Our Veterinarians

Dr. Jackie Curfman

Veterinarian, Partner Veterinarian

Dr. Jackie Curfman grew up in Edinburg, Texas, where she enjoyed the company of all family pets, from the traditional dogs and cats to turtles, lizards, tarantulas, and snakes. The older she got, the more her interests in medicine and science started to grow. For Dr. Curfman, a career in veterinary medicine was simply the perfect fit!

Dr. Curfman’s first foray into the world of animal care came when she started shadowing her family veterinarian in her hometown of Edinburg; she discovered quickly that small-animal and exotic medicine was her favorite area of veterinary care. Dr. Curfman attended Texas A&M University for her undergraduate studies—she gained hands-on experience as a Technician at a clinic in Pharr, Texas during her first summer back home, and secured a position at another clinic in Bryan during the school year—before gaining acceptance into the University’s College of Veterinary Medicine to become a licensed veterinarian. Immediately after graduation in 2012, Dr. Curfman joined the team here at Summertree Animal & Bird Clinic and has been serving the pets and animal owners of the area ever since!

Dr. Curfman loves performing ultrasound scans to solve complex medical puzzles, and she also likes the challenge of treating exotic pet species. Most of all, Dr. Curfman loves to spend one-on-one time with the pet owners of the area and develop close relationships with their beloved companions.

Dr. Curfman enjoys singing, listening to music, attending concerts, and tending to her garden during her time away from the clinic. She and her husband, Chris, have a daughter and also share their home with a number of adorable animal companions. They have a Doberman, Vega, who is the most sweet-natured dog Dr. Curfman has ever known; a pair of Sphynx cats named Olive and Tini who act more like dogs than cats; a spunky Cornish Rex cat named Rico; Alice the Ball Python; and a crested gecko named Joan Jett.

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Dr. Katy Levitt

Veterinarian, Partner Veterinarian

Summertree Animal & Bird Clinic has played an integral role in Dr. Katy Levitt’s life ever since she was a child. She grew up bringing her family pets—and stuffed animals—to see Dr. Hays, and he gave her the opportunity to participate in procedures and learn about medical decisions right there in the exam room. Now, Dr. Levitt’s journey has come full-circle: she’s a veterinarian and part owner of the clinic!

Dr. Levitt earned a degree in music performance from Emory University in Atlanta, taking a summer job here at Summertree Animal & Bird Clinic as a veterinary nurse assistant between her junior and senior years at Hockaday. That’s when her childhood fascination with the world of animal care was rekindled—it wasn’t long before Dr. Levitt decided to focus on veterinary medicine full-time! She returned to school at Louisiana State University’s veterinary program to become a licensed veterinarian, completing an internship at the Belize Zoo and at a dairy cattle practice in Sulphur Springs, Texas, before launching her career in private practice.

Dr. Levitt was thrilled to become a veterinarian with the Summertree Animal & Bird Clinic family in January of 2016. Medically, she’s interested in neurology work and dentistry, and she’s also passionate about making sure all of her patients feel comfortable during their appointments; Dr. Levitt even completed the Fear Free program last year and is committed to minimizing pets’ stress and anxiety during veterinary visits.

Away from the office, Dr. Levitt loves playing the piano and listening to classical music. She even played viola in the orchestra during college, and had the opportunity to perform in New York City’s Lincoln Center! She’s also an avid runner and hopes to run a half-marathon in the near future. At home, Dr. Levitt and her husband live with two dogs—Kaiser, a food-loving German Shepherd, and a Pit Bull/Dachshund mix named Bonaparte who was Dr. Levitt’s dog for her surgery lab during veterinary school—as well as a citron-crested Cockatoo named Tumbleweed and a Panther Chameleon who goes by Chammy.

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Dr. Laura Brazelton

Veterinarian

Dr. Laura Brazelton’s childhood pets were a favorite part of her home life growing up. She’s known ever since she was a little girl that she wanted to one day care for pets professionally! Dr. Brazelton hasn’t looked back since—she’s proud to help the pets and animal owners of the area as a veterinarian with the Summertree Animal & Bird Clinic family.

