Meet Our Talented Doctors and Staff
Should your pet require medical or surgical care, the expertise of the hospital’s veterinary team is enhanced by advanced veterinary diagnostic imaging technology, in-house testing capabilities, a modern surgical suite, and a wide-range of specialty resources.
Philip M. Smith, DVM
Philip M. Smith's Bio
As a young Boy Scout in Birmingham, Dr. Philip Smith earned several merit badges in first aid and pet care, and his achievements ignited his long-term interest with animals. He nurtured these instincts by helping to take care of the family pets and rescuing baby birds, and caring for them until they could fly again. Later, while studying biology at Auburn University, Dr. Smith worked in a neighborhood veterinary clinic and performed kennel and veterinary assistant duties, such as assisting in radiography and surgery. While in college, he received academic recognition by making the Dean’s List, graduating with high honors, and participating as a member of Gamma Sigma Epsilon (Chemistry Honor Society).
Veterinary Career Beginnings
After earning his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1985, Dr. Smith began practicing veterinary medicine and opened Indian Hills Animal Clinic in July 1994. “My favorite aspect of being a veterinarian is seeing sick or injured animals restored to health and the joy it brings to their owners. Also, when a tentative diagnosis on a complicated case is confirmed by lab diagnostics and consultation, I realize how much I love my job,” Dr. Smith says.
A Passion for Pet Wellness
Throughout his career, Dr. Smith has encountered several memorable cases. “Once we had an emergency situation where a dog had jumped over a wrought-iron fence and landed on top of the pointed tip, which speared into his rear leg. We were able to surgically correct this wound, and the dog regained the full use of his leg,” Dr. Smith says. On another occasion, a cat suffered a gunshot wound to its face. “The bullet destroyed an inch of bone from each side of the cat’s jaw, but we were able to successfully repair it and nurse the cat back to full health.”
Dr. Smith is a member of the Tuscaloosa Veterinary Medical Association, the Alabama Veterinary Medical Association, and the American Veterinary Medical Association. His professional interests include internal medicine, gastroenterology, dermatology, cardiology, and avian medicine. Furthermore, Dr. Smith has received continuing education certificates in pain management, dentistry, and dermatology.
Community service is very important to Dr. Smith. He and his staff helped the 2011 Tuscaloosa tornado victims by offering Indian Hills Animal Clinic as a temporary shelter to injured pets or pets who had lost their owners or homes. Each summer, he travels to Skagway, Alaska, where he spends one-week providing care to pets in this small town. He has also served on five mission trips to Kenya, where he administered rabies vaccinations and other care to pets in one of the local villages.
Dr. Smith likes to spend his free time with his wife, Caroline, a dietitian who often assists at Indian Hills Animal Clinic with special projects. Together, they enjoy activities with their now-adult children, including sports and entertainment. Dr. Smith also enjoys yard work, skiing, church activities, and playing with his three dogs and one cat.
Christina E. Vincent, DVM
Christina E. Vincent's Bio
Associate veterinarian Dr. Christina E. Vincent began working at Indian Hills Animal Clinic in July 2019. With professional interests in small animal practice and exotics, Dr. Vincent received her bachelor’s degree in biology from Center College in 2012 and her master’s degree in biological sciences from the University of Alabama in 2014. She earned her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Kansas State University in 2019. For Dr. Vincent, the best thing about being a veterinarian is getting to know clients and their pets. She said, “I enjoy building relationships with clients and their pets. It’s satisfying to care for that pet from the start of life through their senior years.”
A native of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Dr. Vincent has had ties to Indian Hills Animal Clinic since a very young age. She started going to practice at the age of five with her first dog. “I have known everyone at the clinic for a long time, they are all like family,” she says. Before becoming a veterinarian, her first volunteer opportunity was with Dr. Philip M. Smith at Indian Hills Animal Clinic. She also volunteered at Lancaster Veterinary Center in Lancaster, Kentucky, while pursuing her undergraduate degree.
At home, Dr. Vincent has a three-year-old Australian Shepherd named Archer and a seven-year-old Hound mix named Tallulah. During her free time, she enjoys spending time with her dogs and her family. She also likes hiking, reading, gardening, playing video games and watching Alabama football.
Vickie Pearce, Office Manager
Vickie Pearce's Bio
Vickie Pearce has been keeping things running smoothly for the staff and clients at Indian Hills Animal Clinic since July 1994. Having worked previously for Dr. Smith at his first veterinary hospital, Vickie has been a member of his core staff for 28 years. She feels that “it is rewarding and a pleasure to work with a veterinarian and staff who are caring and compassionate. We not only treat the pet; we also educate the owners and make every effort to provide them with the comfort and reassurance that they need.”
As office manager, Vickie encourages a team approach to providing pet care. Her responsibilities include hiring employees, supervising, payroll, and overseeing the hospital’s general everyday operations.
Compassion, loyalty, and dedication are three self-applied terms Vickie uses to describe her professional attributes. “Interacting with the pets and their parents is my favorite part about my job,” she says.
Vickie enjoys flower gardening and spending time with her family and three dogs named Hoss, Deacon, and Papa in her spare time.
