Together our staff members, each with their individual talents and interests, are able to provide your pet with expert care.

Donald Loden, DVM, CVA, CVPP

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I am privileged to be able to fulfill my childhood dream everyday. At six years of age, I told my parents I was going to be an animal doctor; I could not say “veterinarian” due to a speech impediment. My focus has never wavered from the dream. I was told I did not possess the capabilities to attend a university successfully, and certainly not a professional school. I persisted forward with encouragement from my family, especially my mother. Perseverance and determination blessed me with acceptance into Texas A&M’s School of Veterinary Medicine where I completed my childhood dream. For now over thirty years, I have been able to arise and go to work, daily having the opportunity to make the difference in an animal’s life.

In addition to providing standard medical and surgical care, I have developed several areas of special interest. Animal dentistry is one of these areas. I have learned how to perform advanced dental procedures such as root canals and periodontal surgical procedures. Recently, I have become very interested in preventative medicine and early detection of developing diseases in older animals. As solid protocols are developed for these older patients, we can expect to increase quality of life as well as life expectancy for our older patients. I also am certified in veterinary acupuncture and pain management.

Dr. Loden grew up in central Texas, graduated from Gatesville High School, attended Texas A&M University where he received a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science. When he began veterinary school at Texas A&M, Dr. Loden intended to be a large animal veterinarian. As he began his professional training, he relished the challenges of internal medicine and began solving the medical problems of dogs and cats. He changed his training focus and directed his attention to small animal medicine.

In 1979, Dr. Loden completed his veterinary doctorate at Texas A&M University-College of Veterinary Medicine. He joined the staff at Rutty Animal Hospital in Port Arthur, Texas, and after a year of practice felt the desire to return to the university for residency training(veterinarians are not required to do a residency- it is optional). He remains driven by the desire to improve his skills, and pursues his intern year at Purdue Univerisity, completing an internship in medicine and surgery while working with some of the top specialists in veterinary medicine. Next, he moves to Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine to do a residency in small animal internal medicine. At KSU, Dr. Loden was exposed to exotic medicine in which he began to develop yet another interest.

Dr. Loden’s career then took a new twist. A group of veterinarians from the Houston area, who desired to start an animal emergency hospital, selected Dr. Loden to manage and to run this specialty clinic. During the years at the Southwest Emergency Clinic, Dr. Loden had the opportunity to continue his training in exotic medicine. Dr Paulette Andrews, who was well recognized in the Houston area for her knowledge in exotic medicine, began working with Dr. Loden and helped him advance his knowledge in exotic medicine.

In 1985, Dr. Loden arrived in Joplin to assume the responsibility for the newly named Cornerstone Animal Hospital. Dr Loden begin providing care for dogs, cats, and exotic animals.

Dr. Loden believes continuing education and advanced training is very important in order to provide quality care for his patients. While Dr. Loden is required to complete ten hours of continuing education each year, he completes well over forty hours each year. He is a member of the Missouri Academy of Veterinary Practitioners – a small group of veterinarians committed to continuing education, requiring its members to complete at least forty hours of continuing education yearly.

Dr. Loden has a strong interest in working with older patients. He has found many of the chronic conditions of the older patient to be challenging to manage, as well as providing adequate pain management with conventional medications. Often, these patients require multiple medications that the patient were not able to tolerate well due to medication interactions or the function of their major organs (kidneys, liver, or heart).

In 2010, he began to study alternative forms of medicine, and to train in the art of acupuncture under the direction of the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society. In June 2011, Dr. Loden completed all the requirements of the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society to become a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist (CVA). Dr. Loden uses acupuncture regularly to treat pain and increase muscle mass as well as help manage many chronic diseases.

In 2012, Dr Loden completed the requirements of the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management to become a Certified Veterinary Pain Practitioner (CVPP). Dr Loden uses traditional medicine with alternative medicine tp relieve and prevent suffering in his patients

In addition, he is the father of eight children and nineteen grandchildren. He is actively involved with his local church and the lives of his children and grandchildren. In his spare time fishing is always available.


Rebecca Conrad, DVM

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Diagnostic radiography has always been an area of special interest for Dr. Conrad. In addition to providing standard veterinary service, Dr. Conrad is responsible for many of the behind the scene management details. While both Dr. Loden and Dr. Conrad are involved in exotic medicine, only Dr. Conrad is involved in aquatic medicine. On the opposite extreme, Dr. Conrad visits the homes of selected clients and friends to care for their horses.

Dr. Conrad grew up in central Kansas on a grain and livestock farm. After graduating from Haven High School in 1975, she attended Kansas State University and entered the College of Veterinarian Medicine where she obtained her degree as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 1981. She completed an internship year in radiology at KSU. Next, she joined Dr. Loden as part of the veterinary staff at the Southwest Emergency Hospital in Stafford, Texas. In 1985, she arrived in Joplin to partner with Dr. Loden at Cornerstone Animal Hospital.

Dr. Conrad believes that in order to offer the latest and current therapy for her patients, continuing education and advanced training is very important. While Dr. Conrad is required to complete ten hours of continuing education each year, she completes well over thirty hours each year while only working part-time.

