Our Doctors


Scott Helms, DVM, DABVP - Internal Medicine

Dr. Helms graduated from North Carolina State with a BS in Zoology. In 1987, he graduated from North Carolina State’s College of Veterinary Medicine where he is a member of the Phi Zeta Veterinary Honor Society. He is board-certified in Canine and Feline practice by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners. He was a member of the executive board of the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association for seven years and president of the association from 2007 to 2008. He is the author of several publications, and his research interests include feline hyperthyroidism, feline hypertension, and transdermal therapy. He resides in Morganton with his wife, two children, and a collection of pets.

Sharon Finster, DVM, DACVECC - Critical Care and Internal Medicine

Dr. Finster completed her DVM at NCSU College of Veterinary Medicine. She went on to do a rotating medicine/surgery internship at Western College of Veterinary Medicine, Saskatoon, Canada. While in Canada, she had many adventures including volunteering to help with the veterinary care on the 350 mile Canadian Challenge sled dog race. Dr. Finster came back to North Carolina State to complete her residency in emergency and critical care. She comes to us from San Francisco, California. Her special interests include high risk anesthesia, fluid resuscitation and emergency stabilization, and traumatic brain injury. In her off-clinic time, she enjoys hiking, kayaking, and bike riding.


Gregory D. Herndon, DVM, DAVCS-SA - Surgery

Dr. Herndon was originally born in New York but grew up mainly in Virginia until he went to North Carolina State University. Upon graduating from NCSU, he spent a year at the University College Dublin, School of Veterinary Medicine in Ireland before entering the DVM program at the University of Tennessee, College of Veterinary Medicine. It was during his second year in veterinary school that he decided to pursue a career in small animal surgery.

After graduation he successfully completed a small animal rotating internship at the VCA West Los Angeles Animal Hospital. Upon completion of his internship he was accepted into the small animal surgical residency program at Colorado State University, Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital and completed his last two years of his residency at the University of Tennessee, College of Veterinary Medicine.

After completion of his residency he successfully passed his board certifying exam in small animal surgery in 2003. He has spent his career performing surgery in a private practice setting as well as some time in academia as a professor of Small Animal Surgery at the University University of Montreal, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. He returned to the US in 2018 to be closer to his family.

Joseph Sawdy, DVM, MS - Emergency

Dr. Joseph Sawdy completed all of his training at the Ohio State University. He holds a BS in Animal Sciences, an MS in Agriculture (Muscle Biology and Protein Chemistry), and a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Sawdy has a diverse background in the veterinary field, including private practice, public health, and education. He has been employed in small animal practice, has served as a Public Health Veterinarian with the US Department of Agriculture, and has taught in a registered veterinary technician program at a local community college. Dr. Sawdy lives in Morganton and is married with two children. He currently also has two cats, a bearded dragon, and several chickens. His personal hobbies include hiking, biking, camping, outdoor pursuits, gardening, and home improvement.

Joseph Sawdy
Kamberlyn Hooper

Kamberlyn Hooper, DVM - Emergency

Dr. Kamberlyn Hooper is a recent graduate from Lincoln Memorial University College of Veterinary Medicine. She is rom the small-town of Murphy, NC which is the western most point of the state. Dr. Hooper has always had a love for companion animal medicine and looks forward to joining the team at Carolina Animal Specialty & Emergency.

Dr. Hooper is moving to Hickory with her dog, Rory, that she adopted through her school's shelter program at the end of her first year of veterinary school (and Rory has been a handful ever since)!

Michelle Aldridge, DVM - Emergency

Dr. Michelle Aldridge is from the greater Seattle area. Fresh out of high school, she worked as a kennel assistant and fell in love with the veterinary profession and helping people and animals. She went to veterinary technician school in 2009 and earned a two-year degree in veterinary technology. She worked for several years before going back to school to earn a bachelor of science in Microbiology at the University of Washington. From there, she went to Washington State University for a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine. She worked as a licensed technician in emergency medicine for five years and now will join the CASE team as an Emergency Veterinarian. When she’s not at work, she enjoys gardening, being outdoors, and spending time with her toy fox terrier, Priya.


Elise Brower, DVM - Emergency

Dr. Elise Brower is a recent graduate from Oregon State University. Looking for adventure, she started veterinary school on the Caribbean island of Grenada at St. George's University before transferring to Oregon State in her 3rd year. It was at SGU that she was the president of the Student Chapter of the American College of Internal Medicine and enjoyed being active in several clubs.

Growing up in Nebraska, Dr. Brower volunteered at the local animal shelter where her love of caring for animals blossomed. She also participated in 4-H with her family dogs and her horse. Dr. Brower has been working throughout the many roles in veterinary medicine since she started college. Leading up to and during veterinary school, she worked in a small animal emergency clinic as a doctor's assistant that made her realize emergency medicine is her calling!

In her free time she enjoys fostering animals, going to the beach or hiking with her dog, relaxing at home with her cat, and riding her horse. She is brand new to North Carolina and can't wait to explore all it has to offer!

Heather Willis-Goulet, DVM, DACVD - Dermatology

Heather Willis-Goulet, DVM, Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Dermatology is board-certified in veterinary dermatology. Since 2001, she has extensive experience in treating difficult to diagnose skin, ear, and nail conditions of the dog and cat. She received her DVM degree from the University of Florida in 2000. After graduation, she completed a one-year internship in small animal medicine and surgery at Louisiana State University College of Veterinary Medicine. She then returned to the University of Florida to complete a two-year dermatology residency. Dr. Willis-Goulet has a special interest in improving quality of life for allergic patients, treatment of resistant ear and skin infections, treatment of hair loss, autoimmune diseases, and in the use of sublingual immunotherapy for management of atopic patients. She has spoken nationally at the North American and Western Veterinary Conferences and has authored several articles on veterinary dermatology.

The following are the types of services Dr. Willis-Goulet can provide in the Hickory location:

  • Intradermal allergy testing and management of allergic dermatitis in the dog and cat
  • Medical management of otitis externa and media, including video-otoscopy
  • Management of resistant infections of the skin and ears
  • Diagnosis and management of autoimmune skin diseases
  • Diagnosis and medical management of some skin cancers.

To refer a dermatology patient or schedule an appointment after your regular veterinarian has referred your pet, please contact the Southeast Veterinary Dermatology and Ear Clinic at (704) 588-7004. All referrals and appointments for Dr. Willis-Goulet are made through their office

Heather-Willis-Goulet DVM, DACVD

Call our hospital to schedule an appointment with one of our veterinarians