The Christian County Veterinary Service team explains the importance of animal health

Given the high price of cattle these days, a veterinarian can be one of a producer’s most valued business partners.
That’s exactly what Dr. Darren Loula and associate Dr. Joe Evans of Christian County Veterinary Service, a mobile large-animal practice in Clever, Mo., are working for – to be an important member of the production team.
Some producers call a vet only when an animal is seriously ill or hurt. Others have learned a vet can improve production and ultimately put money in their pockets. “There’s always a place for diagnosis and treatment, but a lot of times prevention goes a lot further in terms of enhancing value,” Dr. Loula said. Their customized herd health plans include vaccinations, reproductive services, nutritional advice and pest control.
For example, pregnancy tests can save the producer the expense of maintaining nonpregnant animals through the winter. “If you can identify one out of 100 and save the producer the cost of maintaining that animal, then you’ve paid for the cost of checking all 100,” Dr. Loula pointed out.
Like many large-animal practitioners, Dr. Loula started his practice as one vet and his truck. Hours were long and his service area broad; within an hour’s drive of Clever there is a large concentration of livestock producers and few large-animal vets.
In June 2014, “We stretched a bit,” he said, and brought on new vet graduate, Dr. Joe Evans. The practice became two vets and two trucks. The expansion has allowed quality “home time” for each, as they alternate emergency calls that take them away from the family dinner table.
“There’s also the advantage of having someone else to bounce ideas off of. We work setparately, but if we see something not straightforward, we can talk about it. The answer may not always be clear cut,” said Dr. Loula. He gave the example of a recent surgery on a calf with a birth defect. Neither vet had this type of hands-on experience, but together they successfully treated the calf.
And, fresh from school, Dr. Evans was able to diagnose and treat horses with persimmon colic, using a new treatment protocol that Dr. Loula had not encountered. The colic resulted from horses eating too many of last fall’s large persimmon crop.
“Veterinary medicine is an ever-changing practice. There are always new drugs, new procedures, new ideas to apply. We see something different every day, and that keeps it interesting and exciting,” said Dr. Evans.
With 65 percent of their practice being cattle and 35 percent horses, the vets are accustomed to difficult calf or foal deliveries and other emergency care. But they emphasize developing that long-term, business partner relationship that allows them to work closely with producers, farriers, University of Missouri Extension personnel, Natural Resources Conservation Service and feed suppliers to maintain animal health, performance and profitability.
Later this year Christian County Veterinary Service won’t be exclusively mobile as it breaks ground for a clinic. That will allow the practice to offer small-animal care, an onsite hospital and recovery facility, same-day lab, X-ray and ultrasound tests, and products for purchase.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here