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2001/07/10

Dr. Weis Has Vision Of A Clinical Facility In The Mid-South by Kevin DeBusk After working ten years as a veterinarian in Pell City, Alabama, West Memphis, Arkansas native, D.V.M. C.L. Weis has returned to open Mid-South Equine. She is operating a solo equine ambulatory veterinary service from her home in Eads, Tennessee. "I graduated from the veterinary program at Mississippi State University in 1991," reported Weis. "After I graduated I spent ten years practicing at Coosa Valley Equine Center in Pell City, Alabama. Coosa Valley is a referral hospital and surgical private facility. "I've worked with all the breeds in the last ten years: Quarter horses; Appaloosas; Pasa Finas; Paints; and did a lot of work with mules. I have an appreciation for all the breeds and all the disciplines and hope to use that to get to know the area. "I was in charge of the hospital outpatients and did ambulatory work for about four years but the case load at the hospital grew so much that I couldn't do both. I assisted in surgeries and was responsible for covering the colic surgeries when the main surgeon was gone and I did elective surgeries. I did all the internal medicine and about ninety-five percent of the breeding. "I'm very comfortable and very experienced in all aspects of artificial breeding. I've worked with chilled and frozen semen and over the last three to four years I've done embryo transfers." After being successful in Alabama why return to Tennessee? "I was ready to come home and start on my own," she said. "Eventually I would like to gather a handful of veterinarians, with the same interests, and build a nice facility, like the one I came from, with a surgeon on staff. "I'm excited about the opportunity but it's a few years in the making. I'm new to this area and I need to get my feet on the ground and financially set. I'm starting out and will get to know the area and the needs of the area. I think this area has a lot of good vets but it's lacking in a facility like what I came from. "I'm not out to step on anyone's toes. I'm trying to get around the area and find out what different vet's special interests are so we can hopefully make this facility a realization. There are several that have strong interests and talents in different breeds and disciplines. "You would think we could centralize something in this area where things would feed into Memphis instead of being farmed out. In the short time I've been back I see the need for a surgical facility. We need to do like the small animal people have done. They are offering small animal hospitals that offer specialist, and it would be nice to do that. You have to have the population to do that and I think the equine population in this area is growing. "Probable the closest surgical facility is Mississippi State but Big Creek in Millington does some surgeries. They are doing a good job up there and I think they are the closest to what I came from around here. I think they are limited compared to Mississippi State or Tennessee. Dr. Akin, in Mississippi, I believe has the facilities to bring in a surgeon." Facilities like Dr. Weis would like to build would keep business from being farmed out and help increases success rates while reducing costs to the producer. "Three hours to Mississippi State can be a long way for a colic and it's expensive for the owner," she said. "That three hours can be very costly. It's very frustrating for the local vet doing a good job on the farm getting that colic prepared for its journey and it gets to the University and so much has changed. Things can change so much in three hours. "I think the big problem is breaking down the territorial lines that have existed in the past. We need to be more professional and business like because there isn't any one person or any one group that can do everything." With the growing popularity of the Mid-South for regional and national shows Dr. Weis sees a clinical facility as beneficial. "I'm amazed the way the area has grown, with the Show Place and Tunica," she said. "Memphis is a hub for horse people passing through going to shows. A lot of people from the Southeast come through Memphis and it could be a stopping point for them with interstates 55 and 40. It has to be a concern for people when they're out showing, what if something happens. "You have people who come from areas of the country that have these facilities and they need to feel comfortable when they come into this area if they run into trouble. That's where getting a good group, with good credentials and work ethic will be idea. "Right now I'm offering routine health care and emergency services for horses in West Tennessee, Northern Mississippi and Eastern Arkansas. I'm doing vaccinations, coggins and reproductive services. I offer prepurchase examinations and lameness examinations. I have a portable ultrasound, x-ray an endoscope and can either arrange for or perform critical care and surgery. "Reproductive services is an area that I would like to develop because I have a lot of experience and there are some minor surgeries that can be done on the farm. "I want to be a source of information for people as well as their veterinarian. You have to be a source of horse information for them and take the time to talk with them when they have questions." In 1999 Dr. Weis became a Diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners, Certified in Equine Practice. "It's one of the specialty boards, like the surgeons, internal and reproductive people recognize by the association," she said. "It's a board that was established in 1978 to recognize excellence in general care and knowledge. "The Practitioner Board fit me because it's general knowledge. To become a diplomate you have to have practiced six years in a clinic type setting that practices a high quality of medicine and surgery or you have to have done a residency at one of the approved practices or universities. Then you have to apply and go through this credential process. They say only about four percent of a thousand applicants go through it and become a diplomate." This process includes two papers and a three-day exam. "There are certainly equine practitioners out there that know just as much or more than I do and are not a diplomate," she remarked, "But, it was a personal goal of mine."

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