About Companion Animal Clinic - Blacksburg, VirginiaMeet 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, a variety of reptiles, plus 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!
Proud supporter of the Blacksburg Sports Club, raising funds for Virginia Tech and Blacksburg High School athletic programs. Go Hokies!
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
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.
Sonali Kadam, DVM
Originally from Mumbai, India, Dr. Kadam’s family immigrated to the US in 2001. Her path to veterinary medicine was a bit non-traditional. Ever since she could remember, Dr. Kadam wanted to be a human physician, just like her dad. However, she fell in love with fish and reptiles while working at a children’s science museum in college. This altered her medical path to becoming a veterinarian.
Dr. Kadam earned her bachelor’s degree from East Tennessee University in 2013 and went on to receive her DVM from the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine in 2019. She joined Companion Animal Clinic in July 2019. Her primary interest is in exotic reptiles and enjoys getting more experience with birds and small mammals. Working together with clients to problem solve and find solutions to help improve quality of life for their pets is an important aspect of veterinary medicine to Dr. Kadam.
When not at work, she plays tabletop games, cooks, sews, hikes, kayaks, explores caves, and cares for her impressive menagerie of pets, including two snakes, four cats, a tortoise and a chameleon.
Brittany Beckner, DVM
Growing up on a farm in Pennsylvania, Dr. Beckner always had a special place in her heart for furry critters. She is a graduate of Delaware Valley University and received her DVM from Purdue University. In June of 2020, Dr. Beckner joined the team at Companion Animal Clinic. In addition to her interests in cruciate ligament repairs, oral health and small mammal care, Dr. Beckner is passionate about client education and fear-free care methods. Building relationships with clients and serving as a mentor to veterinary students are very important to her.
Dr. Beckner enjoys spending time with her family, which includes two small children, her husband and an English Labrador named Waldo and a rabbit named Carrots. Having lived the last nine years in Lafayette, Indiana, Dr. Beckner is acquainting herself with the nearby community. She is involved with her local church, loves trying new area restaurants and exploring the various hiking trails in the NRV.
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.
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.
Our Licensed Veterinary Technicians
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!
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
Sarah grew up surrounded by cats, dogs, and horses in nearby Staffordsville, Va. In 2000, she began working at her hometown veterinary clinic, and went on to serve as their practice manager for 12 years. She joined the Companion Animal Clinic family in 2018. She has a special interest in veterinary pharmaceuticals, and learns as much as she can about medications prescribed to animal patients. She’s also passionate about pet nutrition, and has hosted several “Biggest Loser” competitions for four-legged patients.
Sarah loves her job, because she helps strengthen the bonds of unconditional love between owners and pets. When she’s not at work, she is usually hiking in the woods with her beloved beagle, Ryker, or riding her favorite horse, Rocky—who she has had since she was 12. (Rocky is 27, and still loves to run!) She has three other horses, named Amigo, Midnight, and Gunner, plus a mule named Molly. Rounding out Sarah’s menagerie is a cat named Boston.
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