Our Team

Our goal is to practice the highest quality medicine and surgery with compassion and an emphasis on client education. The entire WAH health care team is committed to providing personal attention to the unique concerns of each individual pet owner.

Doctors

Kelly Powell, DVM


I received my B.A. in Biology from Cornell University and then returned to my native state to attend The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Following graduation, I worked in emergency medicine for a few years and then settled next to Lake Superior in Duluth, Minnesota, to practice general small animal medicine and raise my three children. I enjoyed many years of canoeing in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, fishing for walleye, and cross country skiing in the popples and pines, but my heart kept leading me back to the mountains (they were calling…).

So — I packed my three tuxedo cats and two Golden Retrievers into the Subaru and headed west. I am thrilled to be part of the Whitefish Animal Hospital team and am really looking forward to meeting my new patients! I believe strongly in the human-animal bond and am passionate about partnering with families in the care of their pets. My special areas of interest include dentistry, oncology, and behavior.

I like to spend my free time outdoors, and I cannot wait to lace up my boots, shoulder my pack, and explore the Flathead Valley. I also love to downhill ski and am already looking forward to next winter! When I’m not out on the trails, I enjoy relaxing in my kitchen and trying new recipes.

Casey Elliott, DVM


Dr. Casey Elliott first started working in the veterinary industry in the year 2000, as an animal attendant whilst she was still in high school in her hometown of Perth, Western Australia. During this time she was also working towards a Certificate 2 in Animal Studies, which she obtained in 2001. Since then she has worked in just about every possible position there is in a veterinary clinic – including as a junior groomer, veterinary receptionist, veterinary nurse, puppy preschool instructor and practice manager. In 2012 she obtained her Certificate 4 in Veterinary Nursing and in 2013 she started her position as a full time Lecturer of Veterinary Nursing at TAFE International Western Australia, which she thoroughly enjoyed for 5 years. In 2017 Dr. Casey finally made the decision to pursue the only other position that she hadn’t yet tried – the veterinarian – and started vet school!

During her time at university Dr. Casey also worked as the student representative for the pet nutrition company, Royal Canin. In 2021 she graduated from Murdoch University with a Bachelor of Science (Veterinary Biology) and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, and received awards for client communication and devotion to animal care, the companion animal welfare award, and two vice chancellors commendations for academic excellence. She worked for two years as a small animal veterinarian on Vancouver Island, in British Columbia, Canada, before starting her position at Whitefish and Bigfork Animal Hospitals.

Living and working in Whitefish has been a long awaited dream for Dr. Casey, which started when she first visited in 2008 and fell in love with the mountains, the snow, the community and the Montana way of life. Dr. Casey lives with her husband Heath, and their three senior animals (all of whom made the big journey with them from Australia, to Canada, and finally, the USA!) – Moose (the chocolate Labrador), Dexter (the Burmese cat) and Vincent (the Devon Rex cat). In her spare time she loves travelling, snowboarding, hiking, reformer Pilates and stand up paddle boarding. Professionally she has a special interest in soft tissue surgery, endocrinology, behaviour, anaesthesia and anything to do with cats (she is a self confessed crazy cat lady!) and is also passionate about teaching and client education.

Shea Stevens, DVM


I was born and raised in Kalispell and grew up loving all the Flathead Valley has to offer. I earned both a bachelor’s degree in microbiology and a Leadership Fellows Certificate from Montana State University before completing veterinary school at Oregon State University. My husband, Casey, is the head golf professional at Buffalo Hill, and with both of our families still in the valley, we are excited to be settled in the Flathead. We share our home with our dogs, Gracie and Bailey, and our animated kitty, Putt Putt. Outside of work, I enjoy exploring our great outdoors, golfing, bass fishing, Bobcat Football (Go Cats!), making charcuterie boards, and experiencing live jazz and theater.

I look forward to sharing my passion for leadership and service with my hospital team and community. My special interests in preventative health, behavior, surgery, and palliative and end-of-life care help me to foster the human-animal bond and promote pets’ overall wellness and longevity, allowing owners as many happy years with their pets as possible. I’m a firm believer that veterinarians and clients work as a team in pet care. I know veterinary visits can be stressful for both you and your pet, so please let me know what I can do to help you leave the hospital feeling comforted, educated, and empowered!

