Meet Our Veterinarians and Staff of Merritt Island
Our veterinarians in Merritt Island is a group of talented individuals who are passionate about pet health. We love our jobs, and you can tell! Not only do we offer the best veterinary care we can provide, but we pride ourselves on excellent customer service as well. So stop in and meet us anytime, we are always happy to see new faces!
Dr. Matthew Coris - DVM
As a teenager, Dr. Coris became involved in hand raising and training parrots, raising unique rabbit breeds, and managing intricate aquariums. His interest in aquatic and exotic pets developed into a relationship with a local pet store owner that kindled his future career. Starting as a sales associate, Dr. Coris’s interests quickly shifted to the proper care and husbandry for the animals that the pet store provided. Eventually, is passion for animal care blossomed into a veterinary medicine career.
Dr. Matthew Coris
Dr. Chelsea Jurczenko - DVM
Dr. Chelsea was born in Greenville, Pennsylvania. She developed a love for animals early on, growing up with a menagerie of pets and deciding on a career in veterinary medicine at age five. She realized this decision was the right one as she continued to develop an interest in science and medicine. Dr. Chelsea graduated from Westminster College in Pennsylvania with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and went on to attend Purdue University, where she received her DVM in 2011.
While attending veterinary school, she completed an externship in Port St. John, FL and fell in love with the area, being an outdoor and water enthusiast. Dr. Chelsea practiced in Deltona, FL after graduation and feels fortunate to have joined the Island Animal Hospital team in 2013. Her interests are small animal internal medicine, surgery, and particularly, dentistry. When not caring for pets, she enjoys spending time with her sweetheart, Reid, doing outdoor activities such as paddle-boarding, hiking, canoeing, and running. They are the proud “parents” of their Greyhound, Justice, Miniature Dachshund, Scooby, Cuban Anole, Amelia, and Chinchillas, Fiona and Dagny.
Dr. Chelsea Jurczenko
Dr. James Burnett - DVM
Growing up in England and influenced by the James Herriot stories, Dr. Burnett always knew that he wanted to be a vet. After spending much time working on farms and with other veterinarians who continued to inspire him even further, Dr. Burnett found himself traveling to Grenada, West Indies, for his veterinary studies. He graduated from St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine in 2007 and has practiced both mixed animal and small animal medicine in England, Grenada, and the United States.
After living abroad for several years, Dr. Burnett, along with his wife, daughter, three dogs and cat are excited to call Florida their home! What Dr. Burnett loves most about small animal practice is educating clients on wellness care for their pets, performing a variety of surgical procedures, and working in a team oriented environment.
Dr. James Burnett
Dr. Austin Bell - DVM
Dr. Bell graduated with his DVM from Oregon Stae University in 2010. With a lifelong interest in animals and medicine, a veterinary career was always in the cards. Dr. Bell loves to help owners keep their pets healthy through client education.
When he is not at work, Dr. Bell enjoys paddle boarding, swimming, and spending time with his family, which includes his wife Jaclyn, children Charlotte and Calvin, and their Golden Retriever, Leia.
Dr. Austin Bell
Dr. Chelsea Brady - DVM
Dr. Brady earned her DVM from Auburn University in 2018. After she finished her undergraduate degree, a Bachelor’s in Psychology from Rollins College in 2011, she was inspired to pursue veterinary medicine when a family friend pointed out that her true passion was animals. Now at our Merritt Island location, Dr. Brady enjoys many aspects of her job including the people she works with, the variety of things she gets to do every day, and the fact that she gets to be around animals!
Outside of work, one of her greatest achievement was finishing her one and only marathon! She still enjoys running as well as soccer and boating, too. Dr. Brady loves to spend time with her family, especially her fur child, Kendi, a spectacular Golden Retriever.
