We are committed to your pet’s health

Our team consists of highly skilled veterinary doctors, veterinary nurses, and assistants. We are knowledgeable and experienced, and we provide the very best medical care for your pet. Because we care, the humane and loving treatment of your pet is our top priority. Each member of our team is trained to provide you with the best possible care when handling your pet.

Education is a key component to our success. Continuing education keeps our team updated with current and innovative veterinary products and techniques. We strive to provide client education and enhance client/pet relations while providing excellent health care services. Our entire team, from administrators to nurses to doctors, is committed to providing your pet with the care needed to live a long and happy life.


Veterinarians care for the health of animals and work to protect public health. They diagnose, treat, and research medical conditions and diseases of pets, livestock, and other animals

Dr. Kandra L. Jones, DVM

Dr. Kandra Jones is a Jacksonville native. She graduated from the University of Florida in 1974 and continued her education at Auburn College of Veterinary Medicine where she graduated in the top 3% of her class in 1978. She established Mandarin Veterinary Clinic in 1985. Her pursuit of excellence in the treatment of small animals, utilization of the latest technology and standards of care have placed Mandarin Veterinary Clinic among the top 12% of hospitals in the United States as certified by the American Animal Hospital Association meeting the most rigid standards of care and treatment of small animals.

The Clinic has won 1st place in the Regional Dental Awareness Program every year since 2004. Dr. Jones’s primary specialties are in the areas of internal medicine, dermatology, and dentistry. She donates time to local pet charities and participates in spay-neuter programs to control pet overpopulation as well as organizing and leading two spay-neuter projects in the Bahamas.

Dr. Jones has served on the State of Florida Board of Veterinary Medicine since 1988 and is Chairperson of its Committee on Standards of Care. Further, she is a member of the American Animal Hospital Association, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Florida Veterinary Medical Association, and the Jacksonville Veterinary Medical Society.

Dr. Taylor M. Bernardo, DVM

Dr. Taylor Bernardo was born and raised in Miami, Florida, where she spent her middle and high school years volunteering with animals. She became passionate about veterinary medicine and pursued a Bachelor of Science Degree in Animal Sciences at the University of Florida.  She then moved to the small Caribbean Island of Grenada, to attend St. George’s University, School of Veterinary Medicine. After graduating in June of 2020, Dr. Bernardo went on to pursue an additional year of training as a Small Animal Rotating Intern at Blue Pearl Pet Hospital in Gainesville, Florida. During her Internship, she focused on Emergency Medicine, Internal Medicine, Orthopedic and Soft Tissue Surgery. Her appreciation for Preventative Care and continued desire to grow finally lead Dr. Bernardo to Mandarin Veterinary Clinic in August of 2021!

Her current areas of interest include Dermatology, Oncology and Cardiology. Outside of the Hospital, Dr. Bernardo enjoys going to the beach, going to the gym, hiking and doting on her two cats with her fiancé. She looks forward to becoming more involved in both the veterinary and local community as she settles into the Jacksonville area.

Hospital Administration

Jennie Gagnon, Hospital Administrator

Jennie has been working with us since October of 2000. She was born and raised in Ocala and moved to Jacksonville in 1999 to attend the University of North Florida. In 2003, she graduated with a degree in Criminal Justice but decided to stay at Mandarin Veterinary Clinic and follow her passion for animals. Jennie is a proud Navy wife and a devoted mother to her three children Dakota, Connor, and Randie.

Jennie’s areas of responsibility encompass veterinary practice administration, operational plans, training of staff, funds and resource management, data automation, staffing, safety and security, and the review/evaluation/analysis of the past performance of the practice.  Jennie strives to effectively use all available resources to provide the best possible patient care to animals treated by the hospital.  She understands the critical balance between the administrative and clinical functions in the veterinary health care delivery system and possesses the ability to coordinate and control programs and resources to achieve this balance.

Jennie enjoys camping, fishing, boating, swimming and spending time outdoors with her family.  She also enjoys cooking, reading and taking naps!  Jennie and her family have an English Pointer, Duke, and three cats, Binks, Jabba and Gremlin.

Kaitlyn Heselschwerdt, Administrative Assistant

Kaitlyn has lived in Fleming Island for most of her life and has recently moved out. She will graduate with her B.S. in Business Organizational Supervision and Management in the Spring of 2022 from St. John’s River State College.

Kaitlyn is responsible for assisting the hospital administrator to keep things organized and running on the business side of the office.

When Kaitlyn isn’t working, she enjoys reading, walking on nature trails with her dog, photography, traveling, hunting, fishing, camping, binge-watching Netflix and spending time with family and friends. Kaitlyn is a dog mom to a Dachshund/Jack Russel Mix, Litlun  and a Golden Retriever, Ellie Rose.”

Nurse Department

Veterinary nursing is the supportive care of animals receiving treatment within a veterinary practice. A veterinary nurse works as a member of the veterinary team, providing expert nursing care for sick animals. Veterinary nurses also play a significant role in educating owners on maintaining the health of their pets.

