Dr. Brian Collins has an active practice and aids with herd health through the National Guard
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, major in the Army Reserve Veterinarian Corp, band member, singer, husband and father, Dr. Brian Collins of El Dorado Springs, Mo., wears a lot of hats.
Brian grew up on a dairy farm near Walnut Grove, Mo. Being on the family farm helped Brian develop his future career goals.
“I grew up with cows and wanted to have a dairy farm, but that didn’t pan out. I knew I wanted to make a living in a rural area and always include animals,” he said.
So, He went to the University of Missouri Veterinary School at Columbia, graduating in 1998. When a veterinary practice became available in the El Dorado Springs, Mo., area, he and his wife, Stacey, purchased it in 1999.
Brain and Stacey are a team, working together in the practice.
“We never know what a day will bring. Some days we not only go to farms, but we do some hogs, goats, sheep, horses, and dogs and cats (in the clinic),” Brian said. “I sometimes schedule two small animal surgeries and spend the rest of the day at farms.”
Brian has been in the Army Reserve for 10 years and wants to do 10 more.
He volunteered to deploy with a National Guard Agribusiness Development team and was attached to them. As part of the team, he goes to different countries and works with local farmers on herd health.
When he went to Afghanistan in 2011 and 2012, he worked mainly with goats as that is what is raised there.
“The language was not a barrier as we had an Afghan vet, a para-vet and an interpreter. It was a good deployment and was mostly appreciated. The mission is similar to what the Extension Service does. They grow amazing pomegranates and almonds there. You wouldn’t think they could grow anything what with the terrain and short water supply. We had a hydrologist to help teach them better ways of the use of water.”
In April 2018, he made a trip to Panama where he performed food and water risk assessments.
If Brian is deployed for extended periods of time, they hire part-time or a relief veterinarian so the clinic can remain open.
In addition to working with livestock, Brian also has worked with buffalo and declawed a bobcat, but he prefers cows. He also helped with the x-ray of a young elephant while still in veterinary school.
“That’s a whole different environment when you are in a cage with a baby elephant and it’s mother is fussing and fighting its chains not far away. You just hope the chains hold,” he said.
As a veterinarian, Brian works to ensure his patients receive the best treatment possible, which also means keeping up with technology.
He recently purchased a state-of-the-art ultrasound machine and is anxious to try it out, especially with goats as so many more people are getting into goat production.
The veterinary clinic is also equipped with a Titian West working chute, turn-table and alleys. They have a smaller portable chute they take to the farms.
Being a veterinarian can sometimes be dangerous work. Brian has gotten hurt while working, but only had to stop working one time; he broke a finger requiring surgery.
“Let’s face it, working with animals is high contact and you can expect to get roughed up a bit,” Brian said. “You just have to stay alert and not get complacent.”
Brain and Stacey have three children. Their oldest son, Cameron is 21 and is in his fourth year at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Mo. Their daughter, Kayla, 19, is a student at Missouri State University in Springfield, Mo., and Corban is 12 and in the seventh grade at El Dorado Springs.
All three of their children have experience being around animals and helping and have showed pigs, goats and cattle.
In addition to his veterinary practice and military service, Brad is active in his community. He served on the Land of Lakes Fair Board for many years and supports several other local groups. He’s played in a few bands and sings.
Dr. Collins has met a lot of different people the world over, but always appreciates coming back to his local practice in El Dorado Springs.