About Companion Animal Clinic - Blacksburg, Virginia

Meet the staff of Companion Animal Clinic, and learn more about how we serve Blacksburg, Virginia.

More About Our Veterinary Practice

Serving Blacksburg, Christiansburg, and Radford Since 1974
AAHA Accredited Animal Hospital

Companion Animal Clinic has served the Blacksburg community since 1974. Our founder, Dr. Jim Shuler, graduated from Virginia Tech with a degree in Animal Husbandry in 1966. Originally located on Landsdowne Street, and subsequently South Main, the practice has been at 201 South Hill Drive since 1997. With accreditation from the American Animal Hospital Association, our facilities and services meet a standard of quality matched by fewer than 15 percent of veterinary practices in the US or Canada.

Most of our clients are cats and dogs, but we also see hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, chickens, and the occasional fish, goat, or marmoset. As a full-service clinic, we offer checkups, vaccines, surgery, and dental care. Our hospital is spacious, with four exam rooms, a complete in-house laboratory, and pharmacy. We have separate suites for surgery, dental exams, and radiology. Animals in need of longer-term observation, or boarding, stay in our expansive kennel—which includes three indoor runs so large animals get exercise.

Companion Animal Clinic is active in the Blacksburg community. We are the primary veterinarian for a local shelter, Montgomery County Animal Care and Adoption Center. We regularly host veterinary students as interns from Virginia Tech, and have even hired quite a few!

You can also spot Companion Animal Clinic at community events such as Blacksburg’s annual Festival of the Dog, and its Winter Lights holiday festival.

We’ve been a proud supporter of the Blacksburg Sports Club, raising funds for Virginia Tech and Blacksburg High School athletic programs. Go Hokies!

Meet Our Team

For more information, contact us!

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Dr. Matthew McCormick with his dog Finn.
Associate Veterinarian - Medical Director
Dr. McCormick has dedicated the past 30 years to treating patients at Companion Animal Clinic.
Interesting Fact: Spent April 2018 in Namibia working with the Cheetah Conservation Fund.
Dr. Melanie Walters
Associate Veterinarian
I live on a farm where we grow a garden, can our food, use wood for heat, and need a cell phone booster to get calls. Although we do have indoor plumbing and not an outhouse!
Dr. Vanessa Mitchell
Associate Veterinarian
I have worked at Companion Animal Clinic for over 3 years. 
Interesting fact: I lived in St. Kitts for 4 years!
Rista W 
Head Licensed Veterinary Technician
Positive reinforcement and training is my passion. I enjoy my 11 pets fun tricks and behaviors.
Anne Marie H
Licensed Veterinary Technician
Interesting Fact: I am also a Respiratory Therapist.
Marissa E 
Lead Veterinary Assistant
Enjoys pet sitting for our clients.
Jessica M
Veterinary Assistant
I served in the USAF for 6 years and have a bachelor's degree in Wildlife Conservation. I enjoy pet sitting for our clients.
Ana M.
Service Coordinator Supervisor
I am also a Farrier and Equine Flexion and Massage Therapist.
Kara B
Service Coordinator
I recently moved to Virginia from Utah. I like photography and spending time with my pets!
Dana H
Kennel Supervisor
Fun Fact:  I own and care for 100+ Animals on my own mini farm Located in Riner VA!
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Our Veterinarians

Dr McCormick

Matt McCormick, DVM, Medical Director

Dr. Matt McCormick has been with Companion Animal Clinic since 1989—he joined just a year after receiving his DVM from Virginia Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. An accomplished local veterinarian, he was the past president of both the Southwest Virginia Veterinary Medical Association and Mid-Atlantic Association of Avian Veterinarians, a member of the AVMA and the Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians. Dr. McCormick’s experience also includes being a participant in the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study and a member of the Honey Bee Veterinary Consortium.

He is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Small Mammal Medicine & Surgery at his alma mater, teaching ferret medicine, pocket pet medicine and the exotic companion mammal critical care and procedures lab.

Dr. McCormick’s favorite animals to work with are bunnies, cats, chickens, ducks and rats (yes, rats!). He especially loves to caring for kittens and other tiny creatures. His specialties include small mammal medicine and surgery; chicken and duck medicine and teaching.

When not at work, he likes to make gourmet desserts (Dr. McCormick has a weakness for chocolate). He also enjoys hiking, reading and woodworking. He and his wife Liz have one daughter, who helps care for all the critters he brings home. Speaking of critters: The McCormick family cares for a small zoo including cats (Baxter, Luci, Jasper, Princess Butterface, Flerken), two dogs (Aladar and Finnick), two adult guinea pigs (Winnie and Speckles) a blind hamster (Henry), three elder rats, a house chicken (Karhen), a duck (Pip) and bee hives! 

Vanessa Mitchell, DVM

Originally from Boston, Dr. Vanessa Mitchell graduated with a BA in Biology from Colby-Sawyer College. She then received her DVM from Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine in 2011.  She joined Companion Animal Clinic in 2015 and has special interests in internal medicine and dentistry.

