Monroe Animal Hospital-Monroe Township NJ-Serving the communities of Monroe Township, Jamesburg, Helmetta, South Brunswick, Spotswood, and East Brunswick-Doctors

Monroe Animal Hospital

179 Prospect Plains Road
Monroe Township, NJ 08831


Doctor Steven Hornstein and a Flemish Giant rabbit at the Monroe Animal Hospital

Steven E. Hornstein, DVM                       

Dr. Hornstein is the owner and medical director of the Monroe Animal Hospital.  He  was President of the New Jersey Veterinary Medical Association (NJVMA)  from 2008-2009 and currently serves that association as both Chair of the Membership Committee and as an appointed Trustee to the Annual Atlantic Coast Veterinary Conference.   He is currently the President of the ACVC.  He was previously the liasion between the NJVMA and the State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, was named Veterinarian of the Year by the New Jersey Veterinary Medical Association in 2004, and is also the Past-President of the Northern New Jersey Veterinary Medical Association.  He has previously served on the state veterinary association's Animal Welfare Committee, was chair of the nominating committee in 2009, was a member of the Veterinary Licensing Taskforce, and was a contributing author to the most recent edition of the NJVMA's Pain Management Guidelines.

Dr. Hornstein was also an author of the International Veterinary Association of Pain Mangement  consensus statement on a common urinary condition in cats known as idiopathic cystitis. 

Dr Hornstein has had a deep love of animals since he was 5 years old and has devoted his life to the care and well being of animals. He previously worked at the Cranbury Veterinary Hospital in East Brunswick, NJ and the Englewood Animal Hospital in Englewood, NJ.
 In addition, he previously provided relief vet services for a number of practices in Northern and Central NJ including Plainfield Animal Hospital and Sayrebrook Veterinary Hospital.
Dr. Hornstein is a 1996 graduate of Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine where he was a founding member of the Canine Club and was inducted as a member of the Veterinary Honor Society, Phi Zeta.
He, his wife Dana, and children, Ella  and Landen, as well as their five cats, Hudson, Fluffy, Cesare, Michonne and Enid  live locally.

Dr Hornstein's medical interests include pain management (he is a member of the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management), internal medicine, avian and exotic pets, and dentistry.  He is also a member of the American Association of Feline Practitioners.

As part of a "Self Expression and Leadership Program," he developed and organized nursing home visitation program Celebrating the Gilded Lives of the Golden Aged." Middle-school aged children interviewed Alzheimer's residents about their lives and later presented the residents with a written report about the resident's life.               

Dr. Hornstein enjoys talking to children and used to teach a weekend veterinary medicine course for 4th through 8th graders in the Spring and Fall at Montclair State University.  In his spare time he can often be found cycling or stargazing.  He also enjoys impressionist and modern art, cooking, and is an avid fan of the Rangers, Jets, Mets, and Knicks.

He is available to speak at a local school, library, senior village, etc. He also has done tours of the hospital to several Daisy and Girl Scout Troops. We have several student volunteers every month observe Dr Hornstein.


Please contact him at if you would like to invite him to lecture on a topic, if you would like to bring a group to tour the hospital, or if you would like to volunteer.



In addition to Dr. Hornstein, we occasionally have relief veterinarians come in to provide patient service while continuing the excellent care our clients have come to expect

Lauren Higgins, DVM


Dr. Lauren Higgins is a New Jersey native who completed her undergraduate degree in Animal Bioscience at Penn State University. From there, she moved to Southern California to pursue a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine at Western University of Health Sciences and graduated with honors in 2011. She then returned to New Jersey and completed a small animal rotating internship in medicine and surgery at Garden State Veterinary Specialists in Tinton Falls, NJ. Dr. Higgins joined the emergency team at NorthStar VETS in August 2012 where she is still a full time emergency doctor. In her spare time, she enjoys horseback riding, reading, and spending time outside.







