Veterinarians

Meet the Veterinarians

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Dr. Upchurch

Dr. Upchurch​​​​​​​

Many children have dreams of becoming a veterinarian, but Dr. Upchurch turned her dreams into reality. She went to Auburn University for 3 years, then graduated from Auburn College of Veterinary Medicine in 1988. She has been practicing at Beach Pet Hospital for 30 years, although you would never guess it considering her bubbly young spirited personality. Dr. Up has a special interest in acupuncture, massage, and cold laser therapy, so let us know if you have any questions or are interested in these options for your pet. Her favorite part about working at Beach Pet is seeing the human-animal bond. “It is heartwarming! To me, that bond is such a miracle and it is a privilege to be a part of keeping that bond strong.”


Dr. Up has 2 Pitbulls, 1 Yorkie, and 2 kitty cats. Kaki is a female pit, and she is the sweetest cuddle bug you will ever meet. JB is a tough cookie with a big heart, and his favorite activity is chasing squirrels and eating treats. Carly likes to bark at anything and anyone, or nothing sometimes! She likes cozy blankets and snuggling with the cats. Squeeks got his name from having the cutest meow you have ever heard. Last but not least, Crusher is a BPH favorite, and he likes fluffy beds and tasty canned food. At the end of the day when the pets have settled in and eaten their dinner, Dr. Up likes to put her nose in a well-written book, knit, or crochet soft scarves.

Dr. Back

Dr. Back

Dr. Back started working at his hometown vet hospital when he was 16 years old. He graduated from Cornell in 1989 and became a partner at Beach Pet Hospital in 2004. Dr. Back’s favorite part about working at Beach Pet is enjoying the client’s bonds with their animals, and being trusted to care for their pet’s well being. Dr. Back says “It is such an honor that clients are comfortable bringing their pets to our hospital. Pets are almost like our kids, and sometimes you love them just as much. It warms my heart to see the smiles on families' faces when we save their furry loved ones and give them the care they need.


Our hospital Tortoise, Mary, lives in Dr. Back’s yard in the warmer summer months. When the sunshine starts to not shine so bright, and the wind begins to get chilly, Mary likes to spend her time in our Ultrasound room where it is nice and toasty. Dr. Back also has a 60-year-old Tortoise named Trudy, he's one tough shell! Last but not least, Dr. Back has a chihuahua named Raven. If you have ever met her, then you know she is a spoiled rotten princess, and that is why we love her!


Dr. Back enjoys surfing with his favorite board and playing soccer on the beach. He also loves to attend music festivals, and 2 of his favorites are FloydFest and the locally famous Something In the Water. His favorite part about SITW was watching Snoop Dog play basketball. Dr. Back's favorite Snoop Dog quote is “If it's flipping hamburgers at McDonald's, be the best hamburger flipper in the world. Whatever it is you do you have to master your craft”.

Dr. Laurence

Dr. Laurence

Dr. Laurence is a native of Virginia Beach. He attended the University of Virginia for his undergraduate and Virginia Tech for his veterinary degree. He is a member of the AVMA and the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society. He joined the Beach Pet team in September 2009 after working in small animal emergency medicine for 6 years. Dr. Laurence has many interests in veterinary medicine, including soft tissue surgery, internal medicine, and emergency medicine. He and his wife, Erin have one son, Brian and one cat named, Arlo, also a dog named Owen. Dr. Laurence's interest outside of veterinary medicine includes spending time with his family, running and following his favorite sports teams (particularly UVA athletics and the Boston Red Sox).

Dr. Gagnon

Dr. Gagnon

Dr. Gagnon’s first veterinary experience was working as a kennel assistant at an animal hospital in Portsmouth during her summers home from college. She attended Virginia Tech for undergraduate studies and vet school. Her undergraduate degree was in Animal Science, which is why she still has a soft spot for cattle and sheep. Dr. Gagnon’s favorite part about working at Beach Pet is getting to know her clients and bonding with their pets. Dr. Gagnon says “I feel like part of the family when clients give me the privilege of taking care of their pets. It is an honor!”. She also loves working with her colleagues and incredible support staff.


Dr. Gagnon has 3 tuxedo cats who are littermates. Their names are Dunkin’, Monte, and Marinella. Dunkin’s favorite thing to do is chase squirrels and climb trees, while Monte and Marinella prefer to bask in the sun. They like to bird watch, but not chase. Lazy kitties! If you do not know Dr. Gagnon, then we should tell you that she is a 1930’s film buff! Her favorite movies are “Double Indemnity” and “Singing in the Rain”.

