Ben Schroeder, DVM, hauls his portable chute out to smaller clients or those who don’t have good working facilities You’ll find in this profession you get to check your ego quite often,” says Ben Schroeder, DVM, Cedar County Veterinary Services, Hartington, Neb. But that can be a good thing.
Schroeder should know; he’s been in the veterinary profession all of his life with his father, John Schroeder, DVM, who practiced before him, and now his wife Erin Schroeder, DVM, practices with him in this northeast Nebraska town of 1,500.
The Schroeders have been at the Hartington practice since 2004. It evolved from three locations in Nebraska, to one location in Nebraska and one in Vermillion, S.D., and from two employees to 14.
Both Kansas State University veterinary school graduates, Erin Schroeder is 50% equine and 50% small animal, while Ben Schroeder is 75% bovine, 20% equine and 5% small animal.
Erin Schroeder, DVM. Kristina Hubbard, DVM, a recent Iowa State University graduate, handles the Vermillion practice which is small-animal only.
The practice’s bovine clients both in Nebraska and South Dakota are 60-70% cow-calf with herd sizes from 25 to 500 head, and feedlots (500-10,000 head) make up the rest. The area used to be predominately dairy, but now there’s only about 10-15 dairies from 50-300 cows around. The practice has a small area for haul-in, but the bovine portion is close to 100% ambulatory, Ben Schroeder says, often putting to use a portable chute he hauls with him to help clients work cattle.
He notes that for the clients in his practice it’s not so much about the sheer number of animals as it is taking care of individual producers and individual animals. “It means a little bit more to these producers in our area,” he says. “They would rather you do a little blood work and get a diagnosis. Our feedlots are buying good program cattle and doing it the right way, but when they have problems they will use diagnostics quite heavily.”
He says over the last 10 years the purchase of blood machines, X-ray equipment, ultrasound machines and a close relationship with diagnostic labs have set them ahead of some of their competition.
Also active in equine embryo transfer, Ben Schroeder, DVM, handles the repro part of the practice. For some veterinarians, coming back home to practice can be good and bad. Ben Schroeder found a wealth of opportunity but says they had to work hard to establish a practice even when it meant doing things he wasn’t always comfortable with. “You have make it work by doing whatever you need to do,” he says.