Veterinarian services can now come right to your door

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By Carolyn Risner

There was a time when Charlotte Dow thought she wanted to be an artist, but after moving to Florida from Surrey in the United Kingdom, her love of animals prevailed.

Thirteen years after skipping across the pond, Dr. Dow is practicing with Drs. Wade Bullock and Kendra Philman at Levy Animal Clinic.

Dow grew up in Melbourne and attended the University of Florida where she earned her undergraduate degree in animals science.

Always an animal lover, she chose to attend veterinary school, focusing on food animals.

There was a time where many vets specialized in food animals, but today they are a dying breed, she said, because more and more people are opting for companion animals.

Those who do raise larger animals often find it more economical to vaccinate and assist with births themselves.

That’s why she sought out Bullock, whose practice runs the gamut from the companion animals to cattle and horses.

“Iee^get to do it all,” she said.

Dow has a fascination with animal reproduction and has presented research pieces across Europe and the United States. She admits that oftentimes pulling a calf can be more than a little tiring.

There have been scary instances, she said, including a time with an encounter with a Brahman cow that left her a little battered and bruised–but with a story to tell no less.

Dow loves Levy County and she envisions settling down here and rearing future children for years to come.

Single, and living with her sister, the vet enjoys the outdoors, particulary hiking, the springs and attending roping events.

Occasionally she picks up the paintbrush, or clay, and returns to her art world but for the most part, her life is centered around her career.

“I’m a workhorse,” she admits.

That attitude will come in handy when Dow and her associates begin the operation of a mobile veterinary unit Sept. 1.

For several weeks, she and her co-workers have been outfitting the van to make it road and animal ready.

“It’s really about convenience,” she said of the plan to implement the service in Levy and West Marion counties.

Because of the recent economic decline, more and more people are unable to bring their animals into the office.

So now the office will go to them.

A set schedule of which doctor will man the unit, along with the location of its whereabouts is soon coming, she said.

From vaccinations to surgeries, the van is equipped to handle most everything the doctors will face in their practice.

A portable digital X-ray machine has been purchased that transfers images to Nature Coast Hospital, which in turns puts them on disks for the vets.

Dow said the digital enhancement compared to standard X-rays is a plus when diagnosing and treating animals.

Doctors will also be able to do their own blood tests in the van by equipping it with a centrifuge.