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Dr. Rachel Kelly Klemawesch

Staff Veterinarian - D.V.M.

When she was six years old, Dr. Rachel Kelly Klemawesch told her grandmother that she was going to grow up to be a veterinarian. She is a former military brat who lived in many states throughout the U.S., as well as in the former West Germany, as a young child and teen. She graduated from Stuttgart American High School in Germany before going on to Auburn University in Alabama. She is a double alumnus of Auburn (War Eagle!), earning a Bachelor of Arts in German before being awarded a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 1996.

At the end of veterinary school, Dr. Klemawesch completed a preceptorship with Dr. Don Harris, a renowned avian specialist in Miami, Florida, then spent the first years of her veterinary career working in a privately owned group of small animal hospitals in the Fort Lauderdale/Miami area. She began overseeing medical protocols, technical staff, and veterinarians in Gulf Breeze, Florida as a Medical Director of National Pet Care Centers (a small corporation that became part of VCA), transferring to Tampa/St. Petersburg in 2004.

Dr. Klemawesch particularly enjoys internal medicine, soft tissue surgery, emergency medicine, and behavior. Her newest area of concentration is veterinary ultrasound. She is a graduate of the North American Veterinary Post Graduate Institute’s Intermediate and Advanced Animal Behavior Programs, and has been helping pets with behavior problems since 2006. She completed the Small Animal Veterinarian Ultrasound Imaging Program (in abdominal and cardiac ultrasound) at the Soundvet Academy of Veterinary Imaging in 2017-2018.

Video: "Dr. Rachel Klemawesch" (1:16)

Video Transcript »

My dad was in the military and we moved throughout my childhood every 2 to 3 years, so every time I had to start over with new schools and new friends. But my dog and my cat were the constant. They were always the friends that were there that would move with us and be there when I got home and when I didn’t know anybody else at school.

This is Doody and this is Luna, and they are Chihuahuas. They are just—both very very sweet dogs.

Veterinary visits can be pretty scary for some pets. If we can make that as fear free of an experience as possible, it helps us to help them to lead healthy lives, and so it’s really important to try to minimize any fear and do happy visits for me with my patients.

I’ve wanted to be a veterinarian my entire life, or at least as long as I have known what that was. My grandmother said that I was 6 years old when I first told her that that’s what I wanted to do, and there’s just nothing else I’ve ever had any desire to do.


Dr. Klemawesch is particularly passionate about how improved access to high-quality diagnostic ultrasound increasingly allows veterinarians to diagnose complex diseases in a noninvasive manner. At the beginning of her career, many of these conditions required exploratory surgery for diagnosis, or referral to veterinary specialists that were often not available in an urgent time frame.

Dr. Klemawesch is a recipient of the Florida Veterinary Medical Association’s (FVMA) 2015 Gold Star Award. The Gold Star Award recognizes those who have dedicated a great deal of their time and energy to the organization and to local veterinary associations for outstanding work to advance veterinary medicine, animal health, and the bond between humans and animals. Previously, Dr. Klemawesch served on the Animal Advisory Committee for Hillsborough County, and as president of the Pinellas County Veterinary Medical Association. Currently, she is the District 4 Representative on the FVMA Executive Board and is on the Pinellas Animal Foundation’s board of directors.

Outside veterinary medicine, Dr. Klemawesch enjoys spending time with family and friends, and she loves to garden, cook, and read. She and her husband have two little girls; three dogs, two Chihuahuas named Doody and Luna, and a rat terrier/Italian greyhound mix named Ferris (turning 20 in January 2020!); a trick-trained Siamese cat named Kittibun; and a Green Wing Macaw named Elmo, who Dr. Klemawesch adopted 23 years ago as a baby with a broken leg and developmental abnormalities. She also shares a Chihuahua with her parents, who fell in love with Sonic after Dr. Klemawesch recently adopted him.

Meet our other veterinarians: Dr. Mark Scribano, Dr. Ginger Benham, and Dr. Melissa Feldman