HOUGHTON - There's a new doctor on board at the Copper Country Veterinary Clinic (CCVC) and if you ask her, she's settling in quite well.
"I feel very welcome here," said Dr. Ivy Barnhart, who started her position Aug. 17. "Everyone's been just wonderful."
Born and raised in Munising, Dr. Barnhart attended undergraduate school at Northern Michigan University, earning her Bachelor of Science in Biology and her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Degree from Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio in June.
Copper Country Veterinary Clinic owner Dr. Thomas Cole stands next to the clinic's newest veterinarian, Dr. Ivy Barnhart, who started her position Aug. 17.
She said she learned of the job opening at CCVC while surfing the employment ads on the American Veterinary Medical Association's (AVMA) Web site.
"It was the only one in the U.P. and I was immediately interested," she said. "I'm a Yooper so I'm really glad to be back up here."
Dr. Thomas Cole, who is also the owner of Houghton clinic, said he's "ecstatic" to have another veterinarian on staff.
"With the addition of Dr. Barnhart, we'll now be able to be open six days a week," he said. "Before, we were closed Thursdays and every other Saturday."
However, Dr. Cole said the new clinic hours won't go into effect until late fall as they're waiting on licensing paperwork to be processed through the state of Michigan.
"That will be a big change," he said. "We'll be able to accommodate clients a little better that way."
Assistant practice manager Laurie Hiltunen agreed.
"The waiting time is greatly reduced now for vaccine appointments and surgeries," she said. "For a while, we had appointments scheduled many weeks out and now they're much sooner with the addition of Dr. Barnhart."
CCVC is one of three veterinary hospitals in the Upper Peninsula that is AAHA (American Animal Hospital Association) -accredited. In order to become an AAHA-accredited practice, Dr. Cole said the clinic underwent a comprehensive on-site evaluation, which includes a quality assessment review of the facility, medical equipment, practice methods and pet health care management.
"We received our first accreditation in 2005," he said. "Last year, we earned our recertification."
There are three licensed veterinary technicians (LVT) on staff at CCVC. They include Mike Webb, Becky Severs and Marnie Polkky.
"They're a real asset in keeping up with the workload," said Donna Cole, Thomas' wife and business manager of the clinic. "They have a vast knowledge of animal medicines and behavior. We feel very fortunate to have three of them."
Each LVT is licensed by the state and has graduated from an AVMA approved program.
Dr. Barnhart said working alongside a knowledgeable staff has been helpful in her new position.
"It's great to work with someone like Dr. Cole, who has so many years of experience," she said. "And, having the LVTs really helps with my transition."
Between two veterinarians and three LVTs, Hiltunen said they can now focus more attention on full-service dental cleaning for cats and dogs. The day-long procedure is done under general anesthesia and includes a cleaning, polishing and application of fluoride.
"We can do more of that now and the wait won't be as long," she said.
CCVC stresses the importance of preventative care by recommending annual wellness checks for pets.
"What we do on a daily basis is ensure that your pets are healthy," practice manager Laura Kovala said. "We stress the importance of wellness checks and keeping vaccines updated so we can catch any disease in its early stages."
In the local area, Kovala said they've seen an increase in the number of active Parvo cases. Parvo, she said, is a highly-contagious and potentially fatal virus that attacks the lining of the digestive system, most commonly seen in puppies.
"That's why it's so important to bring your pets in for their annual vaccines," Kovala said.
Residing in Chassell with her husband and 11-year-old daughter, Dr. Barnhart said her family is settling in nicely.
"We love the small town and the quietness," she said.
And, they're looking forward to winter.
"I like cross country skiing and my husband loves snowboarding, so we're pretty excited," she said.
At the clinic, Dr. Barnhart said she's looking forward getting to know pet owners as well as their companions.
"I enjoy dealing with people and sharing part of their love for their animals and being able to help them," she said. "Not only is it about taking care of animals, it's about the people, too."
CCVC will be hosting a meet and greet at the clinic this fall to introduce Dr. Barnhart to the community.
The Copper Country Veterinary Clinic is located at 904 W. Sharon Ave in Houghton. Clinic 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 ccvc.cc
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.