Our La Crosse, WI Veterinarians

Dr. Robert R. Spencer, DVM

veterinarians in la crosse wiDr. Robert R. Spencer, a General Practitioner, founded Hillside Animal Hospital in 1974. He earned his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

In addition to his many years of practice, Dr. Spencer has been very active in the veterinary community locally and statewide. He is a member of the Coulee Region Veterinary Medical Association where he served a term as president and 18 years as its secretary and treasurer. He is also a member of the Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association (WVMA) where he served on the board of directors. He was selected as chairman of the Executive Committee in his final year on the board.

In 2001, Dr. Spencer received the WVMA’s Meritorious Service Award. A few years ago, he was appointed by Gov. James Doyle to two terms on the Wisconsin Department of Regulating and Licensing Veterinary Examining Board and he has been chairperson for the Veterinarian Examining Board for the past three years. He is also a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Animal Hospital Association.

Dr. Spencer has also been a very committed member of the La Crosse community. He has served for two terms on the Board of Directors of the Coulee Region Humane Society, one term on the Church Board of the First Congregational Church, and 18 years as a Cub Scout and Boy Scout leader.

He is married to Robyn, the love of his life since 1975. They have two sons, Adam and Peter.

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la crosse wi animal hospitalDr. Casey Konrad, DVM

Growing up on a family dairy farm in Clintonville, Dr. Casey Konrad was exposed to working with animals at a young age. He has fond memories of riding along with his mother to cut hay and then collecting and caring for any wild bunnies who were occasionally injured in the process. Dr. Konrad would nurse their injuries, keep them safe from predators, and then release them once their wounds healed. This constant interaction with animals fueled his desire to pursue a career where he could enhance their well-being.

A member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, Dr. Konrad graduated summa cum laude with his undergraduate degree in Biology from the University of Wisconsin in 2004. Before enrolling in veterinary school, he pursued pharmaceutical research at Covance Laboratories, worked for two years as a veterinary technician and another two years as a supervisor.

In 2008, he began his graduate studies at the University of Wisconsin's School of Veterinary Medicine. While there, he worked at the school's veterinary teaching hospital for two-and-a-half-years alongside world-renowned professors. He graduated summa cum laude with his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine in 2012.

For the next several years, Dr. Konrad gained valuable experience working as a mixed animal veterinarian.

"One of my emergency night calls in the winter brought me to an Amish resident to help with a calving," he recalls. "Walking into an unlit barn, with a handful of dairy cows comfortably laying in deep straw beds with frost lining the walls, no radio playing, and a young Amish gentleman standing with a kerosene lantern illuminating a cow in need of medical help brought me back to a simpler time."

Dr. Konrad joined our staff in January 2016 and is a member of the American and Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Associations. His professional interests include soft tissue surgery and internal medicine.

"Every day presents new and interesting challenges allowing me to utilize both mental and physical skills to solve problems," he says.

In his spare time Dr. Konrad enjoys a variety of outdoor activities, including hunting, fishing, volleyball, softball, gardening and skiing. He has one dog, a German Shorthaired Pointer named Kate.

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Dr. Nicole Azene, DVM

veterinarians in la crosse wiDr. Nicole Azene became the newest Associate Veterinarian to join the Hillside Animal Hospital team in July of 2018. She enjoys small animal surgery and helping owners get off to a great start with their new puppy or kitten. Dr. Azene also has a great appreciation for the human-animal bond and considers it an honor to provide guidance to pet owners in the delivery of quality care at all stages of life for their loved ones.

Dr. Azene graduated with a degree in Biology from Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana. She then returned home to her native Missouri where she obtained a Master of Science degree in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Missouri, Columbia. She has received numerous awards and recognition for her academic achievements. Dr. Azene was honored at the Graduate School Commencement Ceremony for her perfect 4.0 GPA and for her thesis research which resulted in four peer-reviewed scientific publications.

Dr. Azene went on to attend veterinary school at the University of Missouri and finished her degree in 2005. She began her professional career as a small animal private practitioner in Baltimore, Maryland, where she also served as a Contracted Veterinarian for Maryland SPCA.


