Meet Our Team

Dr. Jeff Smith, Dr. Dana Shackelton, Dr. Joanna Holtz


  • Jeff Smith DVM, CCRP

    Dr. Smith grew up with the goal of one day being a  veterinarian. He had a keen interest in animals as a boy. Jeff longed to have a horse, but was only able to ride on special occasions like birthdays and scouting pack trips. Boy Scouts was another favorite of his, and allowed him to learn a good deal about animals through merit badges like Rabbit Raising and Animal Husbandry on his way to becoming an Eagle Scout. During high school and college, the future Dr. Smith worked summers as a cowboy on ranches in Wyoming. While in school he worked as a tutor, farm hand on a dairy, and as kennel worker in a veterinary clinic.

    One thing that many people do not know about Dr. Smith is that he has practiced karate for over thirty years and is currently a third degree blackbelt with the Japanese Karate Federation--both of his sons are also blackbelts! Dr. Smith graduated from Cornell University in 1986. He completed an internship in Thousand Oaks, California in 1987, and stayed on for another year as an associate. Before opening MAH in 1991, he worked in a small animal clinic, in an equine practice, and in an emergency clinic. In 1990 Dr. Smith came to Middletown with the goal of building a veterinary hospital that the community could be proud of. Little by little he cleaned up the property, added staff and equipment, and built-up the reputation of the hospital. 

    The mission of the hospital is simple: We Promise to Provide Compassionate, Expert, Well-Communicated, and Affordable Veterinary Care. Dr. Smith places a high value on continuing education and medical technology in order to offer the best care available. Community involvement has always been a high priority to Dr. Smith and his wife, and they participate in several organizations including: Rotary, the Catholic Church, Boy Scouts of America, Canine Companions for Independence, the California Veterinary Medical Association (Past President), the Mendo-Lake Veterinary Medical Association, Middletown Boosters, and several others.  Dr. Smith has a special interest in Laser Therapy and Rehabilitation and after working hard for over a year, received his Certification as a Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner.

  • Joanna Holtz

    Dr. Holtz has been an integral part of MAH since July 2010 and is experienced with treating both large and small animals. Dr. Joanna Holtz was born and raised in a large and supportive family in Southern California. From the time she was a young girl she had aspirations to become of veterinarian. Her first love was horses and she acquired her horse, Splinter, when she was 16 years old. After graduating from UC Davis in 2003 with a degree in Animal Science and Management, she entered veterinary school at Oregon State University. Initially, she had her sites set on large animal only medicine. However, after various experiences with multiple species in veterinary school, she elected to pursue mixed animal practice. After obtaining her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine, she moved to the small town of Brookings, Oregon to practice in a large private mixed animal practice. Over the three years there she solidified her love of practicing medicine on a variety of species. Dr. Holtz was happy to return to her home state of California where she can spend more time with friends and family. She shares her home with her cat, Monsty.

  • Dana Shackelton

    Dr. Shackelton to our practice November 2014.  Dr. Dana Shackelton graduated from UC Davis Veterinary School where her track was small and large animals.  She then completed an internship for a year at Pioneer Equine Hospital in Oakdale, CA.  Growing up, her father worked for the National Park Service and his career took her to rural parts of Hawaii, California, and Alaska.  Her interest in veterinary medicine was sparked at a young age in Eagle River, Alaska where she dreamed of becoming a veterinarian on the Iditarod Trail.  During college she decided that she wanted to be in the back country of Yosemite National Park and pack mules full time.  However, when she graduated from college she realized that she wanted to continue learning and that her passion remained in veterinary medicine.  She moved from Mariposa, CA near Yosemite National Park to Hidden Valley Lake.  She shares her life with a rescue dog named Kiko and a mule named Josephine.  In her spare time Dana enjoys hiking, riding her mule, and hunting for the perfect mocha!  Dr. Shackelton's greatest asset is a positive attitude with exceptional attention to client and patient care.   We are thrilled to have her as part of our team at Middletown Animal Hospital.  

  • Scott Fetherston

    MAH is pleased to offer cutting edge surgical solutions for cruciate ligament ruptures as well as other orthopedic procedures. TPLO, or tibial-plateau-leveling osteotomy, is a surgery performed on dogs to repair and stabilize the stifle (knee) joint after a rupture of the cranial cruciate ligament. Dr. Jeff Smith and Dr. Scott Fetherston partner to provide the highest quality surgical repair for a ruptured cranial cruciate ligament. Dr. Fetherston is an orthopedic surgeon, who travels to Middletown for special cases and surgeries, in particular the TPLO's. Dr. Fetherston received his doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from the University of Wisconsin in 2003. He divides his time between various practices in the Mendocino-Lake County, CA area.

  • Sandy Knowles, DVM

    Dr. Knowles grew up in the suburbs of the SF Bay Area and currently lives a double life between Martinez and Sacramento - and now Middletown! Dr. Shackelton and Dr. Knowles were roommates in their undergraduate degrees at UC Davis and have been friends ever since. Dr. Knowles went to veterinary school in New Zealand and Massey University, graduating in 2012, and practiced exclusively in equine until 2017 when she jumped the fence and started doing cats and dogs at a practice in her hometown Martinez.

    Dr. Knowles has an Australian Shepherd named Evie (Evelyn for when she's in trouble) who is 98% the perfect dog. She also enjoys CrossFit (or did enjoy CrossFit, thanks COVID!), yoga, camping and hiking(as long as it's not too cold), speaks French and almost became a winemaker instead of veterinarian. She does NOT enjoy headaches, traffic, IPA's or things that don't match. 