Dr. Battaglia

Dr. Battaglia

Dr. Louise Battaglia received her Bachelor of Science in Biology from Virginia Tech in 1990 and a doctorate degree from the Virginia Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine again at Virginia Tech in 1994. She is also a member of the AVMA. After living and practicing in Newport News, Virginia, she returned to Virginia Beach and joined Beach Pet Hospital in 2005. Dr. Battaglia’s favorite part about being a veterinarian at Beach Pet is examining and giving proper care to Cavalier King Charles pups! She and her husband Greg, attempt to keep up with teenage son Hayden. Dr. Battaglia enjoys running with Team Hoyt VB, skiing, paddle boarding, and spending as much time as possible on the beach with friends and family. As a Virginia Beach native, she is so happy to be able to live and raise a family in the same great city she grew up in.

Dr. Imrich

Dr. Imrich

Dr. Imrich holds his undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia and received his doctorate degree in veterinary medicine from Virginia Tech in 2006. As a member of the AVMA, his interests are held in internal medicine, cardiology, oncology, and ultrasound.


He is a Virginia Beach local and Cox High School graduate. He joined the staff at Beach Pet Hospital in 2014. His hobbies include running, windsurfing, diving and most recently gardening with his wife, Trista. Dogs William and Jones complete their family.

Dr. Andrews

Dr. Andrews

Dr. Andrews knew she wanted to be a veterinarian from the age of 5 when she started it at her kindergarten graduation. Even from a young age she was very determined and set out on her journey to become a DVM. She received her undergraduate Bachelor of Science degree from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. She then went on to graduate from Ross University where she received her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine in 2009. Her professional interests include Internal Medicine, Dermatology, shelter medicine, exotic care, and rehabilitation. Her favorite part about working at Beach Pet is examining her favorite breed, the West Highland Terrier. She loves all animals no matter what shape or size but has to admit that Westies have a special place in her heart.


Dr. Andrews shares a home with her Pitbull Max, a feisty Westie named Brady, and a 7lb terrier mix named Logan. Logan is the newest addition to the group, and Brady is a bit jealous! Dr. Andrews's idea of a perfect day is starting with an early morning workout, then sunbathing on the beach. Then she would play a quick game of Wiffle ball with her league mates and then head to a sports bar just in time to watch the Patriots game. Go Pats!

Dr. Smithwick

Dr. Smithwick

Dr. Smithwick lived in Georgetown and Capitol Hill after receiving her undergraduate degree. She worked for the federal government while attending Old Dominion University to receive her Bachelors Degree in Computer Science. She then attended Virginia Tech to obtain her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Smithwick's favorite part about working at Beach Pet is being a part of our family-oriented team. She says, "Beach Pet has so much team spirit! It is so important to come into work and love the people you work with. We all support each other and work as a team every day to reach our goals, whether they are big or small".

Dr. Smithwick has two rescue dogs, Bindi and Opal. Bindi is a 7-year-old Australian Shepard who loves to be told how pretty she is, and Opal is a 5-year-old Australian Cattle dog who is an avid swimmer and intense herder.

Dr. Smithwick's hobbies include gardening, attending concerts, hiking, and watching "Doctor Who". She is also a member of many book clubs, and enjoys mystery and fantasy novels.

Dr. Bell

Dr. Bell​​​​​​​

Dr. Bell started her journey as a kennel assistant and worked her way up to the hospital setting as an assistant. She then went to school while working in a clinic. She graduated from Virginia Tech’s vet school in May of 2019. She transferred there after going to a Carribean school for 1 semester and living on an island. Her favorite part about working at Beach Pet is forming relationships with her clients and their pets. She says “I love watching them grow from a puppy/kitten to their older wiser years. I can be a part of their care every stage of their life.”


Dr. Bell loves to spend time with her two labs/hound mixed doggies. Abby is 4 years old and Gibbs is 2 years old. The hound pups love to snuggle and groom Penelope who owns the house! Penelope is Dr. Bell’s 3-year-old kitty, and she is cute as a button. If Dr. Bell is not with her furbabies, she is playing soccer outside in the sun. She enjoys outdoor activities in the summer, and arts and crafts in the cooler months around the holidays.

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