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A pet-first animal hospital in Fort Garry

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Mirza, the Fort Garry Veterinary Hospital’s mascot cat, reclines in the waiting room and greets clients as they walk in the door.

Trish Lobaton, manager and registered animal health technologist, shows me around the brightly lit spacious clinic with an operating room, X-ray room, examining rooms, housing block for overnight patients, and grooming room.

Since its opening in 2010, the Fort Garry Veterinary Hospital, at 1444 Pembina Hwy., has attracted a large and growing client base.

"We see new clients every day," Trish says.

On a regular day they see about 30 patients.

"It depends on the season. Right now it is heartworm season," Trish continues. Lyme disease is endemic in Manitoba and the clinic insists that pets are tested because if a pet has a tick then the owner should be worried about the tick being in the house as well.

Many people come in for preventative testing and vaccines. The clinic also treats dog-bite wounds, spays and neuters, does X-rays, dental cleanings, lab work, puts in IVs, preps for surgeries, prescribes medication, treats reactions to medication, and provides nutrition consultations. It even does nail trims for rabbits.

Besides serving its growing client base, the Fort Garry Veterinary Hospital has contracts with area rescues such as Craig Street Cats, Manitoba Mutts, Dream Rescue, and Niverville Dog Adoption. They provide primary care for the rescued animals, set up spay and neuter clinics, and make sure the rescued animals are healthy. Then they send them back to the rescues to be adopted out.

A regular day for manager Trish consists of about six vaccines before assisting the full time in house veterinarian with two to three surgeries. Then there are cleanings, nail trims, blood work, lab work, thyroid testing, sick animals to tend to, and X- rays.

"It’s pretty busy," she says.

"The greatest thing about working here is meeting new clients," Trish beams.

If cost is an issue, the clinic works with clients on providing the best cost-efficient  care for their pets.

Trish says that the clinic’s goal "is to make this a place where anyone can come in and learn."

They work with schools on providing volunteering options for students who may be interested in pursuing a career in animal health care. The clinic offers veterinarians from other countries a place to volunteer and study. Students from Red River College do their practicum here.

The doors are open for tours to show what the clinic is like in the back, as well as the front.

Everyone will be greeted with a friendly feline smile from Mirza the mascot.

Helen Lepp Friesen is a community correspondent for Fort Garry. You can contact her at helenfriesen@hotmail.com

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