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Veterinary Voices September 2012

Hard Work Pays off for Carlson Family

Preparing for the County Fair doesn’t occur overnight. In fact, Jaden and Jared Carlson began the process last summer—a full year in advance—and their showing season is far from over. Once calves are born in the spring, they must be sorted and picked.

“We’ve done well in livestock judging at the State Fair,” said Jared. “We have lots of experience picking calves.”

That’s just the start.

Chores take this brother and sister team about two and a half hours to complete. Every day at 7:00 a.m. these two can be seen feeding, walking, washing and brushing their calves. In the intense heat of summer, they often wash and brush them twice a day. Records must also be kept of what the calves weigh, what they are fed and what type of care they receive. Not an easy feat when you consider Jaden and Jared are just as active off the farm as they are on it. Between sports, band, FFA, and 4-H, they have come to rely on each other.

In most siblings, this might cause trouble, but it doesn’t seem to bother Jared, who showed five 

animals. When asked how he performed at the Pipestone County Fair, he gave a slow smile and said, “All right.” Then, he grinned. “Jaden did a lot better than me though. She’s older and has more experience.”

Just how well did she do? In her own words, “Amazing!”

Initially worried about earning even one trip to the State Fair, Jaden, a senior at Pipestone Area High School, earned multiple trips. Her six animals earned her Reserve Champion in cow/calf, Showman, 4-H, FFA and Prospect Calf, as well as Champion Steer in FFA. Not a bad day for a year’s worth of work.

 

Meet the new faces at PVC

 

Brett, Kroeze, DVM

Every veterinarian comes to the field with a unique background and a special set of interests. For Dr.Brett Kroeze (pronounced cruise), his journey began on a dairy farm where he liked to watch the vets as they tended to his grandfather’s 100 head of cattle.

Interested in agriculture, Dr.Kroeze attended Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, for ag business and ended up riding along with a local vet for an assignment. The job of the day was posting, or the practice of opening animals and looking at the internal organs to check the abnormalities. Instead of finding the day’s work gruesome, it sparked Dr. Kroeze’s interest in veterinary science and played a role in changing his majors.

By the time he graduated from Iowa State vet school, Dr. Kroeze was ready to begin practicing in what he describes as an interesting and variable field, where each day is filled with something new. While Brett works mainly with bovine—beef and dairy—but you may occasionally see him tending to small animals in the clinic. “The variability is surprising. One day might look easy, but then you get bombarded.”He says this with a smile, as if it’s a good thing. And maybe it is. Especially since he gets to go home each night to his wife Kelly and nine month old daughter, Shelbi.

Although he’s only been on staff at PVC since the beginning of May, Dr. Kroeze speaks highly of the atmosphere within the clinic and suggests that anyone interested in the field of veterinary science should “just talk to us. You can ride along. That’s how I got interested.”

Adam, Schelkopf, DVM

It’s not every day that parents get to pass down more than the contents of their wallets or their genetics. Yet for Dr. Adam Schelkopf, veterinary science definitely runs in the family. A city boy from Dekalb, Illinois, Dr Schelkopf knew at a young age he wanted to join the veterinary lifestyle shared by his grandfather, father, great uncle, uncle and aunt. Animals were in his blood.

So much so, that on June 1, Dr. Schelkopf joined a new family of vets at PVC and PVCI.

As a newly-minted grad and associate vet, Dr. Schelkopf said he is being “fully indoctrinated into the culture of the clinic” and enjoys doing a little bit of everything. While he has a passion for beef and swine, he prefers the large scale population aspect of swine care. In addition, he enjoys working with the local swine producers, stating that they are “dedicated and passionate, making the job worthwhile.” Although he wasn’t involved in showing animals for FFA or 4-H as a child, Dr. Schelkopf said one of his favorite things so far was helping out at the Pipestone County Fair.

So how did an Illinois boy find his way across the states to PVC? Family connections, of course. Doc Kennedy and Dr. Schelkopf’s great uncle actually went to school together, while Dr. Cameron Schmitt is a close friend of Adam’s college professor. Adam received a two-week externship at PVC, effectively paving the way for his transition from one veterinarian family to the next.

 

Hercules: A Cancer Survivor

Hercules, a male mixed breed, began life in a cardboard box. His mother and litter mates had been abandoned and left to the fates when twelve year old Damian Weets found them on a routine trip to the recycling bin. Fourteen years later, Hercules is the poster child for chemotherapy.

Taken in by the Weets, Hercules and his small family were nursed back to health. His three siblings were given to good homes, while he and his mom took up residence with Damian, Steve and Jo. Until 2010, he was a picture of health. Then, a routine rub-down by Steve turned up lumps behind his legs.

A life-long patient of PVC, Hercules took a trip to the vet clinic to see Dr. Nicole Weber. A biopsy revealed that he had lymphoma. After an honest and in-depth conversation about their options, Steve and Jo decided to give chemotherapy a try.

Sixteen treatments later, Hercules received a clean bill of health. According to Jo, Hercules’ only reaction to the chemotherapy was the loss of his whiskers. This, Steve and Jo agreed upon, was due to Dr. Weber’s diligence in researching and understanding the cancer itself, as well as the treatment. They both know that without her quick action and honest assessment of the situation, Hercules would not be protecting their home today.

Yet, once a patient has been diagnosed and treated for cancer, the likelihood of a second cancer is increased. This was the case with Hercules, who was diagnosed with a second type of cancer in May of 2012. Again Dr. Weber offered her expertise and Hercules is undergoing another round of chemotherapy. Unlike his human counter-parts, Hercules seemed to be suffering no ill effects of his treatment. He pranced around, jumped on and off the bench and licked anyone’s hand who walked by. At the conclusion of his interview, Hercules took his leash in his mouth and led his owners outside where he’s free to enjoy the start of yet another season.

 

Pet Tips: Cancer in Pets

 

Lymphoma is an aggressive lymph node cancer that can spread quickly. When left untreated, pets with this type of cancer typically die within eight to twelve weeks of diagnosis due to the spread of the cancer. However, if chemotherapy is started, pets with lymphoma have a better chance of survival.

Chemotherapy in pets uses the same medications as chemotherapy in people, however, the side effects differ greatly. Dogs rarely have their hair fall out, get tired, lose weight or vomit. Like humans, pets can also go into remission and remain cancer free for the remainder of their lives. They may also be more susceptible to future cancers.

This was the case with Hercules, who ended up with an aggressive cancerous Mast Cell tumor after being cancer free for two years. He is currently undergoing a second set of treatments. According to Dr. Nicole Weber, there are some types of cancer that can be treated to some degree with chemotherapy. She goes onto to say, “Many people see the effects chemotherapy has on their friends/family members and are scared, not wanting to inflict that type of pain onto their pets.” This fear, however, is unfounded, as most dogs undergoing chemotherapy are able to maintain a normal lifestyle with very few side effects. In fact, proper diagnosis and prompt treatment can help preserve the quality of life for months or years or come. VET TIP: if we spay a female cat or dog prior to the first heat cycle, we can decrease the chances of mammary cancer by 80-90%.

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