Our animal hospital vets in Fort Collins

Our Veterinarians

The Friendship Hospital for Animals team of skilled veterinarians welcomes you and your pet to our practice! Proudly serving the Fort Collins, CO area since 1997! At Friendship, we pride ourselves on providing quality, compassionate care to your cherished pet.

Dr. Christine Cortney DVM at Friendship Hospital for Animals

Dr. Christine Cortney

Dr. Christine Cortney is honored to have been an associate at Friendship Hospital for Animals since December 2012. A Colorado native, Dr. Cortney attended Colorado State University where she received her Masters of Anatomy and Neurobiology in 2003 and her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine in 2008. Dr. Cortney feels blessed to have had a number of amazing mentors in her professional life. For this reason, she often comments that she will, “treat anything that has fur or scales!” Her specific veterinary interests include preventative healthcare of family pets, soft tissue surgery, pain management, and strengthening the human-animal bond. Dr. Cortney recognizes that best friends come in all shapes and sizes. Whether it is a Great Dane or a tiny Dwarf Hamster, Dr. Cortney strives to treat each of her patients as though they were her own. Dr. Cortney’s furry family includes her four cats, Shiloh, Sampson, Chester, and Oliver, her dog, Tilley, and her horse, Guy Smiley. Giving back to the community is very important for Dr. Cortney. She volunteers, both at the Fort Collins Cat Rescue and as an EMT Reserve with Poudre Valley Hospital. Dr. Cortney is also on a competitive dragon boat team and enjoys competing in the annual Colorado Dragon Boat Festival and other regattas around the country. Dr. Cortney enjoys wood carving, canoeing, the company of good friends and family, and any excuse to get outdoors.

Dr. Heather Higgins at Friendship Hospital for Animals

Dr. Heather Higgins

Dr. Higgins was born and raised in Aurora, Colorado. She attended Colorado State University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Biologic Sciences in 2000, and her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in 2006. After graduation, Dr. Higgins worked for 1 year at a small animal practice in Firestone, CO before moving to Arizona for a broader range of experiences. 5 years in the desert made it difficult to leave a wonderful group of patients and friends, but the pull of the mountains and family brought her back home to Colorado. Heather’s professional interests include soft tissue surgery, dentistry, internal medicine, and ultrasonography. In her free time, Dr. Higgins enjoys running, hiking, mountain biking, camping, Bronco games, and reading. She lives with 5 spoiled cats, Loki, Angel, Gaius, Caesar, and Sawyer; as well as her hiking partner- a Border Collie mix named Marley, and 2 Heeler mixes- Lobo and Argos.

Dr. Shari Lanning at Friendship Hospital for Animals

Dr. Shari Lanning

Dr. Shari Lanning graduated with her DVM from Colorado State University in 2006 and concurrently received her certification in Veterinary Acupuncture (CVA) at that time. Controlling pain in animals is a passion of Dr. Lanning’s and she has received certifications in Pain Management (CVPP) in 2012 and rehabilitation (CCRT) in 2013. Since 2012 she has assisted other veterinarians in learning about pain management by reviewing certification cases for the International Veterinary Association of Pain Management. She has a special interest in working with clients to help them understand methods for decreasing pain in their pets. A native of Alaska, Dr. Lanning moved to Colorado to attend Colorado State University. She is returning to Fort Collins after six years on the island of St. Kitts, where she worked as an Assistant Professor at Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine. She enjoys hiking and camping, and although she will miss the beaches, is happy to be back “home”. Dr. Lanning is excited to be joining the Friendship Hospital for Animals team and can not wait to meet you.

Dr. Alana Lisano

Dr. Lisano grew up in Masonville, just outside of Fort Collins, and is thrilled to be back serving her local community! She graduated from Colorado State University in 2011 with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree, and spent her first year of practice on the western slope of Colorado. After this, her and her husband moved to New Hampshire and explored the culture of the northeast. However, Colorado called them back home, and they are happy to be settled here. Dr. Lisano is a strong proponent for keeping family pets healthy and happy in order to support and encourage the benefits of the human-animal bond. She grew up volunteering with disabled adults, and loves to see the therapy that pets can provide. She always strives to provide compassionate, comprehensive care to each of her patients and their people. As a veterinarian, Dr. Lisano is passionate about geriatric pet care, oncology, and preventative care for cats and dogs alike. Outside of work, she is an avid runner, baker, and reader. Her and her husband also love the outdoors and can often be found hiking or snowshoeing when they are not working on their home remodel projects. They live with their two fuzzy Siberian cats, Eva and Chester, and their box tortoise, Samson.

Dr. Julie Smith DVM at Friendship Hospital for Animals

Dr. Julie Smith

Born and raised in Denver, Dr. Smith is happily settled in Fort Collins where she shares her home with house rabbits. In addition, many beloved cats and dogs have joined her family through the years. At her home-away-from-home at Friendship, her tiny and gentle four pound Chihuahua, Claire, sometimes spends the day with her to impart a welcome calm and life balance. Before becoming a veterinarian (Colorado State University), Dr. Smith put her Bachelor's and Master's degrees to work for 10 years as a registered dietitian. Her combined interests in nutrition, medicine and all creatures came together for a long enjoyed veterinary career. A serendipitous experience with companion rabbits created her expertise in their health and medical care. She is a founding member of the Colorado House Rabbit Society, and the volunteer veterinarian for the Northern Colorado House Rabbit Society and Sanctuary. Now in her second decade at Friendship, Dr. Smith relishes her work as well as her enduring relationships with Dr. Cat Cross (our founder), her clients, their beloved pets, and the whole Friendship family! She is looking forward to many more fulfilling years working within the Fort Collins furry-community!

Dr. Cat Cross DVM at

Our Founder:
Cat Cross, DVM

Dr. Cat Cross founded Friendship Hospital for Animals on February 1st 1997. Almost 20 years later, she has since retired but remains active within our local fur-community. She has since instilled a culture of high quality and compassionate medical care for pets within the practice. Friendship still keeps her core veterinary values at the heart of our practice.

Dr. Cat Cross received her DVM degree from Texas A&M University in 1986. She completed a post-doctoral internship at the University of Illinois with areas of concentration in internal medicine and oncology. Before moving to Fort Collins, Dr. Cross practiced for six years at a large multi-doctor practice in Washington, DC. In 1996, Dr. Cross became Board Certified in Canine and Feline practice with the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners. At that time, she was one of only 330 veterinarians in the country with that distinction. In addition to leading the veterinary team at Friendship, Dr. Cross has served as one of twelve selected members of the General Practitioner Advisory Board for Eli Lilly as well as a Key Opinion Leader for Novartis. Dr. Cross is a past board member of the National Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners and the Larimer Humane Society. She is currently participating in Women Build which is a woman funded Habitat for Humanity project and loves to hammer, saw and paint to help those less fortunate. Her most memorable veterinary experiences all involve families and children enthusiastically welcoming a "four-footed angel" into their lives. Dr. Cross believes strongly in Philanthropy and the “give back” to the community which has embraced her vision of a hospital that focuses on the best in patient care and bond we all celebrate with our pets.

Dr. Cross has been enjoying retirement since the end of 2016, but her legacy will continue to live on, as she her dedication and love for our patients and clients is infused into the bones of our clinic. We will miss working alongside her, and wish her the very best in this new chapter of life!