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Practicing quality medicine

December 3, 2008
The Daily Mining Gazette

HOUGHTON - The Copper Country Veterinary Clinic is on the leading edge of veterinary medicine and their most recent accomplishment proves just that.

"We were re-accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association," announced Dr. Thomas Cole, owner and sole veterinarian of the Houghton clinic. "We're very proud of that."

In order to become AAHA-accredited, Dr. Cole said the clinic underwent a comprehensive evaluation, which includes a quality assessment review of the facility, medical equipment, practice methods, and pet health care management.

Article Photos

Dr. Thomas Cole, owner and sole veterinarian of the Copper Country Veterinary Clinic in Houghton, is seen in the clinic’s lobby area. Behind the counter is receptionist Holly Haaland.

"We were evaluated on more than 800 different standards of veterinary practice, and we passed," he said.

According to AAHA, only 14 percent of the veterinary practices throughout the United States and Canada have made the commitment to voluntarily participate in an on-site evaluation to ensure compliance with these standards.

"There are only three AAHA-accredited clinics in the entire Upper Peninsula," added Donna Cole, Dr. Cole's wife and business manager of the clinic. "Copper Country Veterinary Clinic, one in Iron Mountain and one in Menominee."

Laura Kovala, practice manager of CCVC, said AAHA officials visited the clinic Oct. 9.

"We were told we have an extremely sanitary veterinary clinic, which we are very proud of," she said.

CCVC has been an accredited AAHA member since 2004. In order to maintain their accredited status, Dr. Cole said they will be re-evaluated every three years.

"I think it encourages us to keep on our toes and practice quality medicine," he said. "That sets the bar kind of high and gives us something to shoot for as far as standards go."

Donna agreed.

"We felt it was important," she said. "Tom's father was also a veterinarian, and practicing with high standards was very important to him. It's a proud tradition that Tom comes from."

On Saturday, CCVC is inviting the community to attend their open house to help celebrate their re-accreditation. It will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. Snacks and refreshments will be served.

During the open house, Laura said visitors will be able to tour the clinic, which was remodeled five years ago.

"We expanded from two exam rooms to four exam rooms," Donna said, adding that the reception area underwent a major remodel allowing for a more spacious lobby. "We were also able to expand our surgery prep area and get in a whole dental station."

The new facility also has separate entrance and exit doors.

"One of the things I'm proud of is that the sidewalk is heated," Dr. Cole said. "We don't have to put down a bunch of caustic chemicals that get into dogs' footpads. It's a nice, clean, dry area to come in."

CCVC is constantly being upgraded with state-of-the-art technology.

Laura said their onsite laboratory and in-house x-ray processing, which visitors will be able to tour Saturday, allows for quick test results.

"We have the capability of running a number of tests here and have the results in less than an hour," she said. "Because most of our blood work tests are run in-house, we can avoid lengthy delays in getting information, which speeds up Dr. Cole's diagnosis time and enables the pet to receive the proper treatment sooner!"

Keweenaw Spay/Neuter Assistance Group will also be on hand during the open house Saturday with its Adopt-a-Pet program.

Information about pet insurance, animal weight control and loss will also be available.

Keeping up to date on the latest changes in veterinary medicine is important to the staff at CCVC.

"We send the staff to various conferences throughout the year," Donna said. "We bring education in here all the time. We feel it's important because medicine is changing all the time."

What's also important, Donna said, is having a clear mission and vision for their practice.

"We are actively recruiting veterinarians but there's a shortage all throughout the country. We would like to see this clinic operate with four to five veterinarians," she said.

"Our most important vision is to provide the highest quality medical care. I see a need for Houghton to be one of the hubs," Donna said. "Marquette is a hub. Menominee is a hub. Iron Mountain is a hub. Houghton should be a hub for veterinary care so that there is 24-hour quality care available close by. That's our vision. We're not there yet, but we're working on it."

The Copper Country Veterinary Clinic is located at 904 W. Sharon Ave. in Houghton. Business hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and every other Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon. For more information, call 482-1771 or visit

Editor's note: This feature is part of a paid advertising package purchased by the Copper Country Veterinary Clinic of Houghton. Businesses interested in being featured on the Business page may call Yvonne Robillard at 483-2220.



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