Jim Thompson, DVM


I did my undergraduate work at the University of Arizona and then graduated from the Colorado State University Veterinary School in 1986.  I practiced in my hometown of Phoenix for six years.  Looking for a slower pace, I moved to Whitefish, MT to raise my family and purchased the Whitefish Animal Hospital in 1992.  During my free time (if any!), I enjoy my family time, watching my boys play hockey, and all outdoor activities.

Melissa Genovese, DVM


I obtained my B.S. in biology and a minor in mathematics from the University of Puget Sound.  In 2001, I graduated from the Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine.  During veterinary school, I met my husband Bob, an equine veterinarian at LaSalle Equine Clinic in Kalispell.  Upon graduation, we moved to his home state of Ohio, where we practiced for 5 years.  Longing for the west coast lifestyle and the mountains, we relocated  to Whitefish in 2006 with our twins, Mason and Olivia, and our pets.  In my free time, I enjoy watching my children in their athletic events, practicing yoga, or trail running, hiking, and cross-country skiing with my family and dog in the beautiful outdoors. I am intrigued by all aspects of veterinary medicine, but have special interests in ophthalmology, feline medicine, diagnostic ultrasound, and soft tissue surgery.

Joanie Bechtle, DVM, CVMA


I am a native Montanan having grown up in eastern Montana.  I received my BS at Montana State University (Go Cats) in 1992 and then my DVM from Washington State University (WAZZU) in 1998.  My husband and I then moved to Bellingham, WA where I practiced for 2 years.  In 2000 we had the opportunity to move back to Montana to be closer to family, and that is how I ended up in Whitefish.  I have been with Whitefish Animal Hospital since that time, now working part-time to spend time with my young children.   My husband of 15 years, Eric, and I have 2 boys, who keep me busy on my days “off.”  We also have an American Eskimo Dog and a long-haired cat.  I enjoy knitting, gardening, camping, hiking, landscaping, skiing, and spending time with my family, especially playing with my kids.  My special practice interests include dentistry, internal medicine, and soft-tissue surgery, but I enjoy all aspects.

Laura Thiel, DVM


I grew up in West Virginia in a large family that included many dogs, cats and horses. I did my undergraduate studies at Ohio University, then graduated from The Ohio State University Veterinary School in 2001. After Graduation I headed out west to the Sierra mountains where I met my husband, Nick. I enjoyed practicing veterinary medicine in Nevada for 7 years before moving to the Flathead Valley in 2008. In my free time I enjoy hiking, skiing, and snowshoeing.  On my days off I love spending time with our two children, Owen and Ada, and our two golden retrievers. I find all aspects of veterinary medicine enjoyable, but have special interests in senior pet care, The Morris Animal Health Foundation study for canine cancer, and endoscopy.

Leslie Fethke, DVM, DACVS


I received my bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Denver and then graduated from Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2007. After veterinary school I went into equine medicine and surgery. I completed two equine internships followed by a three-year large animal surgery residency at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. In 2013, I became a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons for large animals (DACVS-LA). I practiced as an equine surgeon in Las Vegas for 2 years before transitioning to small animal medicine and surgery. I worked at an AAHA-accredited small animal hospital in Las Vegas for 4 years. My husband and I met in my home state of Colorado and we share a love for the mountains. We moved our son and chocolate lab to the Flathead Valley to be part of a mountain community where we can enjoy the outdoors and raise our family.

Team Members

Lisa Landreth


 

My husband and I moved to Whitefish in 1998 and feel blessed to live in such a beautiful and friendly place.  I grew up in the Seattle area after spending the first few years of my life in San Francisco.  I studied graphic design at Western Washington University and received my undergraduate degree in 1985.   I worked in advertising for many years but finally realized my true “calling” was cooking.  I eventually became the sous chef and saucier for a Dallas-area country club after graduating from a chef school.  I’ve been working at WAH since late 2007.  When I am not taking appointments and answering the calls of our clients, you can find me on the golf course- striving for the perfect game!