Larry J. Easterwood, Veterinary Technician
Larry J. Easterwood 's Bio
Having a sense of humor is very useful when working with animals, and, fortunately for us, veterinary technician Larry J. Easterwood has one. Larry has been with Indian Hills Animal Clinic since January 1996 and performs many duties, including administering vaccinations and medications, filling prescriptions, drawing blood, and cleaning up after pet boarders. Larry’s favorite part of his job is providing dental care to the pets and educating pet owners on preventive oral health measures.
The family-like feel at Indian Hills Animal Clinic is something that Larry cherishes. “I like working here because my coworkers and I get along great—like one big family. Also, I could not ask to work for a better doctor than Dr. Smith,” he says.
Larry finds time to read, watch movies, do yard work, and go to the mountains in his free time. At home, his two Boston Terriers (Atticus and Ailbe) keep him company.
Diana C. Taylor, Veterinary Technician
Diana C. Taylor's Bio
As a veterinary technician, Diana enjoys assisting Dr. Smith and educating clients about pet care. Her military background contributes to Diana’s unique skills, and she feels her former training helps her perform her job responsibilities well.
Diana earned her associate degree in science and is currently enrolled in school to be a registered nurse. She has been with Indian Hills Animal Clinic since April 2006 and has worked in the animal-related field for 10 years. Diana says, “I enjoy the people and the quality of care that we give to patients and clients.”
Diana is a member of the American Association of Feline Practitioners. She enjoys caring for cats and works to educate our staff on the best cat-handling techniques.
Diana spends her free time reading, working on puzzles, attending flea markets, watching TV, spending time with her husband, and taking care of her three dogs, 10 cats, two lizards, and a tarantula.
Yuri Avianeda-Lopez, Veterinary Technician/Veterinary Assistant
Yuri Avianeda-Lopez' Bio
Indian Hills Animal Clinic was happy to welcome Yuri Avianeda-Lopez to our team as a part-time veterinary assistant in August 2017. One of her favorite aspects of working with us here is having close interactions with the animals we treat and getting to develop meaningful relationships with our clients and their pets. Each day, Yuri brings with her a positive attitude and charm. She is bilingual and is fluent in both English and Spanish.
“I like how knowledgeable Dr. Smith and the veterinary staff here at Indian Hills Animal Clinic are, which helps me for anything school-related,” Yuri says. “Everyone is very welcoming, and we all help each other out, whether it is work-related or not.”
Some of Yuri’s responsibilities include providing food and water to our patients, giving medications, and bathing our boarding residents. She also helps keep our facilities clean and organized and assists her team members as needed with patient and client needs. Yuri is currently enrolled in the vet tech program at Jefferson State Community College to become a licensed veterinary technician. School is her primary focus, but Yuri’s dream is to own her own business that is a one-stop place to adopt, groom, board, shop, and provide veterinary services.
In her free time, Yuri likes to work on planning her dream organization but also enjoys practicing photography, blogging, and traveling. She also loves spending time with her husband and father, two of her favorite people in the world. Yuri also loves looking after her four dogs—a Husky named Mimi, a Peekapoo named Max, a Chihuahua named Enrique, and a Chihuahua mix named Emma—and a DSH cat named Roo.
Michalie Levins, Veterinary Assistant
Michalie Levins' Bio
Michalie has been a part-time veterinary assistant here at Indian Hills Animal Clinic since July 2018. She is in charge of walking, cleaning, and feeding the animals in our care, as well as distributing medicine. Her favorite part of her job is being able to interact with all the animals in the clinic.
Michalie is currently enrolled at Shelton State University. During her free time, she loves to spend time with her family and friends. Michalie has two pets: a two-year-old guinea pig named Vinnie and a 7-month-old cat named Loki. We are so happy to have Michalie as part of the Indian Hills Animal Clinic family!
Lauryn Barton, Client Services
Lauryn Barton's Bio
Lauryn joined the client services team at Indian Hills Animal Clinic in April 2016. Her job responsibilities include accounting, answering phones, checking patients in and out, filing, and payroll. Lauryn is a friendly team player and enjoys greeting our clients and their pets.
“I love my coworkers and enjoy helping clients get their babies up to date and healthy,” Lauryn says.
At home, Lauryn has a two-year-old domestic shorthair cat named Harley and a one-year-old Husky-Lab mix named Bella. In her free time, she enjoys playing with her two beautiful daughters, vacationing, being with her family, and relaxing with a good movie.
Grace Lindly, Groomer
Grace Lindly's Bio
Grace is a veterinary assistant at Indian Hills Animal Clinic. Her daily responsibilities include pet care, walking the boarding dogs, assisting veterinarian technicians, and assisting with client services. Grace has worked in the animal care field for over four years, and her favorite part of her job is working with dogs and exotic animals. She has strong teamwork and brings her laughter with her each day to the hospital. Grace is currently studying to become a licensed veterinary technician.
“I feel like this clinic is one big family,” Grace says. “I love working with Dr. Smith and my coworkers because they’re always willing to answer any question I have or teach me something new.”
At home, Grace has a Chihuahua named Emmie, a coonhound named Dan, two cats named Joker and Gigi, and a hedgehog named Quill. Outside of the office, she trains horses and dog-sits. In her free time, Grace enjoys riding horses and doodling.