After three years in private practice, Dr. Azene went on to obtain post-doctoral training in laboratory animal medicine at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. During those four years, she also completed a Master of Public Health degree at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and served as the Attending Veterinarian for University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute. Upon finishing her postdoctoral training (2012), Dr. Azene went on to work at the National Institutes of Health's Division of Veterinary Resources in Bethesda, Maryland as a Clinical Veterinarian. There she provided medical care and oversight for animals used in research at one of the nation's primate centers and also ran the Division's ICU.

In addition to her role as an Associate Veterinarian at Hillside, Dr. Azene functions as the Attending Veterinarian at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse and previously served as the Attending Veterinarian for Gundersen Health System.

At home, Dr. Azene enjoys spending time with her loving family. She and her husband Dr. Ezana Azene (Interventional Radiologist at Gundersen Health System) have 3 incredible children. Kaleb and Melayeh, their older children, enjoy playing basketball, biking, and swimming at the YMCA. They also study karate at Nicklaus Martial Arts America, and dance at Misty’s Dance Unlimited. Both perform as KidStuf dancers for their church, Bethany Evangelical Free Church. The Azenes also have a young son named Admas who enjoys banging on the piano and playing with friends at church and daycare. The family feels fortunate to have Nicole's mother, Veeda, living with them ever since they moved to La Crosse in 2013. The family also shares their home with a Dachshund (pictured) named Oliver who was adopted as a puppy from one of Dr. Azene's very first clients.

Dr. Azene is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association, and the Chicago Branch of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science.

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veterinarians in la crosse wiDr. Nicole Powers, DVM

The bond and relationships between humans and animals are two things that have always fascinated Dr. Nicole Powers. Helping to ensure people’s pets live the best and healthiest lives possible is one of the strongest motivations of Dr. Powers as a veterinarian. She utterly loves having the opportunity to work with people and their pets every day. Being a practicing veterinarian helps Dr. Powers stay active, challenged, and constantly learning and discovering.

Dr. Powers is a talented problem-solver who enjoys determining the best diagnosis related to veterinary medicine and care. No two families and no two pets are the same. Dr. Powers enjoys formulating individualized methods of care and recommendations specified to their unique needs.

She has fond memories growing up in between the fields, forest, and rivers outside of Van Meter, Iowa. Since childhood Dr. Powers was engaging with animals and wildlife like deer, birds, rabbits, foxes, snakes, and racoons. It was not uncommon for her to come across a carefully hidden fawn in the woods, or a nest of hatchlings in their family garden.


Dr. Powers would spend hours reading through books about animals and learning how to identify and interact with them. As she grew older, Dr. Powers spent her free time volunteering for various veterinary institutions. She also spent time shadowing veterinarians in her hometown and at the veterinary hospital where she later attended veterinary school.


Before receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Powers achieved pursued her undergraduate education in the field of Biology and a minor in Spanish at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. She received numerous awards and recognitions like the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Grant, the Beta Beta Beta Biology Honor Society award, and was an Iowa Conference All-Academic Track and Field and Cross Country athlete. She then went on to become a practicing veterinarian after graduating from Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2019, where she was happily welcomed to Hillside Animal Hospital.

Dr. Powers possessed a great understanding of veterinary medicine and care. She has completed her coursework in veterinary acupuncture at the Chi Institute and following her observation hours she will become a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist. Dr. Powers is also interested in laser therapy and equine therapeutic taping. She is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association.

At home Dr. Powers loves to go running, kayaking, and staying active outdoors. She is also happy to stay inside and find some good reading material or practicing drawing. Dr. Powers loves looking after her deeply adored pets, two cats named Piper and Lexi, who are two sisters Dr. Powers adopted as stray kittens from her hometown veterinary clinic.

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veterinarians in la crosse wiDr. Keith Schornack, DVM

Keith Schornack has been a General Practitioner here at Hillside Animal Clinic since June 2019. After graduating from South Dakota State University in 2014 with a degree in Organismal Biology, Dr. Schornack became a phlebotomist for bio-life plasma services where he worked for a year. He then graduated from Iowa State College of Veterinary Medicine in 2019. He is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, American Association of Feline Practitioners, and the Humane Society of Veterinary Medical Association.

When asked why he became interested in Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Schornack says he loved working on his uncle’s dairy farm as a child, surrounded by cows and chickens. While in high school, he shadowed at a local veterinary clinic and fell in love with veterinary care.

