Meet the friendly staff at Startown Veterinary Hospital!
Years in Practice: 15
Education: Auburn University
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 5 dogs: a Great Dane, a Boston Terrier, a Labradoodle, a Goldendoodle, and a Schnauzer mix, 3 cats, 2 horses, 2 goats, and 5 chickens.
Years in Practice: 20
Education: Oklahoma State University
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:
Education: University of Minnesota
Dr. Bilhorn hails from Chicago, and completed his doctor of veterinary medicine degree from the University of Minnesota in 1993. He is married to Denise, a physician practicing in Hickory, and they have 3 grown children. They spent 11 years in East Africa, Tanzania and Kenya, serving as missionaries, working in community development. Returning in 2005 to the States to be near Denise’s parents Dr. Bilhorn entered full-time veterinary practice in the Hickory area. They live on 10 acres where over the years they have enjoyed caring for their dogs, horse, birds and cat. He and his wife particularly take pleasure in spending time with family, church relationships and traveling, especially for birding.
Beth Pennell, RVT, RN
Years in Practice: 20
Education: Gaston College
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: 8
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: 8
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.
Veterinary Nurse & Client Care Specialist
Years in Practice: 13
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: 5
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.
Client Care Specialist
Years in Practice: 2
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: 4
Jared joined our practice in 2015. He works part time while attending UNC Charlotte and plans to attend vet school.
Years in Practice: 5
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.
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.