Rural Veterinarians Provide Timely Knowledge & Services to South Dakotans & Their Animals
Access to rural health is important to all South Dakotans, including animals large and small. Providing in-clinic and on-farm animal healthcare is much more than a vocation for South Dakota’s rural veterinarians. It’s their calling. SDPB’s Lura Roti has this story.
When registered Simmental producer Clay Duxbury began leasing some pastureland a few years back, a mysterious illness began plaguing his cattle – giving his calves’ fevers and scours.
“It was a virus actually, none of the antibiotics treated it,” Duxbury says.
After trying everything he could think of and losing a few calves, the Miller cattleman reached out to his veterinarian, Eric Knock.
Knock observed the cattle herd, collected samples and ran tests. Turns out, Duxbury’s soil was infected with a virus. But once Knock diagnosed the culprit, he was able to prescribe a treatment that worked for the calves as well as preventative measures like adding a feed supplement to his cows’ diet 90-days before calving.
“We’ve been doing that for six years now and it has completely changed the scope of our heard health,” Duxbury says.
Outcomes like this are among the reasons Eric Knock became a veterinarian.
“Being able to hopefully make a difference. You know, take a situation, the cow that wasn’t able to have a calf, and you help to change the outcome of that situation and make it better,” Knock says.
One of six veterinarians who make up Prairie View Veterinary Clinic, Knock and the team serve livestock and pet owners living near the rural communities of Redfield, Miller, Highmore and Wessington Springs.
Knock says he enjoys the diversity of his work.
“It’s not a 9-to-5 deal at all,” Knock says. “A lot of times we take a chute and go out to the producer’s operation and we will process however many cattle we need to that are in that group whether that’s pregnancy testing, semen testing bulls, heifers, vaccinating or processing, whatever that involves. But then there’s also times we will be in the clinic working on small animals, surgeries, doing spays and neuters. And then this time of year, also has calving calls and those obviously aren’t planned, and so that adds a little bit of variety.”
Because Eric Knock and his wife, Roxanne also raise cattle he understands economics of livestock and works to share information to help improve profits.
“Our bottom line is already so tight that there’s so many things that they can provide us with and knowledge that gives us a chance to have another live calf, a healthy calf, a healthy herd,” Duxbury says.
Helping farmers like her Grandpa Grant, was a childhood goal that motivated Lainie Kringen-Scholtz to return home to Madison to practice veterinary medicine. She is also licensed to provide animal chiropractic and acupuncture services.
“I want people to be able to not travel very far to get high quality medicine for their animals. And, you know, I was there. I remember when I had my best horse break its leg, and my now current boss, she was eight months pregnant and trucked through 3-feet of snow to help me with my horse. And I just remember that was a huge impact for me that day, being able to call someone who was 5 miles away and she was there right away,” Kringen-Scholtz says.
Timely access to veterinary medicine can be crucial explains fourth-generation cattle producer, Cody Williams.
“If you’ve got calving trouble, a matter of 5-to-10 minutes can be the difference between you know a calf getting out alive or a cow making it if it’s really tough,” Williams says.
A registered Polled Hereford producer, since childhood Williams has taken the best of his family’s herd to shows across the U.S. So, he also appreciates access to animal chiropractic care.
“We had a heifer that hurt herself this winter and we were really nervous that we were not going to get to show her the rest of the winter and to have Lainie come out and be able to work her over and get things set back where they were, we went from not being able to show her to showing her within a month,” Williams says.
Another time, Williams had a bull begin limping before a sale. Lainie Kringen-Scholtz diagnosed and treated a pinched nerve.
“We didn’t actually take him out to sell him like we had planned. We ended up keeping him for another year and just go ahead and use him ourselves. And without her coming and working on him he probably would have just went to the salebarn because he was limping bad enough and hurt bad enough, he would not have been able to go out and breed cows,” Williams says.
Results like these are why Kringen-Scholtz got her chiropractic certification.
“I knew that it was something that I could bring back home which has always been really important to me, being able to bring something valuable to our clients in our rural community that they’d otherwise have to travel to get,” Kringen-Scholtz says.
Kringen-Scholtz says even though most livestock are much larger than humans, animal chiropractic treatment is similar in the fact that it doesn’t take extreme force or strength to bring things back into alignment.