Dr. Chelsea Brady
Dr. Jeffrey Christiansen - DVM, DAVCS
Dr. Christiansen grew up on a horse farm with lots of pets. He knew he wanted to be a veterinarian since the first grade, and while in school, he chose to focus on surgery in order to make a big impact in pet’s lives. He started his study of animal medicine as an undergraduate at Pennsylvania State University where he graduated with a BS in Animal Bioscience in 1992. He then went on to pursue a DVM from the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine, which he received in 1996. Dr. Christiansen completed two internship programs in which surgery was a focus, including one at NYC’s Animal Medical Center and Houston’s Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists. He then went on to complete a surgical residency at the Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in 2001. Since then he also received a certificate in tibial tuberosity advancement, as well as a certificate in stem cell therapy.
He is experienced in a variety of surgeries. He can do just about any soft tissue surgery including stomach, liver, bladder, mass removal, and reconstructive surgery. Dr. Christiansen is also an orthopedic surgeon who can perform fracture repairs, joint surgeries, and address congenital deformities, too. He is even able to do the more complex surgeries including spinal surgeries, especially disc disease in the back or neck.
Dr. Christiansen is married to his wife, Wendy, who is also a veterinarian. They have two children, Henry and Kate who are both active in music, which is also a passion of Dr. Christiansen’s. When not working, he enjoys spending time with his family and exercising. He has several pets including two dogs, Consuela and Charlie, two tree frogs, Perry and Sally, as well as three cats, Lamont, Sheniqua, and Yolanda.
Dr. Jeffrey Christiansen
Our Support Staff
Susan Stitzel - Certified Veterinary Practice Manager
With over 30 years in veterinary care, Susan is an Island Animal Hospital staff member who has quite the story to tell! After attending Auburn University, Susan moved to Melbourne and became co-owner of Melbourne Animal Hospital in 1988. She then went on to manage Aloha Pet and Bird hospital, before eventually taking on a role as an AAHA (American Animal Hospital Association) Practice Consultant.
After over five years of extensive traveling in her role as an AAHA Practice Consultant, Susan decided it was time to find a place to call home, and she did so with Island Animal Hospital! Here Susan works as the Island Animal Hospital HR director, as well as an AAHA coordinator for all of our Island Animal Hospital locations.
It is clear that with Susan’s work experience, she is an animal lover! Susan owns multiple pets, including a 10-year-old cat named “Louie,” a 3-year-old cat named “Brigitta,” and she is currently the custodian of a 15-month old Lab puppy named Sanders II, who is in training for Canine Companions for Independence.
Certified Veterinary Practice Manager
Mike Hongach - Kennel Manager
Mike Hongach is a Kennel Manager at Island Animal Hospital who truly enjoys what he does! Getting to spend time with the animals at Island Animal Hospital is what Mike enjoys most about his job, and we are happy to have him on the team!
In his free time, Mike enjoys coaching baseball as well as umpiring. He owns five pets, and enjoys working on cars.
Cassie Joyner - Lead Technician, Inventory Manager
What does Cassie love about working at Island Animal Hospital? It’s knowing that we can help animals that are in need. She loves seeing the smiles on clients' faces after helping them with their babies!
During Cassie’s free time, she enjoys spending time with her two kids, friends, and of course, dancing. She also has an animal rescue and so spends a lot of time caring for all those animals, too!
Bio Coming Soon!
Clay Magnuson - Veterinary Technician
Veterinary technician Clay Magnuson is no stranger to the Island Animal Hospital experience! Growing up in Cocoa Beach, Clay’s family often brought their family pets to the Island Animal Hospital – Cocoa Beach location. Now, after following his dream of working with animals, Clay is an Island Animal Hospital team member! Clay is the proud owner of three dogs, three cats, two ferrets, and a snake! He is a true animal lover with a passion for veterinary care.
Marie McCreary - Veterinary Technician
Marie is an Island Animal Hospital veterinary technician who loves getting to work with animals day in and day out! When not working, Marie spends her time taking care of five dogs and two cats. Marie’s favorite part of working at Island Animal Hospital is getting to love, care for, and learn from the animals!
When not at work, Marie enjoys spending time with her daughters and grandchildren. The beach, flea markets, antiquing, and of course some peace and quiet are what Marie enjoys the most!