Diane Archie


 

I joined Whitefish Animal Hospital in June of 2009.  After spending the last 8 years traveling as event coordinators, my husband Paul and I decided to settle down and have a family.  A year or so after the birth of our daughter Eleanor I knew it was time to go back to work.  I was fortunate to be able to join a great team at the Whitefish Animal Hospital and indulge my lifelong love for and curiosity about animals.  I am a Canadian who has spent half my life learning and growing here in Whitefish. I love to play in the outdoors, play music and spend quality time with my friends and family.

Nancy Morrison


I am a recovering Canadian, born in Edmonton, Alberta, raised in the Flathead Valley.  I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology from the University of Montana.  After an 11 year research career, I moved to Whitefish with my husband, Clay.  We have a german shepherd dog (Alta) and a golden retriever (Todd).  I am a part time technician at WAH allowing me more time with Clay and our boy, Brody.  Our family loves strolling with the dogs, skiing when we can, and playing on the lakes in the valley.

Jessi Gist


Born and raised in Montana, I moved on to the University of Montana immediately after my high school graduation in 2012. From my earliest memories, I’ve been passionate about animals and have always aspired to work with them. I’ve been with WAH since 2019 and continue to love my time here. Outside of work, you can find me embarking on adventures with my pup, Nelly.

Jennifer Murray


I graduated from the University of Oregon in 2005 with a degree in General Science.  I’ve been working at Whitefish Animal Hospital since April 2006.  When not at work I can be found hanging out with my husband, Ryan, our two kids, Cooper and Lily, and our three dogs and two cats.  I also enjoy traveling to San Diego or Cabo San Lucas to visit my family whenever I get a chance.

Jen Carpenedo-Ferree


After graduating from college in 1994, I moved to Whitefish to be a ski bum before returning to grad school.  Who knew Whitefish would have such allure and I would still be here years later!  My passion is the great outdoors where on any given day you can find me skiing, hiking, or biking with my faithful dog and my husband, Jon.

Brooks McCartney


I am a Montana native and am happy to call Whitefish my home. I graduated from the University of Montana in 2008 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Management.  I went to Portland, Oregon a few years later after deciding that I wanted to work with animals.  There, I got my Associate of Applied Science in Veterinary Technology in 2012 and passed the National Veterinary Technician Exam to become a Certified Veterinary Technician.

I have been working at Whitefish Animal Hospital since June 2012 and loving everyday.

Stephanie Thompson


I met my husband in Alaska back in 1999. We moved to Whitefish in 2012 after living for 8 years in New Orleans, LA. While enjoying all that is offered by Montana we couldn’t help but answer the call to go back to the city… and moved to Seattle for a year. One year was all it took to realize that we belong in the Flathead Valley. We couldn’t imagine raising our son who was born April of 2015 anywhere else but here! We share our home with our 3 cats and our tripod dog. I enjoy photography, horseback riding, hiking and traveling.  Someday I will have 52 cats and an orangutan sanctuary.

Yoko Takahashi


I was born in Japan and moved to the Seattle area with my family when I was 4 years old.  I graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelor of Science in Zoology.  Shortly after I pursued my lifelong interest in working with animals and got a job at Green Lake Animal Hospital in north Seattle, where I gained my skills and knowledge over 8 years.  I was finally ready to leave the big city life and decided to follow my dream of living in Montana.

I started at WAH in 2008, moved back to Seattle in 2015, but less than 2 years later I came back to a place that’s better fitting for my lifestyle.  I have one calico kitty named Mimosa and I enjoy healthy cooking, yoga, hiking, riding horses, skiing, and visiting my family in Seattle. I would love to pursue my interest in integrative and holistic veterinary medicine for my next chapter of my career.

Marje Guest


I have been in the veterinary field since 1996; I was also the operation director for the Humane Society of N.W. Montana. I love riding my horses, hanging out with my hubby, dogs and my bird.

Cristen Vaughan


I was born and raised in San Diego, and attended Point Loma Nazarene University earning a B.A. in International Development Studies. After living in many wonderful places in the U.S. and abroad, I decided to set down roots in the Flathead Valley with my husband and two kids. I jumped into the WAH family during the craziness of 2020 and am so thankful to be part of this amazing team! When I’m not working at WAH I’m usually teaching group fitness classes or reading books about the Enneagram.

