After graduating from Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine in 1996, Dr. Bryan Roe practiced for ten years as a mixed animal practicioner in Louisiana, Arkansas, eventually ending up in Montana. In 2007, he began exclusively working on beef cattle. His practice, Elite Bovine Veterinary Services, consists of feedlot, cow calf, stockers, and seedstock clients. In 2010, he was hired as the market Veterinarian at Billings Livestock Commission, is a consult for several feedlots and is the lead Veterinarian for Origin Reproductive facility. In his spare time, Dr. Roe enjoys watching his kids in sports and other activities, as well raising cows and Boer goats with his wife and kids. He also enjoys going to livestock shows, and has been very pleased to see his kids grow to enjoy livestock the way he does.
What are some of the biggest changes you have seen in food-animal veterinary practice during your career?
1. Use of electronics: electronic healths, the use of Fort Supply software at Billings Livestock, which interacts with Brands. This allows for time saving in writing health certificates. The Fort Supply software has also allowed us to do more record keeping while pregging and ultrasounding. We also use the software for semen testing and entering our rfid bangs tag information. We are also in a pilot project using Ultra High Frequncy tags in cattle. These tags can be read by walking through a ten foot alley, with readers on both sides as well as two overhead. We have been able to read 45 cows ID's in less than five minutes, with little to no stress on the cows or people.
2. The use of lay help: Upon being hired at Billings Livestock, it was my responsibility to have any help I needed. This led to hiring a few extra part-time people. This then evolved into those people becoming full time, and going to ranches to help with bringing livestock up and help with the process. I found our clients really liked this, and I enjoyed having my employees that knew their job. I also have a person that goes to each ranch just to enter data into our computer system. They enter any needed data at the ranch, and then download it into a spreadsheet, and or word document, which is then emailed to clients. I currently use 2-4 lay help per veterinarian, depending upon the job at task.
3. More herd production and less fire engine work: Working at my first practice involved numerous hours during the day, night , and weekends of seeing one animal for an individual problem, or an emergency call, and very little herd production work. Over the years this has signicantly changed. I rarely treat the individual animal. My typical day consist of spending the day with one client with hundreds of animals.
In a discussion with veterinary students, what would you say to guide them toward beef or dairy practice?
If I had a chance to visit with Veterinary Students thinking of going into Bovine practice, I would advise them to get as much hands on experience as they can while in school. When they get out of school, they need to understand ranchers, dairymen, vet assistants, and other Veterinarians can all teach you something. Never be too important to stop and listen. Education comes in several forms, and you never stop learning. I would also say, know your strengths and weaknesses. Concentrate on your strengths, and dont be afraid to delegate your weknesses. Make yourself a team and allow each member to do their part. I would also advise them to always be available to the youth in their area. I have always stressed the importance of youth to agriculture. I provide all my services to 4-H and FFA members free of charge. These kids know they can call anytime and ask questions about their projects, and feel very comfortable in doing so. I also provide Veterinary care for our local fair.
What are some of the most satisfying aspects of your work as a veterinarian?
The biggest thing I can say about being a Bovine Practicioner is that does not feel like work. I love what I do, and I have built great friendships with my clients. My clients are not really clients, they are friends that feel more like extended family. I go to their family parties, weddings, and just go to dinner with them. We talk about each other's kids, and how they are doing in sports and such. I am partners on some cows with some clients. I really don't know what I would do in life without livestock and livestock people.
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