Dr Conrad background and interest is diagnostic imaging. She reviews radiographs for Dr Loden and Dr Scorse regularly. All diagnostic ultrasounds are performed by Dr. Conrad.

In addition to working at Cornerstone, Dr. Conrad, like Dr. Loden, is busy in the lives of their eight children and playing with nineteen grandchildren.



Stephanie Stroud, DVM, CCRP

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“You’d make a great vet” they said. “No,” I thought to myself. “I want to work with people.” My focus had always been on people. I love to see them smile, I love to make them laugh, and I am so honored when I get to walk beside them in the hard times – even if that meant shedding tears. Little did I realize that all of that was exactly what veterinary medicine was all about. I started pursuing my passion in veterinary medicine when I happened to land a college summer job in a veterinary hospital right after the Joplin tornado in 2011.

That summer, I got to see the pure joy as the hospital was able to reunite lost pets with their family and I also got to experience the sorrow as good news was not always deliverable. It was through that experience that I was able to see just how much I would be able to work with and serve people through veterinary medicine. And so began the lifelong passion that would pair my God given talent to work with animals with my ultimate desire to serve and love people.

From preventative medicine to dentistry to surgery to internal medicine to geriatric care, I enjoy it all. I know that your pets are part of your family, and I want to do everything I can to provide the best quality care to ensure a long quality life for both them and all the members of your family. I have an even higher interest in rehabilitation medicine, which is why I pursued further training and became certified as a Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner. I am overjoyed to be able to the director of Cornerstone’s Physical Rehabilitation Department.

This new field of rehabilitation and rehabilitation medicine is huge. Painful and arthritic patients, neurologic patients, post-operative patients, and agility training patients…so many animals are going to benefit and have an improved quality of life.

I grew up in Southwest Missouri, graduated from Joplin High School, attended Missouri State University in Springfield, and completed my Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Missouri in Columbia. Similarly to my colleagues at Cornerstone, I believe continuing education and advanced training is necessary in order to be able to provide quality care for patients in a quickly advancing veterinary field. I am committed to getting at least forty hours each year, but I often get more.

Outside of being a veterinarian, I am married and thoroughly enjoy spending time with my husband. I look forward to how God will continue to grow my family. My husband and I enjoy spending time outdoors hiking and kayaking.



Leah Barks, DVM

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(Start Date: May 25, 2021)
I was born in Arkansas then moved to Rolla, MO when I was in elementary school. I graduated from Rolla High School and attended Westminster College where I worked towards obtaining my Biology degree. I achieved early acceptance into the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine in 2017 and graduated with my Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine in May 2021. I have been blessed throughout my journey to have endless support from my family and friends.

I have known from a very young age that I wanted to pursue a career in veterinary medicine. My passion for this profession was continuously reaffirmed as I became more educated on what being a veterinarian entailed. I enjoy the challenge of putting the puzzle pieces of each patient’s clinical presentation together to come up with a diagnosis and treatment plan. I love the satisfaction of seeing patients improve after quality care.

Throughout veterinary school, my focus of interest has been in providing care for small and exotic animals. While I love all areas of veterinary medicine, I am particularly excited about furthering my knowledge in the areas of exotic animal medicine, ophthalmology, and rehabilitation. I am looking forward to using my recent skills and knowledge to provide optimal care for your pets as well as strengthen the human-animal bond. Veterinary medicine is a continuously evolving field, so I am committed to advancing my knowledge through continuing education and self-research. In my free time, I enjoy hiking, hanging out with my dog Ollie, tending to my wide variety of plants, and doing yoga. I am so grateful for the opportunity to care for your pets, and I look forward to growing and learning more at Cornerstone Animal Hospital.




Linda Shilling Scorse, DVM

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As January 1, 2021, Dr. Schilling is not actively involved in seeing patients. She is still part of the staff involved in hospital activities and sharing information and discussion of cases.

Dr. Linda Shilling Scorse is a graduate of Diamond High School, MSSU, and the College of Veterinary Medicine at University of MO. She is married to Daniel Scorse, a retired Jasper Co. Sheriff Dept. Deputy. Dr. Scorse and Dan own four Border Collies: Elly May, Tailor, Taz, and Tinz. Dr. Scorse competes all over the Midwest in dog agility competitions. Tailor was rescued from the Carthage Humane Society and received two MACH titles (the highest AKC title earned in agility). Taz has earned four MACH titles and is currently working on his fifth title. Both dogs have qualified to go to AKC Nationals competition multiple times. The Scorse’s also have three house cats: Tux, a DLH, and Ocicats—Dizzy and Indy.

In order to provide high quality care for her patients, Dr. Scorse obtains over fifty hours of continuing education each year. She has been a member to the Missouri Academy of Veterinary Practitioners since 1991. She also served as Vice President and President of MAVP. Dr. Scorse has been involved in organized veterinary medicine for the past twenty years, having served on the Mo. Veterinary Medical board and as the Missouri delegate to the House of Delegates, the policy making arm of the AVMA.