  • Rachel Unger, DVM

    Dr. Unger is originally from Pacific Palisades, California, and worked as a horse trainer for many years before pursuing her goal to become a veterinarian. She recently graduated from Ross University in St. Kitts and is a new arrival to Lake County. Dr. Unger loves rural life - especially after living in the Los Angeles area for a long time.

    Dr. Unger's love for horses is what initially drew her to become a vet, and she is very happy that she will get to serve this part of Middletown Animal Hospital's clientele along with others.

    Rachel loves hiking with her two Aussie rescue dogs, Noah and Finn, and she’s looking forward to exploring the Lake County area with them.


  • Lori Jones
    Practice Manager

    Lori joined our Reception staff July 2018 after moving to Lower Lake from Illinois. She worked as a Veterinary Technician for 5 years before having children as well as for Nutro pet food company for 10 years. Lori is courteous, professional, and has a can-do attitude.  Lori excelled in her position as Receptionist and quickly advanced to running the front office. Lori stepped into her position of Practice Manager March of 2020.  She shares her home with her husband, 3 children, Severe Macaw Quackers, senior dog Lula, Savannah Cat Percy & Cinnamon the calico cat. Lori enjoys reading, gardening, and spending time with her family when she is not working at MAH.

Animal Care Team

  • Brandi Parsons

    Brandi graduated from school June 2010 where she studied for 2 years to become a Registered Veterinary Technician. A welcome addition to our staff, she joins Middletown Animal Hospital July 2010. Brandi grew up in Lake County and returned to stay after graduating from the Carrington College Veterinary Technology program. She worked at a variety of small and large animal clinics while attending technician school. She enjoyed volunteering for Fix Our Ferals in Oakland and the Redwing Horse Sanctuary in Lockwood. Brandi looks forward to spending many years at Middletown Animal Hospital. Brandi shares her home in Loch Lomand with her daughter Kayla, her cats Little Mew & Mina, dogs Rudy, Homer, & Olivia.

  • Mandy Olson

    Originally from Novato, Amanda moved to Loch Lomand in 2016.  She previously worked as lead animal care attendant for the Humane Society of the North Bay as well as receptionist for Kensington Vet Hospital in Berkeley.  She joined the Animal Care Team at Middletown Animal Hospital February 2018 and loves the positive atmosphere and helping the technicians and doctors treat the animal patients.  She shares her home with Bailey, a 5 year old rescue from Orphan Dog; Lacie, a rescue from Solano County Friends of Animals; and Booker, a 2 year old rescue from the Humane Society of the North Bay.  

  • Heather Riopel

    Originally from Turlock, Heather moved to Kelseyville Riviera June of 2018. She went to Modesto Junior College for Medical billing/coding. She lives with her husband, son, and daughter along with her dog, Bailey and parakeet, Viking. Heather joined the Animal Care Team June 2019 and wants to train to become a Veterinary Technician. She loves working with animals and is fascinated by the medical aspect. In her spare time Heather enjoys fishing and swimming on Clear Lake with her family.

  • Jacob Samson

    Jacob has a passion for training dogs and has been doing it since he was 13 years old. He has apprenticed under world class dog trainers and has worked with several different dog breeds and temperaments. At Golden Gate K9 in Santa Rosa, Jacob cared for boarding dogs, cleaned kennels, and trained dogs including police dogs. He enjoys being around dogs and his goal is to someday be a dog trainer full time. At Middletown Animal Hospital Jacob is excited to be a kennel technician and also learn the medical side of working with dogs.Originally from Middletown, Jacob currently resides in Clearlake with his 2 dogs; a Belgian Malinois named Garm, and a Rottweiler named Perry.

  • Kyley Zadel

    Kyley is excited to join our Animal Care Team as a kennel technician after previously working at Wag Hotel for 6 months as well as volunteering for a program where she rescued dogs from the shelter and trained them to be service dogs.  Kyley has lived in Lake County since 2018 and shares her home with her son, dog, and horse.  She loves working at MAH because she loves animals and it is an awesome working environment!

  • Jennifer Neuhaus

    Jenn came to us in May 2021 and has been a welcomed addition to MAH Team. She started as a Veterinary Assistant in 2007 and continued her education to become a Registered Veterinary Technician in 2013. Jenn has worked in emergency, speciality and now general practice since starting a family.

    Jenn enjoys being outside in her garden as well as spending time with her husband, two boys and her cats, Bo Bo and Sprite. 


  • Carrie Troughton
    Client Service Representative

    Carrie was born and raised in Napa then moved to Clearlake in 2019. Her experience in the hospitality industry gives her excellent customer care experience as a Receptionist at MAH. She also volunteered at the Napa Animal Shelter while in high school. Carrie always wanted to become a vet but now working in a veterinary hospital is the next best thing. She wants to further her interest in animals buy going to school to study animal behavior. She shares her home with her 2 children, Jack Russell named Cooper, and cat named Panther.

  • Michelle Cain
    Client Service Representative

    Michelle previously worked for the Konocti Unified School District for 15 years and the Kelseyville District for 10 years. Her professional demeanor and strong interpersonal skills make her a welcome addition to our Receptionist Team.

  • Patricia Nelson
    Client Service Representative

    Patricia joined our team in September 2021. She has fit right into the team here at MAH. She takes great care with clients and their needs on a daily basis.

Facility Maintenance

  • Dr. Joanna Holtz & Dr. Dana Shackelton
    The New Owners of Middletown Animal Hospital as of 2/1/20


  • Dr. Jeff Smith & Sheri Smith
    Founders and Owners from 1990 to 1/31/20

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We look forward to hearing from you

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