Startown Veterinary Hospital

We deliver exceptional veterinary service to pets and their people with Caring Hearts and Capable Hands.  

We are a family oriented practice that provides comprehensive veterinary care and counseling with a goal of promoting the human-animal bond. Our veterinary hospital provides care for dogs, cats, rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs, small rodents, and reptiles. The practice was designed for patient, client, and staff comfort and is equipped for dentistry, orthopedic and soft tissue surgery, in house diagnostics, digital radiography, and overnight hospitalization.

The Care We Give Is More Than Medical

At Startown Veterinary Hospital, our approach to veterinary care is different from many animal hospitals.  Dr. Pennell and Dr. Barlow are dedicated to setting the standard of excellence in veterinary health care and client services, while focusing on the care of each pet. They develop individualized treatment plans based on each pet and pet owner's needs. Our highly trained nursing and office staff are gentle, patient, and kind. Be assured that we will always treat your pets as if they were our own.

We believe that no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.

Dr. Pennell and Dr. Barlow consider themselves to be your second 'family doctor' and are committed to providing you and your pet with a very personal veterinary health care experience. This elevated level of care and attention allows you and your pet to develop a relationship with them built on trust, comfort, and confidence. Your experience in our hospital will be a very personal one.


  • 2421 W NC 10 Hwy
  • Newton,NC 28658
  • Phone: (828) 464-3067
  • photo courtesy of Pixabay at Pexels.com
  • Doctor's hours begin at 8:30 AM
  • Get Directions
  • Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri:
  • 7:30am -12:00pm &
  • 1:30pm - 5:00pm
  • Wed & Sat:
  • 8:30am - 1:00pm
  • Sun: Closed
  • Startown Vet Staff

    We strive to do our very best every day and we love your pets!

  • Dr. Matt Pennell

    Veterinarian, Owner

    Dr. Matt Pennell has over 24 years of experience in the veterinary profession. He started working at a veterinary clinic when he was 16 years old, walking dogs after school. He obtained his undergraduate at UNCG, and then journeyed to Ross University of Veterinary Medicine on St. Kitts for 3 years. He then completed his veterinary education at Auburn University. Following graduation, he moved to Syracuse, NY, and worked at a large 6 doctor practice to enhance his surgical and medical skills. In May of 2005, he returned to his home town of Hickory, NC where he worked as a veterinarian and practice manager. In the spring of 2011, Dr. Pennell started his own practice, Startown Veterinary Hospital. Dr. Pennell and his wife Beth have 4 dogs: a Great Dane, a Boston Terrier, a Labradoodle, and a Goldendoodle, 3 cats, 2 horses, and 5 chickens.

    Years in Practice:
    Jan 01, 2004
    Education:
    Auburn University
  • Dr. Brad Barlow

    Veterinarian

    Dr. Brad Barlow has been working in the veterinary medical field for almost 30 years. He was born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and completed his BS degrees in animal science and biomedical science from Texas A&M University in 1993. He received his DVM from Oklahoma State University in 1999. Dr. Barlow worked in both Texas and Virginia in mixed animal veterinary practices prior to moving to the Hickory area in 2004 to practice small animal medicine exclusively. Dr. Barlow joined the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in 2010 as a veterinary diagnostician focusing on diagnostic pathology at the Northwestern Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in Elkin, NC. He was named Resident Director of the laboratory in 2013 where he remained until 2016. Dr. Barlow and his wife Carol have been glad to call Hickory home for 12 years. They have 4 dogs and 3 cats currently, all of whom are rescues.
    Years in Practice:
    Jan 01, 1999
    Education:
    Oklahoma State University
  • Beth Pennell, RVT, RN

    Practice Manager

    Beth began her career in the veterinary profession working in the kennel of a veterinary clinic while in high school. She spent her summers volunteering at the Catawba County Animal Shelter. She graduated from Gaston College in 1999 and received her license to practice as a Registered Veterinary Technician. She then went on to obtain her human nursing degree and received her RN in 2004.  She has worked as an animal nurse in private veterinary practice and at the Humane Society of Catawba County. She has worked in human nursing in Pre-op, Operating Room and Recovery Room.  Beth works at the practice as a veterinary nurse and practice manager.  Beth loves all creatures with four legs and fur but her favorites are seniors and the giant breeds.

    Years in Practice:
    Jan 01, 1999
    Education:
    Gaston College
  • Mandy

    Office Manager

    Mandy helped us open the practice in 2011. She has had many roles in our practice including veterinary nurse and patient care coordinator. She has a background in the human nursing field. She loves all animals, big and small, especially those with smooshed faces. She has 3 dogs: 2 boxers, and a malti-poo. When not at work, she enjoys spending time with her husband, Todd, and daughter, McKenna.

    Years in Practice:
    Jan 01, 2011
    Education:
    CVCC
  • Michelle

    Patient Care Coordinator

    Michelle also helped us open the practice in 2011. She started working with pets in 2006. She has 2 dogs: a German Shepherd mix and a 3 legged Mutt, and 3 senior cats. She loves all pets, especially the senior citizens. Outside of work, Michelle enjoys spending time with her husband and son and is an avid outdoor enthusiast that enjoys hiking and photography in our local mountains. 

    Years in Practice:
    Jan 01, 2011
  • Jenna

    Veterinary Nurse & Client Care Specialist

    Jenna joined our practice in 2012. She has worked in the veterinary field since 2006. She has 1 dog: a Beagle mix and 1 cat: a white Domestic Longhair. She loves all dogs and cats, babies to seniors and big to small.  When not working, she likes to watch movies with her kids.

    Years in Practice:
    Jan 01, 2006
  • Jessica

    Veterinary Nurse

    Jessica joined our practice in 2014. She started working with animals at the age of 19. She has 2 dogs: a chihuahua and a chihuahua mix and 2 cats: a torti and a lynx point.
    Years in Practice:
    Jan 01, 2014
  • Ashley

    Client Care Specialist

    Ashley joined our practice in 2017. Her love for animals began at a very young age, bringing home wounded or stray kittens, ducklings, and even baby squirrels to nurse back to health. She started in the veterinary profession in 2006. She and her husband have two fur children, a 13 year old chihuahua named Honey and a 2 year old Icelandic Sheepdog named Barkley. They hope to be expanding their family soon.
    Years in Practice:
    Jan 01, 2017
  • Casey

    Veterinary Nurse

    Casey joined our practice in 2017. She enjoys playing with her German Shepherd, Churchill and her cat, Frank. She loves going on cruises, cooking, baking, doing photography and crafts, and hanging out with her boyfriend and little girl.
    Years in Practice:
    Jan 01, 2017
  • Robyn

    Veterinary Nurse
    Years in Practice:
    Jan 01, 2017
  • Stephanie

    Veterinary Nurse

    Stephanie joined our practice in 2017. She began working as veterinary nurse in 2013. Stephanie shares her heart and home with her two cats: Oliver, a snowshoe and Felicity, a domestic shorthair. When not working, she enjoys being outside and traveling to the ocean.

    Years in Practice:
    Jan 01, 2013
  • Ariana

    Clinic Princess

    Ariana is an Exotic Shorthair. Ariana takes her job very seriously and she is always happy to let you admire her beauty. She closely supervises the nurses when they are taking care of feline and/or surgery patients.
    Years in Practice:
    Jan 01, 2014
  • Hailey

    Clinic Comforter

    Hailey is a Chantilly. Hailey enjoys sitting on your lap while you are waiting to see the doctor and has been known to join you in the exam room. She also assists with the check in and check out processes and supervises our client care specialist.
    Years in Practice:
    Jan 01, 2017