Dr. Scorse is a member of Joplin Daybreak Rotary and Joplin Area Business Club. She is a board member of the Mo. 4-H Foundation. Dr. Scorse and Dan attend Racine Christian Church.

Rachel, B.A, Office Manager

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I never dreamed that I would become the office manager for Cornerstone Animal Hospital. I started working for the practice in junior high as kennel help with my main responsibility being cleaning. After a time, I moved into a role as a veterinary assistant; I helped the doctors and other technicians in the care of the pets. My most memorable experience was holding a very large gobbler (male turkey) for Dr. Loden. As he worked, the turkey suddenly starting gobbling (vocalizing) in my face. I was terrified, but I held onto the turkey until the task was complete. While in college, I had the opportunity to start working as a receptionist which gave me an opportunity to work with our many different clients. I realized I loved working with people as well as their pets. I also became interested in learning about time management of staff ; this provides timely care for all of our patients. When I graduated from college, Dr. Loden and Dr. Conrad both recognized my gift in management and offered me the position of office manager. I am currently training to be a Certified Veterinary Practice Manager (CVPM). One of my many responsibilities is daily staff organization in order to be serve you, our clients, and your pets. I enjoy daily working and assisting you in providing care for your pet.


Rhonda, RVT

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Rhonda, a registered veterinary technician, part of the team since 2006, writes,

I have had a passion to work with animals since I was a young girl. I am eager to increase my knowledge about all species. I enjoy working with our team because we are close, like a family. Seeing animals and people grow brings me happiness; it is great to be a small part in the life changes of patients and their owners. I graduated from Crowder College as a Registered Veterinary Technician in 2006. I am married and had a son in July 2014; I also have two dogs and one cat. I tell my friends and family about every exciting day at work and plans on passing down many stories to my son. We laugh and cry together; we do our best to be the best at keeping your furry family member happy and healthy for as long as possible.



Allison, RVT

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Allison, a registered veterinary technician, writes,

I have always had a passion for animals ever since I was a little girl. After growing up with many different kinds of pets, and getting a chance to volunteer at a safari park for the summer in high school, I knew that I wanted to have a career that involved animals. After a lot of research, I decided to go to school at the Vet Tech Institute in Houston to become a Veterinary Technician. The school has a hands-on approach, and the majority of the teachers are Veterinary Technicians or Veterinarians. So, with everything we learned from the books, we also learned about how it happens in a actual veterinary working facility. I graduated in October 2019 with my Associates in Applied Science specializing in Veterinary Technology. I then came to Cornerstone in August 2020 and shortly afterwards became a licensed RVT (registered veterinary technician). Working here has allowed me to improve my skills, expand my knowledge, and grow as a person and technician. I love the people I work with and I love caring for all the little critters that come in here. When I am not working, I love baking, playing with my two cats at home, and going thrift store shopping.



Lacey, CVA

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Lacey, a certified veterinarian assistant writes,

What can I say!!! I love working with animals. I have wanted to work in an animal hospital since I was young. When I graduated from high school, I was not sure what to go next. Currently, I am a mother to three human children and four fur babies. I have a full house and love it. My childhood dream of working with animals was sidelined as I went to WTI to obtain my (Medial Assistant) RMA certification. After some time of working in the human medical field, I realized that I truly wanted to pursue my dream of working with animals. I have been able to work at Cornerstone Animal Hospital which has made this dream come true. I love animals and getting to work with them on a daily basis is worth more to me than words could ever express.


Keisha, CVA

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Keisha, a certified veterinarian assistant writes,

I have always had a major passion for animals and science since I was a little kid. Even though my career plan changed many times through the years, it always stayed in the animal science field. I was a member of FFA in high school and that led me to acquire certification as a veterinary assistant before I graduated from high school in 2016. I also needed to focus on my family for a while. Soon I was ready to get to work! I am so grateful that Cornerstone gave me the chance to return to doing what I love. I’ve never worked with such a caring and great group of people.


Tori, Veterinary Assistant

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Tori, a veterinary assistant writes,

Caring for animals has always been a passion of mine. Growing up I knew that I had to be in the veterinary field! From helping my grandparents on the farm to having my own fur baby today, my love for pets of all kinds is a huge part of my life. Cornerstone Animal Hospital has given me a life changing chance to make a difference, expand my knowledge, and help animals and their owners every day. Being able to show compassion and care with great team members has been a blessing. I am excited to see my love as a little girl turn into a great career!


Bailey, Veterinary Assistant

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Bailey, a veterinarian assistant writes,

Since I was young, I have always had a huge heart for animals. I told my parents, I wanted to be a veterinarian or work in that particular field. I honestly never imagined that I would get the chance to since I haven’t had the opportunity to work with animal handling since high school. Cornerstone Animal Hospital gave me the opportunity to work with animals and I am learning more and more every day! I’ve learned that in this field, you have to have a heart for the animals or it’ll be just another job. Knowing that I help animals of all kinds of species just makes me jump with joy! The other staff members and doctors I work with are such wonderful people and I am honored to be a part of this team!