Meet the Team

Our caring and compassionate veterinary care team!

Meet the Veterinarians & Team of River’s Edge Veterinary Hospital in Metropolis! We’re pleased to provide exceptional vet care for your pets!

Please call us at 618-524-7500 to speak to one of our caring veterinary staff members!

Owner of River's Edge Veterinary Hospital

  • Dr. Karla Cunningham
    Owner of River's Edge Veterinary Hospital

    Dr. Karla Cunningham is a 1996 graduate of the University of Illinois, College of Veterinary Medicine. She and her husband Ed live in Eddyville, Illinois with their terrific son Ethan, born in March 2010. She is very pleased to be providing medical care to pets in Massac and surrounding counties. Having served as an assistant professor for the U of I College of Veterinary Medicine from 1998 through 2007, she is dedicated to educating pet owners in the best way to care for their furry friends. When not at River’s Edge, Dr. Karla and Ed can usually be found with Ethan at a Scouting activity.

    Dr. Cunningham’s interest in pet dental care began when she started River’s Edge in 2007.  Many of her small animal patients had severe dental disease that caused them pain of which their owners were unaware.  As she started treating these animals and received feedback from their owners about how much better they felt afterwards, the desire to learn more about dentistry grew. Over the years she has participated in many continuing education seminars focused on pet dentistry and learned even more about how best to treat and prevent dental disease. River’s Edge Veterinary Hospital is equipped with state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment modalities including digital dental radiography, electronic anesthetic monitoring devices, pain management and tooth saving procedures. These technologies along with Dr. Cunningham’s expertise will ensure that each of her patients receive superior care for their dental needs.
    Her favorite quote is by Henry David Thoreau. “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.”


Practice Manager

Veterinary Technicians

  • Cassie Sharp
    Veterinary Assistant

    Cassie has been with River’s Edge Veterinary hospital since July of 2009.  She enjoys every aspect of her job, however, her favorite area is working in dentistry and surgery. She lives with her husband, Eric, and 3 daughters, Riley, Amelia, and Davie. She enjoys spending time outdoors, listening to music, playing guitar, and being with her family. She has a variety of pets at home.

  • Jacob Guetersloh
    Veterinary Technician & Client Care Specialist

    Jacob is a lifelong Southern Illinoisan and has lived in Massac County since 2000 where he attended Jefferson Elementary School and is a 2009 graduate of Massac County High school.   He graduated from Shawnee Community College in 2011 and then attended Murray State University until 2014 where he studied Biology and Psychology and conducted laboratory research in parasitology and histology. Jacob has 2 dogs, Sally and Buddy; and one cat, Mimi.   In his spare time, Jacob enjoys traveling, reading about history and psychology, writing, watching documentaries, eating fancy food, taking naps, and spending time with his younger brother; Joshua.  Jacob joined the River’s Edge team in October of 2021 and he looks forward to taking care of you and your pet's health at your next visit!

  • Jerri Jenkins
    Veterinary Technician

    Jerri graduated From Hardin County High School in 2017. She resides in Hardin County where she has 2 horses, 1 cat, and 4 dogs. She enjoys spending her time going camping, fishing, and horseback riding. Jerri joined the River’s Edge team in the summer of 2018 after completing a one semester Veterinary Assistant course at Southeastern Illinois College.

  • Layla Miller
    Veterinary Technician

    Layla was born and raised in Massac County and graduated from Massac County High School in 2018. She then went on to the University of Illinois where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science in 2022. She now resides with her family and two cats, Macy and Blossom in Metropolis. Layla joined River's Edge team in the summer of 2022 following graduation.

  • Ellen Aly
    Certified Veterinary Technician

    Ellen has been working at River’s Edge Veterinary Hospital since October of 2008. Prior to that, she had been a Registered Veterinary Technician for over 35 years in Indiana and Michigan. She grew up in central Illinois and moved here to be close to her parents when the opportunity arose. She is now our inventory specialist. She semiretired two years ago to care for her aging parents.

    She is married and has many pets including 4 cats, 3 dogs, 2 horses and 2 mules. She and her husband live on a farm in Pope county near the Shawnee National Forest, where they love to ride the trails. 

