The team at Hardin Valley Animal Hospital is comprised of highly trained and experienced animal health professionals who have a genuine love for working with pets. Our staff treats every patient with the highest quality of medical care as well as a gentle touch.




Dr. David SmallwoodDavid Smallwood, Practice Owner

I am the dreamer of the bunch and I love the challenges of running a small business. I enjoy navigating the changing needs and expectations of our clients, building the best team of highly skilled and motivated staff possible and constantly challenging the status quo! I am a UT graduate in mechanical engineering, Navy submarine veteran, and a Y-12 employee on top of my Hardin Valley Animal Hospital duties. I love all sports and staying fit and if I am not sore or recovering from some workout, I have been slacking! I am happily married to my better 2/3rds, my wife and your favorite veterinarian, Dr. Smallwood. We have been married for over 30 years and we also have two wonderful daughters navigating the teenage years. We have one crazy Husky mix named Dharma and recently rescued a Great Pyrenees that my daughters named Temperance.

I want all of our clients to know that our mission at Hardin Valley Animal Hospital is to care for your pets as if they were a part of our family. We want to be your go to resource for all things related to your four-legged family members. As always, we want to not only meet, but exceed your expectations.



Dr. Michelle SmallwoodMichelle Smallwood, DVM – Practice Owner

Michelle E. Smallwood, DVM has been in practice in the Knoxville area since 1996. She was the top graduate from the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine class of 1995. She is also an adjunct professor at UT College of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Smallwood is married to David and has two children. Her other family members include Dharma, a young Shepherd mix adopted from the local shelter and their newest addition to their furry family, a Great Pyrenees named Temperance. She enjoys horseback riding, music, aerobics, reading and spending time with her family.






Leah Nagel, Lead DVM

Dr. Leah Nagel was born and raised in northern Colorado. She graduated from Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine in 2015 and moved to Knoxville with her husband, Chance, in 2017. She enjoys the variety of general practice, but has special interests in geriatric care and behavioral issues.

When she’s not working, Dr. Leah enjoys skiing, hiking, bike riding, and fly fishing. She shares her home with her husband, an Australian shepherd named Jasper, and two cats, Hermia and Tigger.


Taylor Martin, DVM

Dr. Taylor Martin is a native of Chattanooga, TN. She graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine in 2012. Dr. Martin’s professional interests include feline medicine, ophthalmology, and surgery. Dr. Martin is a proud “cat lady” and is usually spotted wearing at least one item of cat-themed clothing or jewelry.

Dr. Martin’s hobbies include competing in triathlons, skiing, and exploring America’s national parks. When she is not working, Dr. Martin enjoys spending time with her husband Eric and twin step-daughters. They have one dog, a lizard, and too many cats.


Michelle Sherman, DVM

Photo Coming Soon!

A native of central Illinois and graduate of The University of Illinois, Michelle has been living and practicing in the Chicago area since 2001. Michelle and her family recently left city life behind in order to spend time enjoying nature and the outdoors. Dr. Sherman’s favorite part of veterinary medicine is forming a relationship with a pet and their family and following them through their entire lives. This has helped her to foster a special interest in hospice care. Alternative medicine and rehabilitation, especially as they relate to her geriatric patients are some of her other areas of focus. Michelle and her husband Eric Larson have adventurous boy/girl twins, a wonderful lab mix, Ernie, and two loving cats, Pinecone and Chestnut. Dr. Sherman is excited to join the team at Hardin Valley Animal Hospital and she is looking forward to meeting you and your furry family members!


Nicholetta Cuthbert, DVM

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Dr. Nicolletta Cuthbert, originally from the Philadelphia area, received her DVM in 2018 from Virginia-Maryland Regional College on the campus of Virginia Tech and her bachelor’s degrees of chemistry and biology from Virginia Wesleyan University in Virginia Beach. She has veterinary passions in dentistry, preventative care and loves working with small pets. When at home, she enjoys spending time with her husband Darren, her two cats (Tadpole and Sirius Black) and hiking and exploring with her two chihuahuas (Pebbles and Crouton). Outside of work she is an avid baker.

Megan Hicks, DVM

Bio Coming Soon!


Management Team

Nicole, Practice Manager

Nicole is an Ohio native and has lived in East Tennessee since 2001. She is an Ohio State Buckeye football fan and cheers them on at every opportunity! Nicole earned her Associates Degree in Science from Pellissippi State Community College and her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from East Tennessee State University.

She has an amazing son and they live in the Powell area with their 2 dogs, Charger and Pumpkin, their numerous hilarious cats and an aquarium with a snail named Fred and a Betta fish named Jack. She  joined the team here at Hardin Valley Animal Hospital last year, but has spent much of her life working in veterinary hospitals. She loves taking great care of the patients and enjoyed assisting Dr. Falato with her acupuncture sessions. She completed her certification for Medical Acupuncture for Veterinary Assistants in 2020 and is continuously amazed at how the patients responded to their acupuncture treatments.

