Vet Clinic celebrates 50 years of business

Last week, West River Veterinary Clinic had all hands on deck for their 50th anniversary. Whether it was ranchers looking for the latest and greatest vaccines and hormones or young kids looking for some fun, West River Veterinary Clinic had something for everyone at the open house.

Frank Turner

 Kids were able to assist their favorite veterinarians in healing a stuffed toy in teddy bear surgery. Donned in full scrubs attire, 5 year-old Annie Wolf injected a stuffed animal with pretend shots, used a plastic stethoscope to listen to the teddy bear’s heartbeat, and put a plastic mask on the toy animal to apply fake anesthetic.
Temporary assistant Annie Wolf even watched groomer Myranda Kugel stitch together a wounded teddy bear using a surgical needle and suture.
The clinic had other fun activities for all ages including a “guess how many ticks are in the jar” game. Contestants were encouraged to gently shake a small vile of preserving liquid and count the number of preserved ticks in the jar.
Some engorged, grotesque ticks in the vile were nearly quarter sized.
According to one clinic employee, the vet clinic’s grooming department collects the ticks as they groom dogs and cats.
“When Myranda grooms dogs and even cats, she pulls them off when she finds them,” said the employee. “Then she puts them into the jar, and that is her collection.”
The vet clinic’s anniversary wasn’t all fun and games, however. They also made it a day of business by having an open house for animal product suppliers.
Suppliers from all over the region gathered at the clinic to give presentations to local ranchers on what their product did and how it was the best.
“We are probably one of the largest suppliers of animal product in the region. We provide a lot of product to this corner of two states,” said one of the business owners, Ethan Andress.
Andress said that business has grown immensely throughout the clinic’s 50 years.
“The original clinic was built in the 1970’s out by the airport. It is still there today,” he said. “The original clinic started out as a room or two and has since expanded multiple times.”
Even after many years of use, the original clinic is still utilized as a functional space for dog kennels and storage.
The old clinic also stands as a testament to how much the clinic has grown over the past 50 years. According to Andress, at one point, the clinic only had two full time veterinarians.
West River Vet Clinic adapted with the times and gradually added more small animal veterinary practice. This change, along with a supportive community, led to significant expansion at the clinic.
Today the clinic has five full-time veterinarians, two part time veterinarians, and 17 employees.
The new clinic itself is also evidence of the businesses rapid expansion. Andress described the original clinic as only two measly office rooms. Today, the current clinic has too many rooms to list. Innovations like a geothermal heating system, horse surgery room, and drive-through large animal pen system have led the business to new horizons.
“We took everything we didn’t like about the old clinic and changed it,” said Andress.
Although innovation has played a role in the clinic’s development, Andress ultimately attributed the business’s great 50 years of success to the community’s support.
“It’s been a tremendous 50 years of growth and it’s because of the support from our community,” he said.