Vet Staff

Fiona Hollinshead | BVSc (Hons), PhD, MANZCVS, Diplomate ACT

Registered Specialist in Small Animal Reproduction

Fiona graduated from the University of Sydney in 1996 with a Bachelor of Veterinary Science (Honours). After 2 years in small animal referral practice in Sydney she undertook a PhD. Fiona’s PhD thesis was entitled, “Production of offspring of a pre-determined sex using in vitro and in vivo fertilisation”. During her PhD Fiona was involved in the development of sexing and freezing of sperm from a number of different species including sheep, cattle, horses and some exotic zoo animals. She has extensive experience in the freezing and chilled preparation of ejaculated and epididymal semen from rams, bulls, stallions, boars and dogs.

At the completion of her PhD in 2003, Fiona worked as an anaesthetic registrar and tutor at the University of Sydney’s Teaching Hospital for 6 months prior to starting a clinical residency in large and small animal Theriogenology at Cornell University, New York, USA. Fiona became a Diplomate of the American College of Theriogenologists at the end of her residency program in 2006 and is now a Registered Specialist in Small Animal Veterinary Reproduction in Australasia.

In 2013 Fiona spent four months on a clinical sabbatical at the Veterinary School at Louisiana State University (LSU), USA. Fiona was a co-supervisor to one of their senior residents, Dr Reto Fritsche, who completed his Masters in Veterinary Science in 2015. His research topic involved the effects of different chilling and freezing protocols on canine semen.  Fiona was recently awarded an Adjunct Assistant Professor position at both LSU and North Carolina State University (NCSU). Fiona and Dr Dave Hanlon have a close relationship with both of these Veterinary Schools and have developed reciprocal Residency training programs for veterinarians seeking to become specialists in the field of reproduction. Fiona is also a co-supervisor of a PhD student working with wild horses in Australia. MVS and Glenbred have many students, interns, residents and Professors from all over the world visiting and working with us. Fiona has given lectures in small animal reproduction to veterinary students at Sydney University and provides lectures in reproduction to vet nurses training at both Wintec in Hamilton and Tauranga for the past 9 years.

Fiona has published a number of peer-reviewed scientific papers, written a number of book chapters on pyometra and TCI (see publications site) and has presented her research and clinical papers both in New Zealand and internationally. Fiona was runner-up in the Junior Scientist Competition at the International Embryo Transfer conference in 2003 for her work on sexing frozen thawed spermatozoa, re-freezing, in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and embryo transfer (ET). This work was later patented by XY Inc.

During Fiona’s time as a resident at Cornell University she had the opportunity to work on a canine artificial reproductive technology project funded by the Morris Animal Foundation at the Baker Institute for Animal Health, New York. During this time she developed embryo recovery, freezing and transfer protocols in the bitch. Fiona was also awarded a “Resident’s Research Grant” by the company Nestle Purina. This grant funded her research project entitled “Determination of calcium and parathyroid hormone levels during parturition in the bitch”. This project involved working closely with The Guide Dog Society; “Guiding Eyes”, based in NY, USA. This work was presented at the International Symposium of Canine and Feline Reproduction (ISCFR) in 2008 in Vienna and published in 2009 in the reproduction journal, “Theriogenology” (which can be found on our website under “Publications”).

In 2015 Fiona was awarded a grant from the Companion Animal Health Foundation, New Zealand to investigate anti-müllerian hormone (AMH) concentrations in bitches. This work was presented at the ISCFR in France this year (2016) and published in Reproduction of Domestic Animals.

Fiona has been the reproductive consultant for the NZ Guide Dogs, NZ Police Dogs, MPI Detector Dogs and the NSW Police Dogs, Australia since 2007. It is a great privilege to work with working dog breeding programs. Fiona has collected breeding data from these organisations as well as all the clients that have bought their bitches to Glenbred for breeding. This data was analysed using a novel statistical model and was presented at ISCFR in Whistler, Canada and at Science Week, Australia in 2014 where it was very well received. Over 1200 inseminations have been analysed. This number of inseminations and type of breeding data has never been reported before. This work will be published in Theriogenology later this year (2016).

Fiona along with Dr Dave Hanlon and the GlenBred team have also been very fortunate to be involved with breeding programs of a number of endangered and exotic species at both Hamilton and Auckland Zoo. Some of the species and breeding programs that they have been involved with at Hamilton Zoo include; Thai fishing cats, a couple of Siamongs, a group of male Blackbucks, some African wild dogs and recently the team carried out artificial insemination of some female waterbucks with frozen semen from The Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo Australia. We have been able to offer our specialist reproductive knowledge and technologies to help preserve these endangered and very valuable genetics.

On a personal note, Fiona is married with three children and lives on a small lifestyle block with a menagerie of acquired animals.


Mary Ontiveros | DVM

Dr Mary Ontiveros joins us from the USA as Reproductive Resident.

Mary graduated from Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine in May 2016 and subsequently started a Small Animal Internship focusing on canine reproduction.

Before, graduation Mary worked as a Veterinary Nurse Technician in a Small Animal Reproduction referral clinic in Colorado for 6 years. Mary developed close relationships with breeders and their animals and understands their concerns and requirements. She loves working in small animal reproduction.

Aside from Veterinary Medicine, Mary loves most sports, but particularly soccer (she played in College and it’s how she met her husband, Kiko). Together Mary and Kiko love volunteering, hiking and traveling the world.