Nicole is one of the avid Cat Ladies at HVAH and is in the process of obtaining her CFVA (Cat Friendly Veterinary Advocate) Certification from the AAFP (American Association of Feline Practitioners). She is excited to use her previous life experiences to positively impact the patients here at Hardin Valley Animal Hospital!

Karla, Client Care Manager

Karla, after 7 years in the field and working at HVAH, has found her calling helping out not only the pets that walk in the door but their owners too. She has since rescued three kittens from work to go with several others she had already had at home. She enjoys greeting all the clients as they walk into the facility – as well as giving out treats to the four-legged ones that comes in. She’s not afraid to show them her treat drawer.  When not at work she enjoys time traveling and hanging out with her family and being creative with card making ideas.


Kierstyn, Assistant Manager, CCR and Veterinary Assistant


Kierstyn was born and raised in Buffalo, NY and came to Tennessee to escape those long, cold winters. She comes with two dogs and three horses that have loved the area since they got here. She enjoys working with all of the animals and helping their owners in any way that she can. Some days you will find her upfront with the client services team, and other days you can find her in treatment helping your pets and the staff in the back. When she isn’t at the clinic, you can find her working on her farm, on the back of a horse, or enjoying any and all of the outdoor activities East Tennessee has to offer.



Client Care Representative Team

Riley, CCR

Bio and photo coming soon!


Rachell, CCR

Bio and photo coming soon!

Samantha, CCR and Veterinary Assistant

Samantha was born and raised in East Tennessee. She loves animals of every kind and has always wanted to work with them since she was little. Samantha has two adorable golden retriever-spitz mixes named Dharma and Gregory. On her time off, she loves spending time hanging out with her family and spending time outdoors doing things such as hiking, swimming, and going on new adventures. She is thrilled to use Fear Free methods to help patients and clients and is proud to be a part of the first Fear Free Certified vet hospital in Knoxville.



Licensed Veterinary Technician Team

Mercedes, Lead LVMT and Surgical Coordinator

Mercedes is originally from Florida and moved to Knoxville, TN. She graduated from Dallas College with her Veterinary Technician degree in May 2019. She has 3 boxers, 2 cats and 1 husband. Mercedes likes to travel, hike and go on adventures.



Marie PicBetty, LVMT

Betty Bell is a full time Licensed Veterinary Technician and member of the American Animal Hospital Association. Born and raised in Charleston, SC, and a graduate of Trident Technical College, Betty brings her experience to her new home here in Knoxville. Betty’s love for animals carries over at home with her boxer, Lucky; her two cats, Orachi and Lilith. Outside of taking care of animals, she spending time with her family and loves exploring nature in any way she can, from hiking and camping, canoeing, rock climbing, kayaking, and caving.



Danielle, Lead LVMT and Surgical Coordinator

Bio and photo coming soon!


Veterinary Assistant Team


Hannah, Veterinary Assistant

Hannah has been an avid animal lover since she was a small child and has been working in the veterinary field for almost 3 years now, starting as a kennel assistant to a veterinary assistant at an Emergency Hospital, and now HVAH. She graduated from Northeast State Community College with her Associate Degrees in Biology and Pre-Health in the spring of 2019, and moved to Knoxville in July to pursue her education in Animal Science/Pre-Vet at the University of Tennessee in hopes to achieve her childhood dream of becoming a veterinarian. In her free time she loves spending time with her friends and cuddling up to her 3 dogs and 2 cats.



Desirra, Veterinary Assistant

Bio and photo coming soon!


Laura, Veterinary Assistant

Bio and photo coming soon!


Mikayla, CCR and Veterinary Assistant

Mikayla was born and raised in Charleston, SC and after receiving her Associates of Science degree in 2020, moved to Knoxville to continue her career in Veterinary Medicine at the University of Tennessee. She grew up on a small farm where she raised and cared for multiple forms of livestock and exotics including potbelly pigs, goats, peacocks, pheasants, and rabbits! When not at work, you’ll probably find her fishing, hunting, kayaking, or hiking. Mikayla is a proud mom of an Australian Shepherd, Barkley, and 3 guinea pigs- Blossom, Briar, and Bloom. Her passions include Zoological Medicine, Pharmacology, and caring for the emotional and physical well-being of every animal that walks through the door!


Caroline, Veterinary Assistant

Caroline is a Kentucky native and moved to Knoxville in August 2020 to pursue a degree in Animal Science/Pre-Vet at the University of Tennessee with aspirations of becoming a veterinarian. She has always had a passion for animals growing up with lots of livestock, as well as domesticated animals. When not at the clinic or in school, she loves spending her free time riding her horses or cuddling up with her cat, Stevie, 2 rabbits, Lemon & Sugar, and her hamster named Fish. Caroline is thrilled about joining the Hardin Valley Animal Hospital team and continuing to learn from both her coworkers and HVAH’s amazing patients and owners.