Dr. Mitchell lives in Christiansburg with her husband James and her two children. They have two cats (Ella and Baxter) two dogs (Clive the Boxer and Edgar the Boston Terrier) and a guinea pig named Cheeto. You can find her in surgery singing loudly to pop music from the 90s and early 2000s, but her absolute favorite is Adele.

Melanie Walters, DVM

Dr. Melanie Walters is originally from Wisconsin, but immediately fell in love with the New River Valley while attending Virginia Tech for her degree in Animal Science. So, she stayed in town and attended the Virginia Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, where she received her DVM. She joined Companion Animal Clinic in fall of 2018. Dr. Walters loves being a veterinarian, and believes every animal deserves compassion. She is passionate about surgery, pain management, and reproduction.

Dr. Walters and her husband, Jarred, recently had a baby girl, and are enjoying parenthood. The Walters family lives in Blacksburg on a 30-acre farm with their 2 dogs, kitty, horse, cows, and chickens. On the weekends Dr. Walters enjoys the outdoors tending to her animals, horseback riding, fishing, hiking, and gardening.

Dr. Brittany Beckner with dog

Kelly Lemkul, DVM

Dr. Lemkul has been an associate veterinarian with Companion Animal Clinic since February of 2018. Originally from Florida, Dr. Lemkul grew up with dogs and has always loved animals. She knew that she wanted to be a veterinarian ever since she could remember.

A graduate of Virgina Tech, Dr. Lemkul has special interests in veterinary neurology, cardiology and wound management. She is particularly passionate about helping pets feel more at ease at the vet clinic and feeling healthy and well overall. She especially loves seeing pets grow from little pups to old friends.

When she isn’t caring for pets at the clinic, Dr. Lemkul enjoys playing with her human (and dog) kids, spending time in or on the water, crafting and listening to music. She has two boys named Liam and Luke and two corgis who go by Chicken and Waffles.

Dr Katie Walsh holding a cat

Katie Johannigmeier, MBA, DVM

Virginia native Dr. Katie Johannigmeier has always felt a calling toward veterinary medicine. After spending a few years in the human medical field, her love of both animals and science led her to study veterinary medicine. Dr. Jo (as she’s known to her clients) earned her BS in Biology and MBA from the College of William and Mary then her DVM from the Virginia Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. Prior to becoming a veterinarian, she gained experience in veterinary practice management and as a veterinary assistant in general and emergency practice. She joined the Companion Animal Clinic team in June 2022.

Dr. Jo is a member of the Phi Zeta veterinary honor society and has special interests in internal medicine, radiology and feline medicine. She loves that veterinary medicine allows her to positively impact every member of a client’s family by taking care of their animal.

At home, Dr. Jo has two fluffy cats, Silly Cat and Puzzle Cat. In her free time, she enjoys running, lifting weights, reading quilting and spending time with her husband, Eric.


Dr Katie Walsh holding a cat

Madison Gravitte, DVM

Bio coming soon…

Our Licensed Veterinary Technicians

Ann Marie

Anne Marie Hutchens, LVT

Anne Marie H. grew up in nearby Giles County, and attended Blue Ridge Community College. In 2004, she graduated as a Licensed Veterinary Technician. She joined Companion Animal Clinic in 2010. Anne Marie has experience working with small, large, and exotic animals, and she raises and shows purebred LaMancha dairy goats. Her interests include making soap and cheese from her goat milk, and spending time with family and friends. She also loves her miniature pinschers!

LVT Rista White with her Dog

Rista White, LVT

Rista W. is a New Englander whose heart found a home in Southwestern Virginia. Originally from Augusta, Maine, she went to school at Becker College in Massachusetts. She received her degree in Veterinary Technology in 2013. She has been with Companion Animal Clinic since 2015. Her two dogs are Savannah and Tipsy, and her cat is named Rigby. She also has a hedgehog named Moxxi. In her free time she likes to learn more about positive reinforcement animal training and see what kinds of fun behaviors she can teach her animals next.

Our Practice Manager

Taylor Spencer

Taylor Spencer has been part of the Companion Animal Clinic team since September 2017. After working as a Certified Nursing Assistant for about two years at a nursing home, the Christiansburg native found her true passion in the veterinary industry helping both people and animals.

Taylor’s five years of experience as a Service Coordinator at CAC have given her a strong understanding of the clinic’s inner workings and the importance of efficient and effective communication between staff and clients. She loves interacting with people and animals on a daily basis. Taylor appreciates the close-knit team at CAC, which makes her role as Practice Manager even more enjoyable.

In her free time, Taylor enjoys hiking, crocheting, gardening, and taking care of her house plants. She is also a proud pet owner, with three furry and scaly friends: Tink, a domestic longhair cat, Cleo, a domestic shorthair cat, and Norbert, a bearded dragon.

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