West River Veterinary Clinic opens new facility (Video & Photos)

Almost three years and $3 million later, West River Veterinary Clinic’s new location is now open. Located just east of Hettinger, the 12,000 sq. ft. facility offers more comfort for the animals and their owners, while giving the staff expanded space to operate.



By COLE BENZ
Herald Editor

Almost three years and $3 million later, West River Veterinary Clinic’s new location is now open. Located just east of Hettinger, the 12,000 sq. ft. facility offers more comfort for the animals and their owners, while giving the staff expanded space to operate.

Hundreds of community members flocked to get a first glimpse at the new building during the Grand Opening on Thursday, April 21. Medical and administrative staff were giving tours and handing out commemorative coffee cups. Beverages and treats were available and a lunch was served over the noon hour, with door prizes and giveaways distributed throughout the day.

The public got their first look at the new West River Veterinary Clinic on April 21 during their Grand Opening and ceremonial ribbon cutting. Hundreds came out for the day-long event. (Photo by Cole Benz/The Herald)
The public got their first look at the new West River Veterinary Clinic on April 21 during their Grand Opening and ceremonial ribbon cutting. Hundreds came out for the day-long event. (Photo by Cole Benz/The Herald)

Doctor Ethan Andress said the clinic has needed the new facility for about “five or six years.”

“We reached a point that we were having trouble getting things moved,” Andress said. “Our patients are going to see an amazing benefit.”

Doctor Lisa Henderson later echoed those same sentiments.

“We can see more clients, we had to really limit ourselves,” Henderson said. “In the old building we didn’t have enough rooms to actually do even just technician appointments.”

The entrance of the new clinic features a wide selection of retail pet and livestock products. Andress and Business Manager Brandt Hebert both said that the items on the new sales floor were actually housed at the old location, but everything was stuffed in empty spaces throught the building.

“About 90 percent of the stuff we have on display in our new retail area, we had at the old clinic,” Hebert said. “It was just in every closet, behind every door, it was stuck in cupboards.”

That’s not an issue at the new facility. With the open-floor entrance, the clinic will be able to increase their quantity and diversify their selection of pet and animal products.

Patrons can now come in and purchase products without interfering with the medical staff’s care routine. Hebert also said they may be able to accommodate special orders on products that aren’t on the shelves, assuming their distributors can supply it.

“So the ability to bring [the products] out to show people what we have is going to help us increase our sales volume,” Hebert said.

Off to the side of the retail space is a flex room. Staff said that it will serve multiple purposes including dog training and 4-H events.

The medical practices should become more efficient with the added space. The new building features four exam rooms separate from the surgical procedure area, preventing the occasional scheduling conflict that occurred at the previous building. At the old facility they had to perform both tasks in the same area, so the equipment required for more invasive procedures limited space for routine exams.

The building also has separate spaces for their pharmacy, radiology, lab work, and animal recovery—with separate kennels for cats and dogs. They also dedicated some space for a ‘comfort room’ where the medical staff can discuss a diagnosis with a client or perform euthanasia. They also have an expanded kennel area for their boarding service—each kennel features a door to the outside.

Clients with large animals and livestock will also see a big difference when heading to the veterinarian. They have designed the area to allow trucks to pull trailers right up to the building, at the old location the layout forced ranchers to back their long trailers into a smaller space.

“We made it more convenient, especially for the large animal aspect,” Henderson said. “Because you can actually drive the trailers in versus having to back up in a little parking lot in the back.”

Facilities in the back of the building have been built specifically for large animal care. This will allow the medical staff to care for the animals indoors during inclement weather.

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) State Director Ryan Taylor was present for the event (USDA provided West River Veterinary Clinic with a low interest loan to fund a portion of the project).

“I know this building, and these docs will make sure that your pets are well cared for, that your livestock is well cared for, [and] that your horses are well cared for,” Taylor said.

Now that the new clinic is finally a reality, Andress said he’s feeling “a whole bunch of emotions,” and said that part of it “is a sigh of relief” that the facility is finally finished.

“For me this project has been a part of years and years and years of growth,” Andress said. “So it’s all finally coming together, so the emotions are just hard to describe at this point.”

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