Donna Tomaso


I have been an animal lover for my entire life. I moved here to Montana in 2017 after completing animal science tech school in central Wisconsin where I was born and raised. I immediately fell in love with the mountains and knew right away that Whitefish Animal Hospital was a great fit for me. When I’m not at WAH, you will find me out searching for the next adventure with my faithful companion, Walter.

Kelly Curtis


I was born in Redwood City, Ca and moved to Whitefish with my family in 2000.  After high school I traveled to Peru to study abroad and explore the world. In 2010 I attend the U of M in Missoula and graduated in 2014 with a degree in Sociology and Criminology. Shortly after graduating I moved to Fort Collins, Co for a year and realized Montana is where I’m meant to be. I came back to Montana in 2015 and was a nanny until becoming part of the WAH team in 2018. When Im not working I enjoy spending time outside with my pups, and exploring the beauty Montana has to offer.

Laura Harrison


I was born and raised in Northern California. Went to school for Animal Health, and Animal Science. In 2018 my family and I relocated to Montana where we spend our free time fishing, raising chickens and turkeys, gardening and enjoying this beautiful place we call home.

Margaret Evans


Practice Manager

I moved to Montana in 1999 after graduating from the University of Georgia with a degree in Animal Science.  I  worked as a technician at Whitefish Animal Hospital for 7 years before moving to my current position as Practice Manager.  This position enables me to have more time to spend with my husband, Marc, and our daughter, Brooke.  In my spare time, I enjoy being in the outdoors with my family and our dogs: Rosie, Moose, and Phoenix.

Nikki Olsen


I have been a veterinary technician since 2016, and have been with Bigfork Animal Hospital since 2019. Montana has been my home for the last 21 years and I couldn’t image living anywhere else. I enjoy rafting, boating, and hiking with my boyfriend Tyler and our crazy dogs Lila and Cooper during the Summer, then escaping to the beach for a little bit in the Winter. I have always had a huge appreciation for animals and I can’t wait to see where this profession takes me.

Mindi Gawe


I joined the Whitefish Animal Hospital team in 1997, and became a Certified Veterinary Technician in 2005. I have lived in Whitefish all my life, and my family has been here since the 1930’s. Dave and I have one dog, Mona, and twin daughters, Hanna and Hazel, who were born in 2006. They have been the light of our lives, and I love being a mom!  I enjoy all recreation outside, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.

Ashley Judd 


Hello! I’m Ashley. I was lucky enough to be born and raised in Kalispell and have lived in Montana my whole life.  I attended and graduated from Montana State University and spent a number of years working in Bozeman, where I met my wonderful boyfriend Hatter, and adopted my dog Siyeh. After leaving Bozeman and spending a summer in Alaska, we decided to move back to the Flathead Valley. I started working at Bigfork Animal Hospital in September 2020 and couldn’t be more grateful to be a part of the team. I have always loved animals, so it was an easy decision to turn caring for them into a career. When I’m not at work I’m out doing what most Montanans do, enjoying all the outdoor activities the Flathead Valley has to offer.

Martha Rendahl


I was born in Oklahoma City and spent a few years in Arkansas before moving to Montana.  After graduating from Columbia Falls high school I moved back to Oklahoma to attend the University of Central Oklahoma where I earned my bachelor’s degree in Biology.  I worked at a small veterinary practice in Oklahoma City before my husband and I returned to Whitefish.  I have currently been employed with WAH since January 2001.  I am only working part time right now so I can spend time with my two young children.

Anna Kuopus


I grew up in a small town in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and moved to the Mountains right out of high school. I did an internship as a Vet Assistant in high school and have been in Vet Med ever since. I met my husband right after I moved here and we settled down in Kalispell with our two dogs Bella and Kaija. I enjoy hunting, fishing and just being outside with my husband and our sidekicks.

We recently brought our pug, Duke, to the Whitefish Animal Hospital for an exam for a back injury. He was not a patient there, but we were not pleased with the vet he was seeing. They took him in immediately and gave him all of there attention. What we didn’t realize was that he also had a brain injury. (By the way, the nearest MRI for an animal is 6 hours away!) It was too late for our little guy. We lost him 2 weeks after the initial fall. Dr. Jim and his staff were so loving and comforting. Even though they had just met us. I will always be grateful for being there for us and our little Duke.
- Ray & Kim Riel
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