Meet Our Veterinarians and Support Staff

Our Algonquin hospital has an experienced and passionate group of veterinarians and supporting team members who are excited to take the next step with you in your pet's health journey. Take a moment to learn more about them in their bios below.

Our Veterinarians


Dr. Sharon Payne

Dr. Sharon is a partner at Animal Care Clinics and a graduate of the University of Illinois. She worked at Care Animal Hospital in Arlington Heights before joining the Animal Care Clinic staff in 1997. Her special interest is in feline medicine as well as environmental and behavioral enrichment for cats. She believes in making each visit as low-stress and pleasant as possible for all of her patients. 

Dr. Sharon and her husband Scott share their home with five cats: Maximus, Sheldon, and three Cornish Rex cats named Leonard, Bernadette and Penny. 

Fun facts about Dr. Sharon:

Favorite pizza topping? All veggies!

Hidden Talent: I can Hula Hoop for hours.

First car: Chevy S10 pickup truck


Dr. Nicole Conway

Dr. Nicole is from Lake in the Hills, and she has been bringing her pets to the Animal Care Clinic for years. She received her Bachelor's degree in Animal Sciences from the University of Illinois before going to the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine. 

Dr. Nicole joined the Animal Care Clinic in June 2017 and has a special interest in preventative medicine and cardiology. She enjoys running, baking, and spending time with her family as well as her dog, Ember. 

Fun facts about Dr. Nicole:

If you could be an animal, what would you be? A cat owned by Dr. Sharon!

What was your first job? Laboratory technician.

Do you prefer books or movies? Movies.


Dr. Danielle Pollack


Dr. Danielle attended the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana where she majored in Biology and minored in Chemistry and graduated in 2011. She then went to veterinary school at the University of Missouri in Columbia , MO where she graduated with her doctorate in 2015. Throughout college and veterinary school, Dr. Danielle spent her breaks working at local animal hospitals as a veterinary technician. After graduating from veterinary school, she worked for two years as a private practice canine and feline veterinarian in Mount Prospect. In July 2017, she joined Animal Care Clinic. 

Dr. Danielle currently works at the Hoffman Estates location (Barrington Square Animal Hospital) and the Algonquin location (Animal Care Clinic of Fox Valley). She has two GREAT dogs: Brandy-Lynn and Hank, both pit bull mixes. She currently lives at home in Elk Grove Village with her mom and has a younger brother who recently moved out. 

Fun facts about Dr. Danielle:

If you could have any superpower what would it be? To fly.

If you could be one animal, what would you be? A bird, so I could fly. 

What was your first job? I worked at Jewel-Osco as a bagger/cart pusher/cashier.


Dr. Dan Markwalder

Dr. Dan is a graduate of Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine and has been a practicing veterinarian for 26 years. He established Animal Care Clinic in Algonquin in March 1994 to provide an environment of high-quality care for his patients. Dr. Dan has a passion to partner with clients in providing the best care for their pets. He attends over 80 hours of continuing education each year; skydived on his 50th birthday, is a die-hard Cubs fan, grew up in Indiana and has an extensive baseball card collection. 

Dr. Dan married his college sweetheart. They have four sons and a daughter, along with a Mini Goldendoodle named Maggie, a parakeet and one bearded dragon. 

Fun facts about Dr. Dan:

If you could go anywhere, where would you go? To see the pyramids of Egypt.

Are you a morning person or a night person? I am definitely a morning person!

If you could have one superpower, what would you choose? To be able to teleport. 


Dr. Paul Bierlein

Dr. Paul is a graduate of Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine. After graduation, he moved to Illinois and practiced in Arlington Heights with Dr. Sharon at Care Animal Hospital, then practiced in Fox Lake at Fox Lake Animal Hospital. Dr. Paul joined the Animal Care Clinic staff in August 2005. His special interests include soft tissue surgery and orthopedic surgery. 

Dr. Paul and his wife Sue are the proud parents of Michaela and Drew. They share their home with a dog, a fish and a snake. 

Fun facts about Dr. Paul:

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? Europe.

Favorite pizza topping: Green pepper.

First car: Pontiac J 2000.


Dr. Cassandra Lewis

Dr. Cassandra is a 2009 graduate of the Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine. Originally a Hoosier, she moved from Indiana to Illinois upon graduation to complete a surgical and lameness internship at the Kendall Road Equine Hospital. She was excited to join the Animal Care Center in September 2016. Her special interests are surgery, preventative care, and internal medicine. 

Dr. Cassandra and her husband currently share their home with their two dogs Nova and Stewart Francis, as well as two cats named Reva and Halo. She occasionally fosters all kinds of animals for a variety of rescues that she supports. She also loves the Blackhawks, and riding motorcycles. She has a huge collection of teddy bears that are dressed up as different animals. 

Fun facts about Dr. Cassandra:

If you could be any animal, what would you be? A bald eagle, because I'm protected and can fly and have mad vision!

What was your first job? Wendy's--flipping burgers!

Are you a morning person or a night person? A night person, for sure.

Sara 1

Dr. Sarah Massarani

Dr. Sarah's interest in veterinary medicine began after volunteering for local animal shelters in high school. She attended Loyola University of Chicago where she majored in Biology and Ecology. Before attending veterinary school at The University of Minnesota, Dr. Sarah worked as a veterinary assistant at a general practice in McHenry. While in veterinary school, Dr. Sarah worked as an assistant for the university's canine and feline blood donor program and intensive care unit. After graduating from veterinary school, Dr. Sarah completed a year long small animal rotating internship program with Premier Veterinary Group in Chicago.
Dr. Sarah currently lives in Barrington with her cats Betty and Juno. In her free time, she enjoys being outdoors (hiking, biking), practicing yoga, traveling, reading and spending time with her friends and family. Dr. Sarah is bilingual, a Chicago sports fan, knows how to play the clarinet and crochet. She is excited to be working at The Animal Care Clinic and looks forward to taking care of you furry family members. 

Fun facts about Dr. Sarah:

Favorite pizza topping? Veggies!

Hidden Talent: An impressive Jar Jar Binx impersonation 

First car: 1997 Toyota Camry

Our Groomers


Elizabeth Tripp

Liz is one of our senior groomers, and has been grooming for over 19 years. She has been with Animal Care Clinic since 2004. Liz shares her home with her husband Ken, daughter Stevie and four dogs, including two Chihuahuas named Lola and ChiChi, who rule the roost. She also has two grown sons, one a veterinary technician and the other serving in the Marines. 

When Liz isn't working, she's volunteering at a local animal rescue and fostering dogs until they find their forever homes. 


Ashley Kahl

Ashley provides her grooming services at Barrington Square Animal Hospital on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and at the Algonquin clinic on Wednesday. Ashley and her husband have a son, Luke, and share their home with four dogs named Annie, Tiffany, Bentley and Bosley; and two cats named Ford and Harry. 


We’ve been clients for over 20 years and have full trust that our dogs are always in good hands at Animal Care Clinic!! Thank you!!! -Vicki C.

Font Resize