Meet Our Staff
Dr. Judy Karnia, DVM
I was born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, the youngest of eleven children born to a Polish father and German mother. After my twelve years of Catholic education, I attended Northwestern University where I majored in Classics and was captain of the guard for the Northwestern University Marching Band.
I’ve been a practicing veterinarian since 1994 when I graduated with honors from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. As a student at Illinois, I worked extensively with wildlife, holding an assistantship in the college’s Wildlife Ward where I helped rehabilitate injured and ill wildlife such as hawks, kestrels, turtles and raccoons. I also completed an externship at the Cincinnati Zoo, and after graduation, continued to do some veterinary work for the Center for the Reproduction of Endangered Wildlife housed at the Cincinnati Zoo
After graduation, I went into private practice, working at veterinary hospitals in Cincinnati, Oak Park, Illinois and Omaha. For much of this time, I was working as an associate in exclusively feline practices. But in between private practice stints, I also worked as a veterinarian for the Anti-Cruelty Society in Chicago and the Nebraska Humane Society in Omaha.
After bouncing around the Midwest as my husband completed his Ph.D. and worked a few peripatetic jobs, we moved to Scottsdale. We had fallen in love with Arizona on a trip out to Sedona. When the Nebraska winters decimated our roof for the second year in a row, we decided to pursue our infatuation with Arizona. Now, when I’m not working at the clinic, I can be found hiking throughout this beautiful state. I also enjoy running. I’ve completed three marathons, but believe those long distances are a thing of the past. Now it’s mostly 10k’s and smaller races. I read a fair amount of contemporary literature in order to understand what my husband does, and enjoy jazz and other live music. Thursday nights I frequently can be found wandering the Scottsdale Galleries at the ArtWalk.
I’m married to Scott Hermanson, a writer and sometime teacher of English. We have a young daughter, whom you will probably meet at the clinic, and a ball python, whom you may just as well not meet.
My professional life prior to opening the Scottsdale Cat Clinic has given me a wide range of experience in addition to my expertise in feline medicine. I’ve been especially involved in diagnosing and treating geriatric cats. As a practice owner, I’m very committed to keeping myself and my staff updated and educated about the most current state of veterinary medicine. We all look forward to working with you and caring for your cat.
Dr. Dorothy Nelson, DVM
Dr. Dorothy Nelson was born and raised in Orlando, FL and majored in marine biology at Rollins College in Winter Park, FL. She recently graduated from the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine (GO GATORS!) and moved to Phoenix in June, 2016 after growing tired of Florida’s humidity and hurricanes.
Dr. Nelson has always had a strong interest in feline medicine and worked for several years at a feline only practice prior to veterinary school. She was vice president of the feline club in veterinary school and did extra course work in the areas of shelter medicine and aquatic animal health. Dr. Nelson also completed an externship at Loggerhead Marine Life Center in Florida working with sea turtles and hopes to someday return to aquatic animal medicine.
When not working at the clinic Dr. Nelson can be found day dreaming about the beach, kayaking (if she can find water), hiking, traveling, or relaxing at home with her 2 cats, dog, and tortoise. She has a soft spot for geriatric cats, and after she lost Rosie, the kitty love of her life, in August to renal failure, she ended up adopting two more geriatric cats from animal control. Dr. Nelson is very passionate about managing chronic kidney disease in older cats and was able to enjoy 5 amazing years with Rosie after her diagnosis. Her hope is to be able help many other cats with kidney disease do the same.
Dr. Kelley DeGroff, DVM
I was born in Torrance, California and spent my childhood years in Scottsdale, Arizona, Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands, and Socorro, New Mexico. I spent my undergraduate years at a small hometown college called New Mexico Tech and earned a bachelors in Biology in 1993. I was honored to receive the Brown Award for outstanding performance in science. I earned money for college by working in a microbiology laboratory studying microbes in soil samples from the surrounding areas.
I attended Colorado State University in Fort Collins where I developed new fun skills such as skiing and backpacking in some of the most beautiful spots in the country. Vet school was a blur of activity which included an externship in Mesa as well as at Harrison Memorial, a low-cost veterinary facility in Denver. My part-time job involved laboratory equipment maintenance for Dr. Ed Hoover, a leader in feline viral research. His lab developed the first successful feline leukemia vaccine. I belonged to the student chapter of AAFP (American Association of Feline Practitioners) and obtained my DVM in 1997.
After graduation, I traveled to Las Vegas, Nevada, where I practiced general small animal medicine and surgery for 20 years. During my Vegas years I had the good fortune of meeting many wonderful people and their animals, as well as further developing my skills in laser surgery and dentistry. My world changed forever with the addition of Joshua, my son, in 2007.
My husband, Michael, and I decided to move back to Scottsdale in search of better schooling for Joshua and to be closer to my family. We are grateful to be back in the Valley of the Sun. We share our lives with two cats. Mac is Mike's cat and you can look but don't touch. Pita is Josh's nighttime cuddle kitty. We are also owned by a paralyzed shih tzu named Brandi. She has a wheelchair, but would rather not be bound to wheels. She prefers sleeping quietly by my side.
In off time I enjoy volunteering to spay and neuter feral cats, hiking, yoga and scuba diving. I am thrilled to be joining the wonderful team at Scottsdale Cat Clinic. I look forward to meeting you and your furry felines so that we may work together to make their lives healthier.
