Whitefish Animal Hospital

713 E 13th St
Whitefish, MT 59937



Meet our doctors! - image courtesy of lemonade and freedigitalphotos.net

Dr. Jim ThompsonJim 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.


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.


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.


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.

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