Dr. Robert Mulligan, DVM, with two of his best friends. (Lyndsay Devick photo)

Dr. Robert Mulligan, DVM, with two of his best friends. (Lyndsay Devick photo)

Dream realized for mobile veterinarian

North Thompson large animal practice opening expected mid-February

Large animal owners in the North Thompson are very excited to hear that Dr. Robert Mulligan, DVM, will now be dedicating his new veterinary practice to mobile servicing of valley customers, thanks to the efforts of the Wells Gray Country Vet Recruitment Coalition for their efforts and successful recruitment of this very personable and knowledgeable large animal veterinarian who already calls the valley home.

Mulligan said the large step of branching out on his own to start a mobile practice has been a dream realized, but it also has come with some challenges.

In a recent interview with this newspaper, Mulligan said he hopes to be ready to launch his new practice by the middle of February.

“I’m just waiting for a virtual inspection,” said the veterinarian. “That includes a big long checklist of things you have to have, and if you meet those requirements they grant you the provisions to practice. Then I’m ready to go.”

He notes the busiest time of year for large animal practitioners is the spring.

“That’s when I want to get on the ground and have a soft start before things really start getting underway.”

Will he have a clinic where people can bring their animals?

“No, my practice will be totally mobile with no fixed facility, although I do have a home office that is my personal base, but it is not open to the public. I actually work out of the back of my truck which has a vet box. All of my equipment is in that truck, and everything travels everywhere with me.”

Mulligan said being mobile in a completely contained unit is a big assist as he travels up the North Thompson to service his large animal practice.

“The majority of my work is agriculturally related, and is pretty much what I have done for the last 15 years,” he said. “With the larger and medium-sized cattle farms, plus the horses, I feel that I haven’t painted myself into a corner doing one thing. I guess I’m kind of a James Herriot. In fact, I was watching that show tonight, my mom raised me on James Herriot.”

Does he see himself as a specialist in horses because they are such a large part of his practice?

“Yes, and that reflects the local clientele. If there is a lot of horses there is a lot of work. You also become good at what you do, and what is demanded of you.

“I’ve also done a lot of cattle work in the last 10 years, and have been quite involved in cow-calf operations and dairy farms as well. I was the only one servicing dairy herds in the area. That kind of became my little niche market, traveling up to McBride every three months to attend three dairies there, some smaller dairies around Kamloops, and the Rainer’s dairy in Darfield.

“Rainer’s were really instrumental in helping me get my experience with dairy cows. They welcomed me into the dairy and we’ve become really good friends.”

Mulligan and his family live on 40 acres in Heffley Creek, “but I pretty much think of Barriere as my home,” he said. “I much prefer to drive north when I go to work rather than south. I’d rather get away from the big cities. We have our own animals to enjoy on our little hobby farm – that’s our sanctuary away from the city.”

The decision to start his own mobile practice was not a hard one to make, as the need for a vet in the North Thompson is obvious.

“Everyone has been saying to me, ‘Rob, you’ll be super busy, and Barriere and Clearwater will keep you going full time.’ So here I am, and I will be putting all of my efforts into servicing the area, seeing what the demand is and if I can stay busy enough.

“I haven’t limited or closed any doors in doing work in other regions. I don’t want to say I am exclusive to one area, but my priority and focus will be to service the north, but also continuing with large animal medicine and appointments in Kamloops and area.”

Mulligan’s plan is to create an ongoing schedule that will dedicate regular days each week for servicing certain areas of the valley which will greatly cut down on back-and-forth driving times, unless the call is of an emergency nature.

“To be efficient, and able to serve everyone, clients and myself will all have to group together in one area wherever possible to save on the travel time required to cover multiple areas. We can make use of facilities in certain areas such as Clearwater and Barriere to gather for appointments such as a dental day.”

Mulligan said he really enjoys teaching as well, and has spent quite a bit of time in the past doing seminars and working with horse clubs such as the Barriere and District Riding Club in presenting learning days.

Future plans may include a Vet Day at the fairgrounds in Barriere and another in Clearwater for equine maintenance such as dental work, vaccinations, etc.

Mulligan reminds animal owners that he will be licensed to only service large animals, not dogs, cats and other small creatures.

You can reach Mulligan Mobile Veterinary Services by going to their website which will be up and running by mid-February: www.mulliganmobilevet.ca, or call them at: 250-371-7409, or cell 250-371-1658.

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news@starjournal.net

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District of BarriereNorth Thompson ValleyVeterinarians