Golden Valley Veterinary Clinic commits to community and animal care with new state-of-the-art clinic – Agweek
Editor’s note: This is the first in an ongoing series on veterinary care in the region.
PARK RIVER, ND – Dr. Nathan Kjelland built Golden Valley Veterinary Clinic’s new animal hospital around a commitment to quality animal care and a sense of responsibility to the rural communities it serves.
Kjelland and his wife, Britt Jacobson, opened an 11,000 square foot large and small animal clinic west of Park River in January 2022. The couple moved to the clinic from a rural area seven miles from Park River where Kjelland had been practicing since 2009, first as a clinic employee and later as co-owner.
“Building this clinic has been scary, it’s exciting,” Jacobson said. “The scary thing about building is the complexity of a medical facility. There are so many parts that aren’t part of a standard build.
This includes equipping the clinic with several generators, some for short-term power outages and some for long-term power outages, and inserting lead between the walls of the imaging room of the Jacobson’s clinic and office to provide radiation protection.
One of the exciting things about the clinics is their benefit to the Park River community, Jacobson said. The clinic provides professional employment in the city and also makes it a destination for people who would otherwise not be able to come to Park River.
“These customers often stop elsewhere in town and spend money in those places as well,” she said.
“It’s a huge addition to Park River, just the fact that there’s design everywhere. They have great staff working there,” said Dan Stenvold, Mayor of Park River. “It’s fantastic I’m glad they chose Park River.
The Park River clinic has approximately five times the space of the old clinic and will allow Kjelland, Dr. Casey Wollangk and future vets to work safely and have more space to treat and, if necessary , accommodate large and small animals.
The small animal section of the clinic includes several animal examination rooms, separate quarters for housing dogs and cats, as well as surgery and dental rooms.
Meanwhile, the clinic’s large animal area has an overhead gate so livestock owners can pull their trailers inside to unload their animals, a series of sturdy fences with gates that ensure humans and animals are safe and a slide that tips over to the side,
The new clinic’s technology and equipment are helping farmers and ranchers take better care of their livestock, said Karissa Daws, owner of Grassy Meadow Ranch near Michigan, North Dakota, with her husband, Dave . Daw’s favorite feature at the clinic is the hydraulic squeeze chute.
“It’s so much safer for the cows and for the employees to have a cow with a sore foot. It holds them properly,” Daws said.
The crush cage was on the list of “must have” items that Kjelland made when planning the clinic.
“A drop like this doesn’t allow us to do things in a safer way, but it will help us attract vets who are looking for mixed (hands-on) animals because they will feel it’s something we can do in safely,” Kjelland said.
The equipment and safety features at Golden Valley Veterinary Clinic’s large animal area will benefit not only its veterinarians, but also its clients and their clients’ livestock, Kjelland said.
“One of the big things we wanted to do with the new facility was to move those cows and not risk hurting ourselves. Anytime you work with cows or horses — or dogs and cats — they’re unpredictable,” Kjelland said. “You meet a lot of them when they are worried about something, so allowing us to do that safely was key.”
The clinic also includes an obstetrical chute that allows veterinarians and clinic technicians to attend large animal births.
“It’s easier to get up at 2 a.m., if you’re indoors and it’s well lit and heated, than if you’re deep in a barn 20 below,” he said. -he declares.
The new clinic is “incredible,” said Dan Ryba, who operates an Angus cow-calf operation with his father, Joe. The Rybas have made several trips to the clinic this spring, and they appreciate the opportunity to drive inside the clinic to unload their livestock, he said.
“We have been taking animals to Golden Valley Vet since he (Kjelland) started his operation. We’ve had nothing but the best service, the best quality care,” Ryba said.
The new clinic has been designed not only with the safety features, equipment and technology that will help Kjelland and Wollangk give small and large animals the best possible veterinary care, but also with the veterinarians the clinic hopes to recruit.
Like almost every veterinary clinic in the United States, Golden Valley would like to hire more veterinarians. The clinic serves clients within an 80-mile radius of the Park River which runs north to the Canadian border and south to Nelson County.
Kjelland and Wollangk are called upon to provide necessary services to customers, including being on call for emergencies, Kjelland said.
“We need an absolute minimum,” he said. “Casey (Wollangk) and I are really limited in what we can track. It’s really stressful to think you don’t have the needs met for things that happen during the day.”
At the same time, Kjelland knows it’s important for the mental health of Wollangk, himself, and the rest of the Golden Valley Veterinary Clinic staff to be able to take time off so they don’t suffer from burnout.
“Mental health is kind of a hot issue in the veterinary community,” Kjelland said.
Adding a veterinarian would both benefit the clients the clinics serve and help distribute the workload and alleviate stress for Kelland and his staff.
Kjelland pursued several avenues for recruiting veterinarians, including advertising in state and national veterinary publications, connecting with veterinary college students, and registering his clinic opening at colleges.
“Anything I can think of along these roads,” he said.
Attracting vets to large animal practices is especially difficult because veterinary schools encourage their students to develop specialties so they have expertise in certain areas, Kjelland said.
Kjelland, however, prefers the variety of patients he can see in his mixed practice.
“I love that I work on a cat, then I work on a dog, then I work on a horse, then I work on a cow, then I work on something weird thrown in there,” Kjelland said. “Every day is just a little different, and that helps keep it interesting,”
Kjelland’s love for the community of Park River, where he grew up, is another reason he chose to have a coeducational practice and why it is worth investing in with a new clinic.
He is confident that eventually there will be more veterinarians working at the Golden Valley Veterinary Clinic.
“I bet on the future. It’s what I want to do and where I want to live, and I don’t think I’m the only one,” Kjelland said.