Our veterinary specialty and emergency team are led by veterinarians whose focus is on the welfare of patients first and foremost.
Specialty Director Jeff Phillips, DVM, MSpVM, Ph.D., DACVIM, leads a team of five additional board-certified specialists, and a dynamic team of highly-trained emergency veterinarians and veterinary interns. This incredible medical force is supported by the best team of veterinary technicians, technologists and support staff in eastern Tennessee.
JEFF PHILLIPS, DVM, MSPVM, PH.D, DACVIM
As specialty director, Dr. Phillips helps guide and grow Animal Emergency & Specialty Center, ensuring a standard of care and the selection of specialists that best meet our client’s needs. As head oncologist, Jeff takes great pride in being able to serve patients with cancer.
“I treat people’s pets as if I was going through the same thing as an owner. If I give it any less effort, I wouldn’t be happy, so I try to maintain that level of attention,” says Dr. Phillips.
Phillips graduated from Pomona College with a bachelor of science in chemistry in 1992. He then attended Tufts University, completing a combined Ph.D. (Medical Genetics) and DVM program at the Sackler School of Biomedical Sciences and the Veterinary School, respectively. In 2001, Jeff attended NC State University for a rotating internship in small animal medicine and surgery. In 2002, he began a residency in medical oncology while simultaneously completing his master’s in preventative veterinary medicine.
After completing his specialty training in 2005, Phillips accepted a position as an assistant professor of oncology and medical genetics at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine. There, he served as director of clinical research from 2009 – 2011 while running the college’s medical oncology teaching and clinical program.
In 2011, he accepted a clinical position as head of oncology at the Animal Emergency and Specialty Center, where he has focused on clinical practice. Throughout his career, Dr. Phillips has also upheld the importance of teaching and research. Thus, since 2011, he has also served as the chair of biomedical sciences and associate dean of research at Lincoln Memorial University. In this position, he hopes to continue research for his specialized field, recruit strong faculty members to run an oncology program and create a robust curriculum for budding young veterinarians.
Jeff Phillips, DVM accepted the position of specialty director in 2017.
He lives on a 20-acre farm in Mascot, TN, with his wife, two sons and daughter, nine cats, four dogs, and 18 horses, one of which was a rescue blood donor horse.
MEGAN MITCHELL, DVM, DACVS-SA
Dr. Mitchell, a Tennessee native, was born and raised in Knoxville, TN. She began working with animals when she was 16 years old at Cedar Bluff Animal Clinic. She received her bachelor's degree in Animal Science from the University of Tennessee in 2012. Dr. Mitchell graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine in 2016, where she received awards in surgery, internal medicine, emergency & critical care, and pain management. She completed her rotating internship at the Ohio State University the following year. She then pursued a competitive surgical internship at Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists in Houston, TX. She received an award from the Veterinary Orthopedic Society for the research she presented on total hip replacements in dogs. She then went on to complete a 3-year surgery residency at a busy private practice in Los Angeles, California at VCA-Animal Specialty Group.
Following the completion of her residency, she became a staff surgeon at VCA-RIVER in Chattanooga, TN. She became a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons during this time. Dr. Mitchell’s professional interests include wound management and reconstructive surgery, surgical oncology, ACL surgery, and minimally-invasive surgery including arthroscopic and laparoscopic procedures.
In her free time, Dr. Mitchell enjoys spending time with her husband, family, and friends, in addition to weight lifting, being outdoors and staying active. Dr. Mitchell has a 3 legged pitbull and one cat who also occupy a significant portion of her free time. She is very excited to be back home in Knoxville, TN.
WENDY MORRÉ, DVM, MS, DACVIM(SAIM)
Dr. Morré grew up in New England, working in animal rescue prior to pursuing a career as a veterinarian. She has an extensive resume in both academic and private practice veterinary medicine. She completed her undergraduate training at Murray State in KY and pursued her veterinary degree at Iowa State University. Following veterinary school, she completed a competitive small animal surgery and medicine internship at Oklahoma State before embarking on a career in private practice.
Dr. Morré’s private practice experience in the Northeast ranged from associate DVM to practice owner. After building a successful practice in New Hampshire, Dr. Morré decided she wanted to specialize in Internal Medicine and so she pursued a Specialty Internship with the Veterinary Specialists of Rochester, NY. She was then offered a prestigious residency slot in Small Animal Internal Medicine at Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. She excelled in her residency program and finished a concurrent Master’s degree in June 2017.
Dr. Morré is board-certified in internal medicine. She is well recognized by her mentors and peers for her clinical expertise and her compassion. Her clinical interests include feline geriatric diseases (hyperthyroidism, renal disease) and respiratory diseases.
BRIAN RUTHERFORD, DVM
Raised in Knoxville, Dr. Rutherford graduated from the University of Tennessee with his bachelor’s in biology. His first taste for working with animals was as a kennel technician for Fountain City Animal Hospital.