Client Care Specialists

  • Connie Beck
    Client Care Specialist

    Connie grew up in Central Illinois.  She obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Management from the University of Illinois on 1998 and her Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Illinois in 2001.  Connie and her husband Jack have lived in Pope County since 2011.  She worked in the utility industry for 23+ years and has successfully obtained and harvested 3 businesses. She retired from the University of Illinois Extension as a County Director in 2019 having served the lower east six counties (Saline, Gallatin, Pope, Hardin, White and Hamilton).

    Connie joined the River’s Edge Veterinary Hospital Team in November of 2020 and has always had a love of people and animals.  She is a Master Gardener and enjoys spending time in the garden, with her family and reading.  Connie looks forward to building lifelong relationships with River’s Edge and its clients and patients.

  • Carrie Adams - Cartwright
    Practice Manager & Client Care Specialist

    Carrie, a graduate of Shawnee Community College, lives with the love of her life, Joshua Cartwright & two sons – Marshall & Justus on a farm in rural Pope Co. They all have a passion for animals; large, small, tame, & wild. She currently has 4 dogs, 5 cats, 2 horses, & 1 mini donkey. She has been rehabbing animals since childhood when her dad brought her a baby raccoon, pigeon, squirrel, opossum, and fawn. As well as re-socializing neglected dogs & cats. Carrie enjoys the outdoors, hiking, foraging for wild medicinal & edible plants, riding ATVs, and reading classic literature, watching classic movies (all things Jane Austen) and spending time with family and friends around a bonfire! Carrie is a self-proclaimed “Flower Child” who loves essential oils & healing crystals & herbal teas! “I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT THE OPPORTUNITY TO BE PART OF THE AMAZING TEAM AT RIVER’S EDGE!”, says Carrie.

  • Rachel ‏‏‎ ‎Orrick
    Client Care Specialist

    Rachel was born in Elgin IL and moved to Metropolis IL in 1997 graduating from Massac County High School in 2000. She has always loved animals and her passion is helping others people and pets alike. When she has free time (and with 4 kids, husband, 2 dogs and grandson on the way its few and far between) she loves to read, craft and spend time with her family. Fun fact about her is her favorite movie is The Goonies and she will always claim to be 29. Rachel has been with us since July of 2023 and is so excited to love on your babies.

Veterinary Assistant

  • Katie ‏‏‎ ‎Carr
    Client Care Specialist

    Katie comes to us as a veteran of the human healthcare world having 27 years of experience as a registered x-ray technologist and medical assistant. She has been involved in animal rescue and fostering for just as long and currently has a houseful of 5 dogs, three cats and two birds. Katie joined us in June of 2023 and has been amazed at how similar the two worlds are and is eagerly learning the differences.

  • Penny ‏‏‎ ‎Bivens
    Veterinary Assistant

    Penny grew up in Paducah, KY and obtained her Bachelor's Degree in Education from Murray State University. She taught in Paducah until she moved her family to Daytona Beach, FL. While in Florida she worked as an Administrative Assistant/Veterinary Assistant at an Animal Hospital. In 2020 Penny and her two youngest children Jeslyn and Trinity moved back to Kentucky where her older two children Quentin and Cheyenne still lived. Penny also has a granddaughter, Millie and a dog Skrappy. Penny joined River's Edge in July of 2023.

  • Hunter McDonald
    Veterinary Assistant

    Hunter McDonald was raised in Goreville IL where she graduated High School in 2021. She went on to graduate from Animal Behavior College (ABC) as a Certified Veterinary assistant & is now enrolled with ABC in Pet Nutrition, Diet, & Pet Massage. She states, “I could only imagine that our Fur Friends suffer the same aches and pains as we humans do!” Hunter’s goal is to start a “Fur Friendly” massage business to relieve their pain. Hunter enjoys spending time with her family, friends, 2 dogs, & 2 horses. In her spare time, she enjoys being outside exploring, crafting, building, and learning to be he own mechanic! Hunter’s weakness in on-line auctioning!  

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Office Hours

Our Regular Schedule

Metropolis Office


8:00 am-5:30 pm


8:00 am-5:30 pm


8:00 am-5:30 pm


8:00 am-5:30 pm


8:00 am-5:30 pm