Shannon Menke, Lead Nurse

Shannon was born and raised in Edina, Minnesota. In 2004, she made the move to Jacksonville, Florida and started at the University of North Florida. She graduated from UNF in 2007 with a B.A. in Sociology and a minor in Social Welfare. While attending school, she worked as a veterinary technician gaining experience assisting doctors with surgeries, emergency situations, patient exams, laboratory tests and many other aspects of veterinary medicine.

Shannon’s passion has always been working with and helping animals, so in February 2016, she gladly accepted the position as a lead nurse at Mandarin Veterinary Clinic. She is ready and eager to assist Dr. Jones and continue her career in the veterinary field.

When not at work, Shannon enjoys spending time with friends, going to the pool, hiking and being outside as much as possible enjoying the Florida sunshine. If not outside, she’s usually enjoying some quiet time watching a movie or reading. She also spends a lot of time cheering on FSU, her favorite team, GO NOLES!! She has 3 four-legged family members at home: Mac, a Lab mix, and two cats Moose and Cleo (aka Kitten).

Jacob Luten, Veterinary Nurse

Jacob was born and raised in Jacksonville Florida. He graduated from Jacksonville University with a B.A. in Fine Arts concentrating on glassblowing. During his time at school, he helped foster and find homes for rescue animals.

Ever since he was a kid he was surrounded by animals. When he first started school, he originally wanted to be a vet but discovered a love for glassblowing. After graduation, he rediscovered his love of taking care of animals and helping whoever he can when needed.

When Jacob is not working, he enjoys a calm life with his friends playing cards or board games, otherwise, he is watching tv or a good movie. He has two dogs, Ellie a shorthair collie mix, and Willow a dachshund mix. He also has two beautiful guinea pigs, Pancake and Waffle.

Sierra Middleton, Veterinary Nurse

Sierra was born and raised in Jacksonville. She will graduate with her A.A. in the Fall of 2021 and hopes to further her education after that. She loves working with animals and aspires to become a veterinarian one day. Growing up, she was surrounded by many animals and became passionate in caring for them.

Sierra happily owns a dog, two cats and two ferrets. She enjoys going to the dog park with Gus, because it is fun to watch him run, swim and play with other dogs. She also has three aquariums filled with bettas, dojo loaches, glass catfish, shrimp and snails. She also enjoys to garden, but since she lives in an apartment most of her plants are in pots. She looks forwards to coming to work and helping the animals, each one holds a special place in her heart.

Reception Department

A veterinary receptionist is a receptionist who works for a veterinarian. Like any other receptionist, a vet receptionist has to be able to handle basic duties such as answering phones, opening mail, collect payments from customers before they leave the office and check people in for appointments, and must be familiar and comfortable around cats, dogs, and other household pets.

Libby Murphy, Lead Receptionist

Libby initially joined Mandarin Veterinary Clinic in 2006 and worked for us until 2013. She left us for a few years, graduated from FSCJ with honors and received her AA. Afterwards, Libby excitedly rejoined Mandarin Veterinary Clinic in 2019.

She grew up in El Paso, Texas, and moved to Tallahassee, Florida after graduating. She has four grown children, three sons, Tom, Scott, and Jamie, and one daughter, Samantha. She has six grandchildren, Adrian, Gabriella, Payton, Brycelyn, Samantha and Santiago. Libby also has one dog, Snoopy, a Chihuahua mix.

Libby is often the first smiling face that greets you when you bring your pet to the hospital, or just come in for a question. She is also the friendly voice you hear on the phone when you call the hospital. Libby keeps track of your furry family members’ appointments and reminders. She helps all of us remember that this practice is focused on the care of your family members and as such, we want everyone to feel comfortable and welcome inside our doors.

When Libby isn’t working, she enjoys spending time with her family, and watching college football. GO FLORIDA STATE SEMINOLES! She also has a third degree black belt in Taekwondo.

Shannon McLaughlin, Receptionist

Shannon has worked at Mandarin Veterinary clinic since March 2002. She works hard at maintaining the patient files, stocking supplies and ensuring that the pet waiting rooms are clean and comfortable for our four-legged clients. Shannon has overcome many obstacles in her life, one of which is being born with cerebral palsy. This has not prevented her from achieving many lifelong goals. With the help of her co-workers and job coach, she has realized her primary goal of working with animals.

In addition to working at Mandarin Veterinary Clinic, Shannon also enjoys competitive swimming, karate, YMCA exercise, cheering on the FSU football team and spending time with family and friends.

Megan Allen, Receptionist

Megan was born in Saint Mary’s, Georgia and recently moved to Jacksonville. She graduated with her Associates in Arts in General Education at Florida State College of Jacksonville and then furthered her education to Keiser University for her Associates in Science as a Physical Therapy Assistant. Megan is a dog mom to an energetic Pitbull Mix, Denver.

Megan is one of the many friendly faces that you will see when walking into the clinic. She is responsible for answering phones, scheduling appointments, checking clients in and out, filing and collecting payment from clients.

When Megan isn’t working, she enjoys walks with her dog, going to the beach or pool, binge-watching Netflix, catching up on sleep and spending time with family and friends.