and KYON’s tibial tuberosity advancement (TTA) lab.

After 7 years in New Zealand, she and Joe decided to return to North America to be closer to family. They brought back their English Cocker Spaniel/Poodle cross named Izzi.

From 2015-2017 she worked in Burlington, Washington at a 12 doctor, 24 hour practice advancing her medical and surgical skills. During that time she also had her son, Simon.

Christina, Joe and Simon decided to move to Nelson to raise their family and put down some roots. She joined Selkirk in 2017. Her interests outside of work include snowboarding, swimming, hiking and pottery.

Practice Manager

Jody Horvath
Practice Manager

Jody was born and raised on a small farm in the Kootenays. During her early life she developed a love for all animals with an extra soft spot for kittens. When she is not knitting or gardening with the kitty, she is out exploring our beautiful countryside with her husband and their German Shorthair Pointer.

Jody has worked for Drs. Chart & Vierheilig since 1998. First as a Receptionist & Veterinary Assistant and now as Office Manager. Her many tasks keep her very busy – but you can expect her to drop what she’s doing to cuddle a kitten or pat a pooch!

Registered Animal Health Technicians

Angela Edwards
Registered Animal Health Technician

ANGIE-05-1-200x260 Angie knew she wanted to be in this field of work at a very young age, and started working as a kennel assistant in 2005. From there, she moved to Coquitlam to complete her schooling as a Technician.

Once she graduated from Douglas college in 2009,  she stayed in the Coquitlam area and worked locally at a clinic for a couple years. However, Angela moved back to Nelson after realizing how much she loved and missed the area and her family.

Once Angela moved back, she met her boyfriend who she now lives with along with 3 dogs (Tyka, a Shepherd/Husky X, Luna, a Lab/Golden Retriever X, and Brewzer, a Border Collie X) 2 cats (Java the Tortishell, and Chaalie a Domestic Short Hair), and a Python named Alfred.  In her spare time she enjoys outdoor activities like camping, hiking and fishing.

Caroline Manton
Registered Animal Health Technician

IMG_0495-200x260Caroline is a registered Veterinary Technician who graduated in 2007 with honors from Ridgetown College-University of Guelph. She took a bit of a longer road to discovering that this is what she was meant to do, with trials of University in Calgary and backpacking Australia and New Zealand. Upon her return to Canada she continued working in a 24hr emergency veterinary clinic ICU while she got her degree as a Veterinary Technician.

Since graduating she has moved around, worked and traveled the world with her husband and pets, most recently returning from a year in Glasgow, Scotland. The whole family including the cat Beans and dog Wicket, made the trip and filled their time with travel.

Now finally settled in Nelson, Caroline is excited to share in all the outdoor opportunities it has to offer. She enjoys photography and skiing in her free time.

Heather Fielding

Registered Animal Health Technician

heather-200x260Heather grew up in Scotland and became a certified Veterinary Technician in 2005. In 2006 she came to Canada and started work in Grand Forks at a veterinary clinic where she gained experience in small animal emergency care. In 2010 Heather hit the road again to Okotoks, AB. While she was there she had practical training in laser therapy and also participated in the implementation of a new veterinary clinic. Heather has now settled down on a farm in Winlaw, BC with her husband, daughter, and multiple pets. She joined our team at Selkirk Veterinary Hospital in July 2015 as a Veterinary Technician, although, you’ll sometimes see her smiling face behind the Reception desk. In her free time, Heather is also a certified Scuba Diver, enthusiastic scrapbooker, and devoted volunteer at her daughter’s school.

Charlotte Wittmann

Animal Health Technician

Client Care Specialists

Jacy Soriat
Client Care/Social Media Manager

PicMonkey ImageJacy was born and raised in Salmo, B.C. In October of 2013 she moved to Kelowna and attended The Centre of Arts and Technology where she worked towards her Veterinary Hospital Assistant (VHA) certificate.

In June of 2014 she graduated from CATO and decided she wanted to return to the beautiful mountains of the Kootenays. She began work at Selkirk Veterinary Hospital in July of 2014. She is currently living in Salmo with her two cats, Claude and Izzie, although, you can also find her fostering an extra kitten from the Kootenay Animal Assistance Program. Some of her hobbies include wildlife rehabilitation, photography, journalism, sports, and volunteering in her community!

Iyla Morane
Client Care Specialist

20140929_110021-e1413421956518-200x260Iyla was born and raised on the Sunshine Coast in BC and came to the Kootenays in 2006 to escape the rain. Born an animal lover, she is always willing to help an animal in need. She lives with her young child, as well as a dog, two cats, and some smaller pets. All of her pets have special medical needs. She has a special interest in small exotic pets such as rabbits, guinea pigs, and hamsters. She also enjoys working with birds.

Nerissa Holt
Client Care Specialist

4381-200x260Nerissa along with her husband and two young children moved back to Nelson after living in the Lower Mainland for many years. Since being back they have bought their first house, adopted a troublesome cat named Chestnut, and two Indian Runner Ducks. Nerissa and her family enjoy spending time outdoors and being with family.

Patti Foster
Client Care Specialist

4181-200x260Patti joined our team in May of 2002 – if you’re not sure which one she is, she will be the one regaling our clients with a selection of her many jokes!

Between working at our hospital and her other job as a Court Reporter, she’s a pretty busy girl. Patti is now remarried, having raised her two wonderfulsons who have flown the coop and are successfully on their way. If she wasn’t busy enough, Patti has a gorgeous three-legged boy named Luka, and three sweet kitty-cats named Toby, Mya & Kiwi.

Patti’s hobbies include playing tuba in the Nelson Community Band, sunbathing, gardening, dancing, jogging, walking, baking and laughing. She feels that she is one lucky lady to be able to work with such wonderful people and to meet the extraordinary clientele that we have at the hospital!

Tasha Eagleston

Client Care Specialist

Veterinary Assistants

Annette Kinsella
Veterinary Assistant

annette_luther-200x260Annette and her husband have lived in the Slocan Valley since 2001. Her interests are multi-faceted, ranging from natural pursuits such as gardening, hiking to peaceful activities such as reading, writing, fine art, singing, learning the bass guitar, sewing and cooking up a storm. She currently shares her home with two dogs, the lovely Twilight and Helix, and their kitties, Star and Dipper. In her garden also reside several pond fishies. Voted most likely to assist with any rodent visits, Annette is our resident rodent whisperer.

Debra George
Veterinary Assistant

Debra grew up on a farm in Northern Alberta where she developed a strong work ethic. She joined our team in 2005 and we often say, “If you need something done, ask Deb.”

She now resides in the Kootenays with her husband. Deb enjoys spending time with her family which has grown with the addition of grandchildren. Deb has 1 Siamese cat named Luna. She also has a particular interest in chickens and has developed a small flock of her own.


Idalina Gross-Woodske

Veterinary Assistant

Jordan Tangen

Veterinary Assistant