With the world of veterinary medicine changing as rapidly as its human side equivalent, HottyToddy.com’s Steve Vassallo interviewed Kelsey Hanson, DVM recently upon her arrival in Oxford to discuss some of these technological advances in the animal kingdom.
Vassallo: Welcome to Oxford, Kelsey! However, we understand that this isn’t your first stint here.
Hanson: That’s right! I first worked at Crossroads Animal Hospital right out of vet school a few years ago while my husband was working at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Mississippi State. I returned home to New Orleans for about a year, but I just had to come back!
Vassallo: Because we have a number of MSU veterinarians here, it’s more fun to give a hard time to an LSU alum. Are you prepared for some of the bantering that goes with this terrain?
Hanson: Right now it’s not too bad, but I’m prepared for football season when I assume it’s going to heat up. During my last stint in Oxford, I had the occasional corn dog joke thrown my way. But, it’s all tiger bait to me, Geaux Tigers!
Vassallo: Crossroads has recently added a state-of-the-art ultrasound. How will this technology benefit your patients?
Hanson: This is something we’re all really excited about. Ultrasound can give us the ability to come to a quicker diagnosis, often without having to perform invasive procedures like abdominal exploratories. We’ve already been able to catch and treat some serious diseases with the machine we otherwise would have been unable to detect.
Vassallo: Your advanced diagnostics also will be significant for Oxford residents. Please describe.
Hanson: We have always had an in-house laboratory, allowing for a variety of on the spot blood tests, as well as X-ray. But now with the ultrasound, we are able to perform detailed abdominal, thoracic and cardiac ultrasounds. This will allow us to diagnose and treat patients here in Oxford, when appropriate, instead of referring them to Memphis for these advanced diagnostics.
Vassallo: With yourself and your husband being new additions to Crossroads, will there be any new procedures offered at the hospital.
Hanson: We are both very interested in surgery, and my husband is especially interested in emergency surgery and medicine. He also spent time at MSU College of Veterinary Medicine learning more complicated surgeries, all of which we now offer. Examples include ACL repair and most major abdominal surgeries.
Vassallo: Boarding pets is not always associated with animal clinics and hospitals, but isn’t this a significant component of Crossroads’ services?
Hanson: Yes, we believe so. Nowadays, more than ever, we believe people want to board their pets in comfort when they have to go away. And more than that, they want to know their pets are well taken care of during their stay. This is a focus for us at Crossroads for sure.
Vassallo: Regarding your current clientele, how does the number of canines compare to the cat population at Crossroads?
Hanson: I think we sit right around the national average, which is around 70 percent dogs, 30 percent cats. However, there are more pet cats in the country than dogs. We do use a cat only exam room for cats – no dogs allowed. This decreases the scent and noise of dogs which can cause cats to be stressed out if they’re not used to dogs. We find that this provides a more comfortable visit for both the cats and their parents.
Vassallo: Focusing on the dogs for a moment, is there a varied assortment of breeds coming through your front doors or is it basically a very few such as Labs, Goldens, Poodles, etc.?
Hanson: Oh we get every kind! From your more common breeds, like Labradors and Cavaliers, all the way to your designer breeds like Goldendoodles. In fact, the designer breeds are on the rise. We saw a Corgi Australian Shepherd mix the other day. They called it an Augi! That being said, the people in Oxford do a great job of adopting animals from the Oxford Lafayette Humane Society (OLHS) shelter, which is where we see most of our mixed breeds come from!
Vassallo: Is it our imagination or are dogs and cats experiencing longer lifespans similar to humans? We recently lost a pooch who made it to 17!
Hanson: That is not your imagination; it’s a fact. They are living longer and better quality lives! The fact that we have been able to almost eradicate some diseases and control others is a testament to the advances in medicine we have made. Take allergies as an example. We can now control this very effectively with the new drugs available to us, meaning these dogs can live their lives free of itching and scratching without the use of chronic steroids.
Vassallo: What advice can you convey to pet owners that will enable their animals to live longer and healthier lives?
Hanson: I would say the most important things in Mississippi are: 1. Vaccinations: Serious, preventable diseases are in this area like Parvovirus and Leptospirosis. 2. Monthly heartworm preventative: Around 70 percent or more of mosquitoes carry heartworms here. 3. Weight control: just like in humans, a lean pet is a healthy pet. 4. Tie between dental health and arthritis management: both make a huge difference to the quality of life in older pets.
Vassallo: You mentioned the excitement about returning to Oxford as pet owners in this community consider their furry friends to be another member of the family opposed to a domesticated animal.
Hanson: Definitely. Not all places are created equal and not all pet owners are proactive about their pets’ health. I’ve always found Oxford to be a place full of fantastic pet owners who are very attentive to their animals and willing to do whatever is necessary to keep them healthy. The people of Oxford see their pets as family members. That is the whole reason we practice veterinary medicine.
Vassallo: There is speculation in the wind that Crossroads is preparing to expand its daycare program. Does this rumor have any merit?
Hanson: It does. This year we will be overhauling the daycare facility. This will include expanding the space for daycare, resurfacing the yards with quality turf, providing new environmental enrichment (i.e. swimming pools and play equipment), as well as adding the ability for owners to watch their pets at play on camera!
Vassallo: Crossroads has a developed an outstanding reputation through the years for its customer service. Apparently, the clinic is doing a number of right things in the areas of hiring and training.
Hanson: I believe so. I think we have very knowledgeable and capable staff who care very much about animals. I think a large part of this is our ability to draw quality young adults from Ole Miss to work for us. We aim to create an enjoyable environment so our employees feel like family.
Vassallo: Doctor Hanson in closing, what is your vision for Crossroads for 2018 and beyond?
Hanson: We want to see Crossroads continue to offer the best in veterinary care. Part of this is already being implemented with expanded daycare and new ultrasound services. But the next phase is going to be having a Feline/Canine boarded specialist on staff in the future. We strive to grow and expand our knowledge of our veterinarians and our staff to offer the best and most up-to-date treatment of Oxford’s furry family members!
Steve Vassallo is a HottyToddy.com contributor. Steve writes on Ole Miss athletics, Oxford business, politics and other subjects. He is an Ole Miss grad and former radio announcer for the basketball team. Currently, Steve is a highly successful leader in the real estate business who lives in Oxford with his wife Rosie. You can contact Steve at email@example.com or call him at 985-852-7745.