Specialists who perform services at the Monroe Animal Hospital


We utilize the expertise and knowledge of multiple specialists who can come to our hospital as needed

 Dr. Christopher Thacher, DVM, ACVSDr. Christopher Thacher

Orthopedic & Soft Tissue Surgeon

Dr. Christopher Thacher received his veterinary degree from the University of California (Davis) in 1980.  He completed both an internship in small animal medicine and surgery residency at The Animal Medical Center.  Dr. Thacher first joined the staff of Red Bank Veterinary Hospital (Tinton Falls) in 2001 after serving as the Chairman of the Department of Surgery at The Animal Medical Center from 1986-1993. He is well-regarded among the referral community and has a reputation for surgical excellence and teaching as he has overseen the education of many rotating interns and surgery residents.

Deborah Ward, DVM, MS

Diplomate ACVIM- Small Animal Internal Medicine

Dr. Ward was born and raised in New York.  After obtaining her undergraduate degree from Duke University, she graduated from Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine in 1996. She completed a one year rotating small animal medicine and surgical internship at Southwest Veterinary Specialty Center in Tucson, Arizona, prior to beginning her Internal Medicine Residency at Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine.  She obtained board certification in Small Animal Internal Medicine from the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine in 2000 as well as a Master’s Degree in Veterinary Medical Science for her research on the use of gastro-protectant medication in dogs.

 Dr. Ward worked at specialty and referral hospitals in New York and Massachusetts, before settling in central New Jersey in 2005. Since then, she has worked at two large referral hospitals in the area, where she has developed a reputation for excellence in the local veterinary community. 


MJ Hamilton, DVM,

Diplomate ACVIM-Small Animal Internal Medicine

Dr. Hamilton is available to offer oncology consultation and chemotherapy at our.  Dr. Hamilton’s mobile service allows him to provide diagnostic procedures, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy on-site. 
Dr. Hamilton manages patients through their cancer journey, from the moment the cancer is detected through treatment and post-treatment monitoring. He will work closely to evaluate affected animal’s health history and discuss customized treatment options to extend and improve quality of life.
Dr. Hamilton received a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree at Colorado State University. After two years in general practice in Las Vegas with a focus on oncology, behavior and theriogenology, he went on to complete a residency in medical oncology at Michigan State University Center for Comparative Oncology. He also previously worked at Crown Veterinary Specialists in Lebanon, NJ. Dr. Hamilton is a skilled medical oncologist dedicated to helping advance the field of veterinary oncology with novel treatment options and personalized care for his patients. He is a firm believer that cancer in small animals is treatable and not necessarily a terminal diagnosis.
Further information about Dr. Hamilton can be found at

Joshua Portner, DVM, DACVECCImage result for joshua portner

Ultrasound and Emergency Care

Dr. Portner grew up in Southern New Hampshire. He obtained his bachelor's degree in Biology/All-College Honors from Canisius College in Buffalo, New York, and his veterinary degree from Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine in Massachusetts in 2004. After graduation from Tufts University, Dr. Portner completed a rotating internship in small animal medicine and surgery at Alameda East Veterinary Hospital in Denver, Colorado, and went on to complete his residency in Emergency and Critical Care at Ocean State Veterinary Specialists in Rhode Island in July of 2008. In 2009, Dr. Portner passed the specialist certification examination and became board certified in Emergency and Critical Care Medicine.  He has worked as a criticalist or Medical Director at numerous NJ specialty hospitals.

Erik DeRose, DVM


 Dr. DeRose earned his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Kansas State University School of Veterinary Medicine. After finishing his studies, he was selected for an internship with Veterinary Specialist of South Florida in Cooper City. He then went on to his residency in veterinary cardiology at Red Bank Veterinary Hospital in Tinton Falls, NJ. 

Ryan Keegan, DVM, DACVIM (cardiology)  

Dr. Keegan received his Bachelors from the University of Notre Dame and graduated from Colorado State University, College of Veterinary Medicine in 2010. He then completed a one year rotating internship at Oradell Animal Hospital. With a fascination for cardiovascular physiology and improving the quality of life of animals, Dr. Keegan also completed a 3 year residency in veterinary cardiology at Red Bank Veterinary Hospital and received Board Certification (Specialty of Cardiology) in 2014.