Dr. Melissa Brandley, DVM
Dr. Melissa Brandley attended Purdue University for her undergraduate and veterinary studies. She was granted early admission to Purdue’s School of Veterinary Medicine. While at Purdue, she was awarded the AAHA Student Achievement Award for superior clinical proficiency in small animal medicine and surgery and an award for excellence in academic performance, research or service in comparative ophthalmology.
Dr. Brandley practiced for nearly ten years in Atlanta, GA prior to moving to Arizona. While in Atlanta, she formed deep, lasting bonds with many clients and patients. Forming these long-term relationships and advocating for the well-being of our beloved companions are her favorite parts of practicing veterinary medicine. Other professional interests include preventative care, client communications, ophthalmology, and internal medicine.
Outside of the office, she enjoys backpacking, cycling, paddle boarding, and finding the best locally-owned restaurants in the community. She has competed in several races ranging from 5K’s to half marathons, and triathlons. Her favorite four-legged companion, Annie, is often by her side for many of her adventures.
Katrina Guell, CVT
Katrina joined the clinic in July of 2008. She graduated from ASU with a Bachelors degree in Agribusiness with a concentration in PreVeterinary Medicine. She moved from Hawaii to the valley in 1988 and is currently living in Mesa with her husband Daniel and her son Ash. Her animals, Tank the dog, and Fred the parrot, keep her plenty busy when she is not working at the clinic or volunteering her time at Liberty Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. In 2011 she received her certification as a Veterinary Technician.
Laura joined the Scottsdale Cat Clinic team in December of 2015. She has worked almost exclusively in feline-only clinics since 2006. Though she loves all animals, this experience has strengthened her lifelong passion for cats. An Arizona native, she currently lives in Mesa with her longtime boyfriend Rob and their kitty named Biscuits.
Sirena was born in Tennessee and grew up in Ahwatukee. She graduated from Arizona State University in December of 2014 with a bachelor's degree in Biology, focusing on animal physiology and behavior. She discovered Scottsdale Cat Clinic when her family needed a cats-only clinic for one of their kitties. It turned out to be the perfect fit. In her free time she enjoys video games, reading, and spending time with all three of her kitties: Stripe, Pixie, and Marshmellow.
Anna was born and raised in Arizona, a true native of the state. She graduated from Long Technical College in 2000 and has been working with all types of animals since then. She joined Scottsdale Cat Clinic in 2017 and is excited to focus on her favorite animal, the furry feline.
Away from the clinic she likes to spend time with her family and friends. She enjoys going to see movies and walking through the Desert Botanical Gardens. With her two chihuahuas, Chaquita and Yodi next to her, she likes to binge watch shows on Netflix.
Kara graduated from Mesa Community College and is now working on her getting her CVT certification. An Arizona native, she has been a cat lover her entire life and is excited to have found Scottsdale Cat Clinic where she can devote her love and skills to cats. She enjoys going to the movies, traveling, playing video games and attending the many festivals Arizona has to offer. She shares her home with four cats, a saltwater aquarium, a red tail boa and a frog. During cooler months, she enjoys taking shelter dogs on hikes.
Courtney is a military brat born in San Antonio, Texas, but has lived all over the United States. Arizona has been her home for the last 13 years. She graduated from Carrington College and received her Veterinary Assisting Certificate in 2014. Since then, she has worked as a Veterinary Technician in different hospitals in Arizona and California. She loves specialty medicine and is excited to continue her veterinary medicine career in a feline only practice. In her spare time you can find her playing video games, spending time with her two dogs, Ammy and Mr. Pibb, or eating burritos.
Tara has lived in Scottsdale since 1978. Finding a cat-only clinic that embraced her two special cats was the solution she was looking for when she discovered Scottsdale Cat Clinic. Both of her kitties are happy and healthy as well as current patients of the clinic. Tara's family includes Rob, her human companion, the cats, Jack, a grey tabby, Char-Char, a handsome black short-hair mix and her dog, Gracie, a black and tan Australian mix, who keeps the family on their toes.
Diana Green has been a cat lover her entire life. She has not lived without a furry feline friend since she was five years old. She found Scottsdale Cat Clinic several years ago when she was looking for help with one of her kitties and has been a client ever since. She has lived in Scottsdale since 1978, and her hobbies include cooking, photography, and jewelry making. She lives with her husband, Justin and her two kitties Lilith and Bubba.
Margie was born and raised in Phoenix, graduating from Arizona State University in 2013 with a bachelor's degree in biology. She moved back to Phoenix in 2018 after studying animal ecology for two years in Sweden. Margie found Scottsdale Cat Clinic to be the perfect place to bridge her two interests of working with people and animals. Apart from the clinic, she enjoys swimming, hiking, and spending time with her cats, Ruby and Opal, two absolute gems.
As the loving spouse of Dr. Karnia, Scott manages all the elements of the clinic that have nothing to do with medicine. He can be found in the back rooms fretting over the accounting books, writing copy for the website, and cleaning the occasional litter box. Before finding himself even further entwined with his wife/boss, Scott was a professor of English at Arizona Sate University, Dana College and the University of Illinois at Chicago. He plays soccer, reads a tremendous amount of contemporary literature, and tries to play the guitar.
Kristina, a cat
Kristina joined the clinic in 2011. In addition to her duties as official liaison to the feline kingdom, Kristina also assists in testing medical equipment, x-ray machines and lab equipment. She appreciates chin rubs and ear scratches but prefers not to be picked up.