He also worked as a marine mammal's keeper at the Knoxville Zoo and eventually decided to consider vet school.
Dr. Rutherford obtained his doctorate of veterinary medicine from the University of Tennessee before working at a specialty and emergency practice in Indianapolis. “After I got a taste for emergency work, everything else paled in comparison,” he says. He then completed an emergency and critical care residency in California before returning to Knoxville to begin working at the Animal Emergency and Specialty Center in 2009.
Dr. Rutherford and his team actively manage each patient’s situation on a case-by-case basis. “With each patient I think ahead and make decisions about treatment, not only based on the here and now, but what I can expect will happen within the next six to 12, to 24 hours,” he says.
Despite all the advanced technical equipment used on-site, Rutherford believes some of the best service he and his team provides day-in and day-out is basic, fundamental nursing care. “Not only do we treat what physically ails your pet, we also care and provide for your pet’s mental wellbeing. We encourage owners to come by and spend time with their pets during recovery.”
Brian Rutherford, DVM lives in Knoxville with his wife Jennifer, daughter Olivia, and their multiple pets. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, working in the yard and is an avid sports fan.
SARAH DUNCAN, DVM, CVA - EMERGENCY CLINICIAN
Growing up, Sarah Duncan, DVM, CVA always wanted to be a veterinarian. While completing her undergraduate degree, she worked at a pet store and then as a veterinary technician. She then decided to pursue her lifelong dream to become a small animal veterinarian.
After obtaining her doctorate of veterinary medicine from the University of Florida in 2007, Dr. Duncan went on to complete a one-year rotating internship in small animal surgery and medicine at a specialty and referral hospital in Albuquerque, NM. She then worked three years as an emergency veterinarian in a specialty hospital in South Florida.
In 2011, Duncan relocated to Knoxville, TN, and joined the Animal Emergency and Specialty Center team. She has quickly become a vital member of the AESC family, also investing in the training and developments of future veterinarians as our intern director. To provide patients with a full range of options, particularly for chronic illness and pain, Dr. Duncan pursued additional training in acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine. She is a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist.
“As an ER vet, I like triaging and saving animals in their time of need. It’s wonderful to see an animal that may be touch and go at first, be able to save its life, and then be able to give the owner their pet back to continue to love,” she says.
She is dedicated to providing exceptional emergency care to animals in need, and to serving as a resource for referring veterinarians. “We are extremely cutting edge here and very comparable to a human hospital in many ways,” Dr. Duncan adds.
Sarah Duncan, DVM lives in Lenoir City with her family and their three cats, Charlie, the Babe, and Earl Grey. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, and working on her family’s genealogy.
KELLY MAYFIELD, DVM - EMERGENCY CLINICIAN
Dr. Kelly Mayfield was a New Jersey resident that moved down to Tennessee for vet school, and realized then that she would never leave. She has a small sheep farm and enjoys working her border collies in her free time.
Dr. Mayfield is ecstatic to be part of the AESC team and has a special interest in sports medicine and rehabilitation. She is excited for the challenges and learning opportunities she'll take on during her internship.
LEAH KASMARK, DVM - EMERGENCY CLINICIAN
Dr. Leah Kasmark was born and raised in Virginia. She received her BS and MS in Animal and Poultry Sciences from Virginia Tech where she rode on the intercollegiate riding team and served as a college Ambassador. Dr. Kasmark completed her DVM at Iowa State University where she held executive roles in the Iowa State chapters of the pathology and equine practitioners club, and received the Dermatology Senior Student Award. Her special interests include dermatology and pathology. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her fiancé and their dog, cat, and horse. She is excited to continue her learning and clinical experience with the Animal Emergency and Specialty Center of Knoxville.
SHARON STONE-DUMER, DVM - EMERGENCY CLINICIAN
As a child, Dr. Stone was always curious about creatures great and small. She would spend countless hours watching nature shows and reading books on animals. Still, it wasn’t until she was in college that she decided becoming a veterinarian was where her passion lies.
Dr. Stone obtained her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from The University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine in 2008. At an internship at a private practice and emergency hospital in Tucson, Arizona, Sharon gained experience in exotics, wildlife, and zoo medicine. She soon fell in love with emergency and critical care.
Sharon met her husband, who lived in Las Vegas, and moved there in 2010. In Las Vegas, Sharon worked at a very high volume general practice that saw a large amount of critical cases and emergencies. In addition, she gained experience in surgery, endoscopy, and ultrasound, but she always knew she would return to where it all started and move back to Knoxville.
Sharon lives in Knoxville with her husband and two daughters. Her household also includes one cat (Havoc), two huskies (Maya and Malek), and a corgi (Mace). She is a proud geek and loves all things Star Wars, sci-fi, and comics. Outside of work, Sharon enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, cooking, and making crafts.