Now Accepting New Patients

Meet Our Team

Dr. Brittany Ishmael
Owner, Veterinarian

Dr. Brittany Ishmael

Dr. Brittany Ishmael grew up on a farm, and the many experiences she had there sparked her passion for the veterinary profession. Her interest in animal care goes deeper than loving pets—she has always wanted to know exactly why things happened the way they did. As a full-time veterinarian and the owner of Advanced Veterinary Care, Dr. Ishmael truly gets to live her dream!

After attending community college, Dr. Ishmael graduated from Western Illinois University before being recruited to attend the Royal Veterinary College in London, England. There, a professor told her that he would never have to worry about her because she would never stop asking the “why” questions!

Upon graduating with her veterinary degree, Dr. Ishmael practiced animal medicine as an Associate Veterinarian for nine years. In early 2015, she and her husband Darren achieved their long-time dream and opened their very own clinic, Advanced Veterinary Care.

Dr. Ishmael and her husband have a beautiful young daughter, Gwyn, who already demonstrates a deep love for animals. The family shares their home with four dogs and 8 cats. They also keep seven horses and a pony.

When she’s not tending to her duties as a veterinarian and clinic owner, Dr. Ishmael enjoys caring for her own animals and participating in competitive ranch sorting. She also loves trail riding, and camping with her horses.

Dr. Becky Combs
Associate Veterinarian

Dr. Becky Combs

Dr. Becky Combs grew up in New Hampshire where she developed a love for healing and rehabilitating animals. She moved to Kentucky where she completed a Bachelor of Science in Equine Therapy and Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration.

After working in Thoroughbred breeding industry, she decided to pursue veterinary medicine and graduated from Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2015. She completed a 1 year internship practicing at an equine referral hospital near Oklahoma City followed by practicing at a mixed animal (small and large animal) hospital in Louisville, Kentucky before being recruited to Illinois.

She has 2 pleasure horses, Prince (Quarter Horse) and Gunny (Paint), a Jack Russell named Ginger, Gracie the cat and enjoys multiple large fish aquariums at home.

Erin Wickham
Office Manager

Erin Wickham

For as long as she can remember, Erin has wanted to work in the veterinary field. By the time high school came along, she was taking all the science and math classes that could fit into her schedule. After studying animal science in college, she returned to the Effingham area and started working in veterinary clinics. Erin has been helping pets as a veterinary professional for 17 years!

Erin grew up south of Dieterich and attended the University of Illinois to receive her degree. She worked with Dr. Ishmael for nine years at another pet hospital, and jumped at the opportunity to work with her again when she heard that Advanced Veterinary Care was opening.

Erin began here at the clinic in January of 2015. Erin, her husband Kevin, and their two boys, Jacob and Wade, share their home with a cat named Gracie, 2 Labrador Retrievers named Trigger and Cami, and a Bernese Mountain Dog named Whitney. As a family, they enjoy duck and goose hunting, boating, and camping.

Alicia Barnick
Veterinary Technician

Alicia Barnick

Alicia grew up outside of Neoga, Illinois on Lake Mattoon. She attended Murray State University, where she received her Bachelor’s degree in animal health technology and became a certified Veterinary Technician.

Alicia’s favorite part of the day is seeing a happy, healthy animal walk out the door into the arms of their loving owner. Working closely with Dr. Ishmael and seeing a case all the way through is extremely rewarding for her!

At home, Alicia, her husband Brock and two daughters, Harper and Tayleigh live with a yellow lab named Tucker. Together, they enjoy camping and spending time in the great outdoors.

Mackenzie Hammer
Veterinary Technician

Mackenzie Hammer

Mackenzie grew up just outside of Altamont, IL and started at AVC in 2016.

In 2016, she graduated with an Associates Degree in Applied Science at Kaskaskia college through the Southern Illinois Collegiate Common Market Veterinary Technician program that was in Herrin, IL and became a Certfied Veterinary Technician.

In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, friends, Yorkie (Sophie) and doing anything outside such as boating, camping or horse ridding down south.

Emily Hammer
Veterinary Technician

Emily Hammer

Emily was born and raised in Altamont, IL.

After graduating high school, she went into the Kaskaskia Veterinary Technology program through the Southern Collegiate Common Market in Herron, IL. She graduated in 2016 with an associates degree and has been working at Advanced Veterinary Care ever since.

Emily has two cats, Socks and Boots, and two lab retriever mixes, Jake and Katie. In her free time, she enjoys hunting, boating, and four wheeler riding with her fiancé, Sam.

Emily Westfall
Receptionist

Emily Westfall

Emily grew up in Watson, Illinois on a small farm where she fell in love with animals at a young age. She graduated from Murray State University in 2016 with a Bachelors of Science in Animal Science, with an emphasis in large animals. Since graduating, Emily has worked for Shadbolt Cattle Company in Nebraska working with both cattle and horses. In 2017, Emily served as Miss Rodeo Illinois and traveled over 20,000 miles promoting the western way of life and rodeo.

Emily currently competes in the International Professional Rodeo Association, as well as at local rodeos in barrel racing. In her spare time, Emily’s passion is in training horses and teaching lessons about proper horsemanship techniques and proper animal care.

Cameron Hennigh
Kennel and Barn Technician

Cameron Hennigh

Cameron Hennigh grew up in Southern Illinois, but moved back to where she was born, Central Illinois, in 2009. Cameron has always had a passion for animals, growing up with many dogs, cats, and horses. She graduated from Lake Land College in 2018 with a degree in Marketing.

Cameron has worked at Advanced Veterinary Care since December of 2016. She started out as a Kennel Technician but added on Barn Technician in the spring of 2018. She enjoys taking care of the hospitalized patients and assisting the techs and doctors in whatever they may need in the morning hours of the week. In the afternoon and evening she can be found out at Dr. Ishmael’s barn cleaning stalls and monitoring horses that have been hospitalized.

Cameron currently resides in the Effingham area. In her time off, Cameron enjoys taking photographs, riding her horse, Okie, and Ranch Sorting.