Before becoming a veterinarian, Dr. Schornack worked as a Kennel Technician, Veterinary Assistant, Histopath Technician, Necropsy Technician, and as an employee in a Small Animal ICU. He completed his veterinary training as a Veterinary Student Doctor at Banfield in Citrus Heights, California. We are honored to have Dr. Schornack’s passion for surgery, dentistry, and pathology here at Hillside Animal Clinic. We are so happy to have him as part of the team!

During his free time, Dr. Schornack likes to spend time with his dogs Liz (10-year-old spayed female Miniature poodle) and Springer (Spaniel mix). He also enjoys hiking, fishing, pheasant hunting, basketball, volleyball, reading, trivia, listening to music, and watching movies.

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Dr. Alley O’ConnorDr. Alley O’Connor, DVM

Dr. Alley O’Connor is one of our phenomenal General Practitioners who joined our veterinary team here at Hillside Animal Hospital in August of 2019. Dr. O’Connor is a native of Lincoln, Nebraska who grew up with a fascination and passion for veterinary care. She remembers taking her gerbil, Sammy, to an exotics veterinarian in her area and being captivated by his dedication. This attending veterinarian took Dr. O’Connor under his wing and helped cultivate her love for veterinary care and medicine.

Dr. O’Connor worked at a small animal practice in Lincoln, Nebraska throughout middle school and high school, and attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for her undergraduate education. At the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, she obtained her Bachelors of Science in Animal Science. Dr. O’Connor then attended the University of Nebraska/Iowa State 2+2 Professional Program of Veterinary Medicine and graduated with her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in May of 2018 where she was recognized with numerous awards and merits.

After veterinary school, Dr. O’Connor worked as a compassionate general practitioner at a small animal practice in Richmond, Kentucky. There, she was able to provide veterinary care for the exotics at the local Petsmart, worked closely with the Kentucky Police Dogs, spoke to the Pre-Veterinary students at Eastern Kentucky University in addition to working a busy small animal practice schedule. Ultimately, Dr. O’Connor desired to live closer to family by moving back to the Midwest, and we are so excited to have her be a part of our team!

Dr. O’Connor is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association. Her professional interests include dermatology, internal medicine, and exotic animal treatments and medicines. Dr. O’Connor provides each client with love and attention, enabling a supportive environment to work with the animals she treats. The aspect that Dr. O’Connor loves most about being a veterinarian is being a part of the animal-human bond between our clients and their pets. She also enjoys learning from our clients and discovering what makes their pets special in their lives, and what their goals are regarding their furry family members.

In her down time, Dr. O’Connor loves being involved in team sports, group fitness, and being outdoors. Some of her outdoor hobbies include hiking, fishing, and bike riding. Dr. O’Connor also loves trying new places to eat and checking out new breweries in the area. She shares her home with an adopted cat named Jade. Jade has been a part of Dr. O’Connor’s life since veterinary school and is a feline who makes Dr. O’Connor proud to be a cat mom.

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Remembering Our Beloved, Dr. Janet Veit

We hope people who love Janet will find comfort in reading her bio to remember and celebrate her life!

Dr. Janet Veit, DVM

la crosse wi veterinarianDr. Janet Veit joined Hillside Animal Hospital in 1996 after graduating from the University of Minnesota’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Originally from rural North Dakota, she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of North Dakota.

Dr. Veit shared her home with her husband Brian, as well as their four-legged children: Deacon and Angus are Pointers, Dora is a Vizsla, and also Nigel and Cassia the Abyssinian cats. Their pets occupied much of their free time, as they are involved in dog showing in AKC conformation and hunt tests. Cassia, their newest pet, may also introduce them to the world of cat showing.

Dr. Veit was also involved with many dog clubs, locally with the Coulee Kennel Club, regionally with several Vizsla and Pointer clubs, and nationally with the American Pointer Club and the Vizsla Club of America.

Professionally she was a member of the Coulee Region Veterinary Medical Association, American Veterinary Medical Association, Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association, Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association and American Animal Hospital Association. She taught Pet First Aid classes for various organizations such as the American Red Cross and 4-H clubs, and was also trained in Dog Bite Prevention education.

In her last couple of years, one of Dr. Veit's growing passions involved trout fishing. She was an excellent fisher and took great interest in being outdoors on so many wonderful adventures with her husband, Brian. Remember Dr. Veit's incredible contributions to Hillside Animal Hospital and the world around her with us, as her memory and legacy will never be forgotten.

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