Veterinarian Kyle Ouzts inside his clinic located at 403 N. Henderson St.

Veterinarian Kyle Ouzts inside his clinic located at 403 N. Henderson St.

Dr. Kyle Ouzts has been an animal doctor for more than 20 years, and now he is taking over the Dent County Veterinarian Clinic located at 403 N. Henderson. Dr. J.J. Tune has operated in the location for many years, and may still be around from time to time caring for some of his long-time patients.

Many veterinarians, when they purchase the practice of a retiring doctor, tell the previous veterinarian to stay away, but according to Ouzts that’s not something that he wanted to do. Ouzts said that he wanted to honor the legacy of service that Tune has provided in Salem, which is why Ouzts told Tune that he can come and work whenever he wants.

“Rather than start from scratch, I wanted to take the business and continue it and get the building up to modern standards,” he said.

Ouzts grew up in Colorado, Florida, Texas and Alabama. He later went on to get a degree in wildlife biology from Auburn University; he later graduated from Auburn’s Veterinarian school in 1998.

After working in a couple practices, Ouzts purchased a practice in Missouri. He worked at his practice in Dexter until he sold it in 2016 to move to Alaska, where he was able to simultaneously practice animal medicine as well as spend more time on one of his other major interests—long-range shooting, which Ouzts has been involved with since his days at Auburn. That’s something that Ouzts said he will miss about Alaska—their particular flavor of hunting, fishing and competitive shooting.

Ouzts was first tied to the Dent County area in 2012 when he purchased a farm here, where he, his wife Lindsay and their two adopted sons, Caleb (11) and Joshua (3) now live.

“It took us 13 days to move down here from Alaska with all of our things,” he said.

Ouzts is in the process of a variety of major improvements to the practice, including significant renovations and the advent of more modern technology.

Planned renovations are re-roofing, significantly remodeling the interiors to make his work more efficient and a fresh coat of paint; he also plans to add an awning in front of the facility so that people can get out with some protection from inclement weather, and there will be a drive-thru as well. Ouzts told The Salem News that once renovations are complete, there will be a feline side and a canine side, including separate waiting areas for the two different animals (dogs and cats are the only types of clients that Ouzts will be taking on at this time.) Ouzts also stated that he plans to have a special room with its own entrance for the families of animals that have been euthanized.

“Sometimes people have a hard time when they have to euthanize a pet—this way they don’t have to come back through the main waiting area on their way out,” he said. They will be able to say goodbye to their pet and leave.

Some of the technological additions to the clinic will allow for more on-site procedures.

Ouzts said that they are in the process of getting set-up with telemedicine, which will allow people to call in to have their animals screened for treatment. If an animal’s health problem can wait, then people will be able to make an appointment—if they need more immediate treatment, then they can see to that as well. “We will be able to triage things that way after hours,” he said.

Technologically speaking, one of the things that Ouzts has added is what is called a Class 4 therapy laser, which according to him is one of the fastest-growing treatments in animal health—a treatment that has been FDA approved since 2003. Since that time, the therapy laser has been on its way to being the standard of care for many types of injuries to the bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments and soft tissues of animals. Laser therapy uses specific wavelengths of light (red and near-infrared) to create therapeutic effects, which helps stimulate certain processes within the body that help provide relief to symptoms including pain, swelling, and limited range of motion. According to Ouzts, the laser is an affordable and effective treatment that can range from about $20-$60 in cost for the patient.

Ouzts has also added a blood pressure monitor. The ability to monitor an animal’s blood pressure can be a valuable way to see what’s going. According to Ouzts, that’s especially true with cats.

There’s now a real-time vital signs monitor for during surgery—he’s also in the process of getting the appropriate bone surgical instruments in order to be able to do that sort of work on-location.

The clinic will also have equipment that will allow for blood chemistry to be tested in-house. Additionally, the clinic will also have the ability to perform ultrasounds.

Also in the plans is an electro-surgical unit (ESU), which is a device used to cut and coagulate tissues during surgery, using alternating current that changes direction at a frequency of between 500,000 and 3,000,000 hertz. An ESU is an alternative to other cutting tools, such as surgical blades or lasers. One of the major benefits of such a unit is that it allows surgeons to make precise cuts with limited blood loss.

There will also be a digital radiograph (X-ray) and a full dental unit.

Ouzts says that they will also have a new computer system that will help them operate more effectively.

According to Ouzts all of the improvements and additions that he is making to the clinic is with a singular goal in mind.

“To build a clinic that the area can be really happy with,” he said.

“The big goal and the big picture of the whole thing is that we’re going build a better facility here that people in the Salem area can be proud of. They can say that we’ve got this vet’s office in town that’s just as good as anywhere nearby—we’re not going to be university level, but it’s going to be high quality.”

Ouzts said that he is excited to serve the Salem area and he hopes to be their go-to veterinarian for years to come.