Dr. Brazelton is originally from Illinois, and first began working at a local animal hospital while she was still in high school. After completing her undergraduate and veterinary degrees, she began practicing at a bird-and-exotic-only practice in the Midwest. Around 2009, Dr. Brazelton decided that she also wanted to care for dogs and cats—when a friend of hers told her about an opening here at Summertree Animal & Bird Clinic, she jumped at the chance! Dr. Brazelton relocated to Texas and has been a part of the clinic team ever since.

Around the hospital, Dr. Brazelton particularly likes using preventative medicine techniques to provide companions with good health throughout every stage of life. She loves the unique challenges of exotic pet cases.

When she’s not tending to pets’ needs here at the clinic, Dr. Brazelton can be found hiking, reading, playing the piano, or spending quality time with her family at home. She and her husband have a young son and also share their lives with several pets: a pair of loyal and loveable dogs named Kennedy and Tucker; two mischievous Chinchillas who go by Chalupa and Guapo; and a crested gecko, Guinevere, whose favorite pastime is walking sideways on his tank wall.

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Dr. Clarissa Root

Veterinarian

Dr. Clarissa Root grew up alongside rescued rabbits and guinea pigs, and her early experiences with the family pets helped her develop an innate passion for the earth’s creatures that hasn’t wavered to this day. She’s always known that she wanted to use her skillset to better the lives of pets! Now, Dr. Root is a licensed veterinarian and is proud to help pet owners and their beloved companions daily here at Summertree Animal and Bird Clinic.

Dr. Root grew up in Denton, Texas and attended Texas A&M University for her undergraduate degree in biology, then enrolled in the University’s College of Veterinary Medicine to earn her Doctorate. She also spent a few months working for the Houston Zoo before veterinary school, caring for endangered wildlife and even preparing 150 endangered Attwater Prairie Chickens for release back into their native Texas habitat. That experience inspired Dr. Root to travel to the Peruvian rainforest during her veterinary school years, where she assisted with macaw conservation and performed life-saving health exams on the tiny chicks.

Dr. Root joined the Summertree Animal and Bird Clinic family in June of 2018, shortly after graduating with her veterinary degree. She likes to talk with the area’s pet owners about husbandry and nutrition issues, and also loves to work up an interesting internal medicine case. Thanks to her own childhood pets, Dr. Root has a special fondness for the area’s small mammals like rabbits, guinea pigs and chinchillas—she loves getting to see a wide variety of patients during every shift!

Outside of the office, Dr. Root can be found reading, baking, playing the violin—she’s played for 18 years in various orchestras, chamber ensembles, and musical theatre groups, and even played a Christmas concert in a 400-year-old Mexican cathedral!—and doting on her own pet at home. She shares her life with Carlos, a snuggle-loving guinea pig adopted from the Aggieland Humane Society.

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Dr. Hugh B. Hays (Retired)

Veterinarian

Dr. Hugh Hays has felt a deep connection and love for animals ever since getting his first dog, Mister, when he was only five years old. As he worked through some health issues of his own throughout childhood, an interest in the medical field started to blossom. By the time he reached his teenage years, Dr. Hays’ mind was made up: he would work to better the lives of pets by becoming a veterinarian!

Dr. Hays was still a teenager when he began working at a veterinary practice in Houston that treated exotic pets in addition to dogs and cats. Next, he attended Texas A&M University to earn his degree in veterinary medicine. After graduation, Dr. Hays had the unique opportunity to help open a practice for two Dallas-based veterinarians—the hospital would ultimately become Summertree Animal & Bird Clinic! Dr. Hays has been helping the area’s pets and animal owners as a member of the practice family since 1980.

Dr. Hays and his wife, Kim, have two daughters and four wonderful grandsons. They also share their lives with a number of pets. Their dog, Allie, is a Dallas Animal Services rescue whose main mission is to keep the backyard squirrel-free; Sammie the rescued cat spends most of his time tormenting the dog and reminding his owners that he is hungry; and the family’s two parrots love dancing and participating in any phone call that might be happening in the house.

In March 2018 Dr. Hays retired from general practice but he still does relief work from time to time as his love for animals will never wane. When he’s not spending quality time with family or caring for pets here at the clinic, Dr. Hays likes to stay active by hiking—often in the mountains of Montana—and bicycling. He’s fond of both mountain and road biking, and has even cycled in multiple countries; his favorite so far was Vietnam!

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