Morton Small Clinic Hospital
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Meet the Compassionate Veterinarians & Veterinary Staff Who Care for Your Pets

Professional Development

Our Doctors and Team Members attend multiple Continuing Education Seminars throughout the year. We are one of the first clinics in Texas to have all of our Team Members working through the Certified Veterinary Assistant Training. At this time, the CVA program has three levels that were designed by the Texas Veterinary Medical Association to increase the skill level and knowledge of Veterinary Assistants.

Dr. J. M. Morton, Sr., D.V.M.

Dr. J. M. Morton, Sr., D.V.M.

Dr. Morton received his Bachelor of Science in 1967 and graduated from Texas A &M University, College of Veterinary Medicine in 1969. As the owner of Morton Small Animal Clinic, Dr. Morton has a special interest in veterinary dentistry and surgery. Dr. Morton is happy to be practicing with his son.

In his spare time, Dr. Morton enjoys gardeningóhe is especially fond of raising black-eyed peas and watermelons!óand taking care of his cattle.


Dr. J. M. Morton, D.V.M

Dr. J. M. Morton, D.V.M

Dr. James Morton, is a 2008 graduate of Texas A & M University. After graduation, he joined a mixed animal practice in Wharton, Texas for 3 years before coming to Morton Small Animal Clinic, May 1, 2011. Dr. Morton grew up in Athens and was a 1999 graduate of Athens High School. He is married to Dr. Kayla Morton, a dentist in Tyler, TX and together they have a daughter, Kathrine. Dr. Morton enjoys major bone and A. C. L surgery. He enjoys internal medicine has an interest in ophthalmology. Dr. Morton enjoys ranching, raising cattle and spending time with his family.



Dr. Sarah K. Gilkerson

Dr. Sarah K. Gilkerson, D.V.M

Dr. Sarah K. Gilkerson was born and raised in a small town outside of Springfield, MO. She is the daughter of two veterinarians. Dr. Gilkerson grew up playing traveling softball and volleyball. She was granted early acceptance into the University of Missouri- College of Veterinary Medicine and graduated in May 2018. Dr. Gilkerson has a strong interest in oncology, surgery, theriogenology (reproduction) and dermatology. She moved to Athens in June 2018. Dr. Gilkerson enjoys going to the gym, traveling, and playing with her 3 dogs Butters, Annabelle, and Ashoka.



Dr. Joe Embry

Dr. Joe Embry, D.V.M

Dr. Joe Embry was born and raised in Kemp, TX, and graduated from Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine in 2017.††Dr. Embry resides in Athens with his wife Eliza and three children, Johnny, Mary and Anne.††His special interests include internal medicine cases and canine dentistry.††In his spare time, he enjoys barbecuing and fishing, and spending time with the family Golden Retriever Athena.†Dr. Embry loves vacationing along the Texas coast and has a special affinity for the historical district of Galveston and the nearby fishing pier of Surfside Beach.

"I feel that Morton Small Animal Clinic offers excellent mentorship along with a diverse case-load. We also possess state-of-the-art diagnostic capabilities that are invaluable assets in working up challenging cases. Itís a privilege to have this at my disposal as I transition the years of schooling into the art of practice."


Dr. Ryan Grafel

Dr. Ryan Grafel, D.V.M

Dr. Ryan Grafel was born and raised in Hastings, Nebraska. He attended the University of Nebraska for his bachelorís degree and graduated from Iowa Stateís College of Veterinary Medicine in 2019. Dr. Grafelís veterinary interests include cardiology and dermatology. Dr. Grafel enjoys spending time outdoors and likes upland and waterfowl hunting, fishing, and hiking. He is also an avid college football fan (Go Big Red) and enjoys playing guitar.




Dr. Kiera Lowry

Dr. Kiera Lowry, D.V.M

Dr. Kiera Lowry was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago. After coming to Texas to pursue her undergraduate degree, she met her husband, Hubert, who is from the Athens area. She worked for Morton Small Animal Clinic as a veterinary assistant before moving to Michigan to attend Michigan State University's College of Veterinary Medicine. She graduated in May 2019 and was excited to return to MSAC as an associate veterinarian. Dr. Lowry has particular interests in veterinary ophthalmology, dermatology, and wound management. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, being outdoors, and baking. She and her husband live in Eustace and are volunteer firefighters with North 19 Fire Rescue.


Lacie Vazquez, Practice Manager

Lacie Vazquez, Practice Manager

Lacie Vazquez was born and raised in Mabank, Texas. She worked as the supervisor at Straydog, which is a non-profit rescue organization, for several before changing career paths and coming to work at Morton Small Animal Clinic. She was our lead veterinary tech before being promoted to our Practice Manager. She resides in Mabank with her husband Jose and their two children, Emma and Gavin. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and their four family pets. They have three dogs and one cat. She volunteers as a childrenís soccer coach for Tri-County Soccer Association.


Laurie Kyle, Client Relations/Veterinary Assistant

Laurie Kyle, Client Relations/Veterinary Assistant

Laurie Kyle has been with Morton Small Animal Clinic since 1995 and has worked in the veterinary field for 25 years. She is currently working as a Veterinary Assistant as a CVA II. Laurie particularly enjoys seeing misplaced pets find forever homes and she strongly believes in micro chipping pets.




Terry Gerich, Veterinary Assistant

Terry Gerich, Veterinary Assistant

Terry joined the staff at Morton Small Animal Clinic in 2012. She has been married for 26 years. She has a son, daughter and one granddaughter. Terry enjoys the outdoors and likes fishing and cooking. The family has three dogs and two cats and she considers herself fortunate to be able to work with animals every day. She says that working at Morton Small Animal Clinic is a blessing.

If there is a heaven, it's certain our animals are to be there. Their lives become so interwoven with our own, it would take more than an archangel to detangle them.
— Pam Brown