Devin Ingelido - Veterinary Technician
Born in Rockledge, Florida, Devin enjoys creating and playing music! He is the proud owner of two dogs, a Muggin named Xero and a Pomeranian named Gizmo. At Island Animal Hospital, Devin works hand in hand with our veterinarians as a veterinary technician. Devin’s favorite part of working at Island Animal Hospital is the staff he gets to work with each day!
Kayla Hill - Veterinary Technician
Kayla is a veterinary technician here at Island Animal Hospital, and she wouldn’t trade it for the world! From working with visiting veterinary surgeons, to cleaning teeth and caring for our hospitalized patients, Kayla plays an important role here at our animal hospital.
She also enjoys taking photos of wildlife, being outdoors, and visiting Disney!
Kathy Hopkins - Veterinary Technician
Kathy is a veterinary technician here at Island Animal Hospital. Her favorite part of working at Island Animal Hospital is getting to learn about how illnesses are treated and wounds are cared for.
When not at work, she enjoys relaxing by the beach or the pool. Kathy currently owns three pets, including two cats and a Weimaraner/Lab mix named Louie!
Isis Cabrera - Veterinary Technician
Originally from Puerto Rico, Isis Cabrera moved to Brevard County after relocating because of Hurricane Maria. As a veterinary technician, Isis loves everything about her profession, including taking care of patients and learning something new each and every day.
Isis owns three dogs and four cats! All of who she says are “her life”. When not at work, Isis enjoys going to the beach, watching movies and television shows, and spending time with her friends and family.
Jason Smeragulioulo - Kennel and Veterinary Technician
When Jason first moved to Brevard County at ten years old, Island Animal Hospital was the first veterinary clinic his family brought their family pet to! Now, Jason works as both a kennel technician and veterinary technician at Island Animal Hospital. What Jason loves most about working here is learning the different personalities of each and every animal, as well as their owners! On top of getting to know different pets and owners, Jason enjoys learning new information on the job which he can use in the classroom while he attends school.
Jason is the proud owner of two dogs, a 10-year-old Border Collie/Lab named Nahla and an 8-year-old Great Dane/Lab named Willow! He also is the owner of a Bearded Dragon named Toothless. In his free time away from work and school, Jason enjoys spending time with his family and going to Disney with his partner.
Kennel and Veterinary Technician
Bio Coming Soon!
Katarina Roberts - Veterinary Technician
Bio Coming Soon.
Diane Rood - Lead Customer Service Representative
Diane's favorite thing about Island Animal Hospital is that it feels like one big happy family. She also loves the dedication that everyone gives.
Lead Customer Service Representative
Debbie Shaw - Customer Service Representative
Debbie's favorite part of her job at Island Animal Hospital is the people and the ability to solve problems. She also loves the feeling of the practice staff being a big family.
Customer Service Representative
Samantha Scurato - Customer Service Representative
Born and raised in New Jersey, Samantha Scurato, alongside her husband, decided to make the move to Brevard County just before the 2018 New Year. Although Samantha is relatively new to the area, she is familiar with Island Animal Hospital. Samantha’s mother has been bringing her pets to our facilities since 2013.
Before moving to Brevard County, Samantha often brought her own dog Diesel to Island Animal Hospital while making visits to Florida to see her mother! It’s this familiarity with our hospital that drove Samantha to apply immediately after moving into the area. Samantha now works as a Front Desk Receptionist at Island Animal Hospital, and enjoys being a part of a group that works together to ensure the health and happiness of all animals.
Samantha is the proud pet-parent of a Staffordshire Bull Terrier named Diesel, which can be seen in her photo. When not working, Samantha enjoys spending her time gardening and doing yoga. She also loves spending as much possible on the beach near, or in, the water!
Customer Service Representative
Chasity Buckner - Customer Service Representative
Chasity has a lot of different experience as she has had numerous training in surgery and grooming. As a receptionist with us, her favorite part of her job is seeing pets healthy and happy! She also really enjoys grooming animals when she has the chance.
At home, Chasity lives with her husband Eric and 2 sons, Zevin and Zalen. She also has a number of pets including Appa, a Blue Heller; Zuma, a chocolate Lab; and Hollow and Droppet, two Domestic Short-Hair cats.
Customer Service Representative