County gains two new vets

Marion County has two new veterinarians to serve the animal community.

In June, Jennifer Martin began practicing with Norman Galle at the Hillsboro Animal Clinic and Tawny Schelesner joined the Animal Health Center of Marion County in Marion.

Martin, who graduated from Purdue University last May, took her first position as a staff veterinarian at a feedlot near Sterling, Colo.

Her husband, Pat, worked as head cowboy at the feedlot, and hopes to continue his profession in this area.

“The biggest difference he sees in his work is out there they use horses, and here it is four-wheelers,” Jennifer Martin said.

She said she and her husband chose Hillsboro because they liked the Galles and found the clinic was run smoothly and professionally.

“And Hillsboro seems like a very nice community,” she said. “It is clean-cut and the people seem very nice.”

Martin said she knew she wanted to be a veterinarian since the time she was a child. And animals were always a part of her life.

The Martins have a cat, Patience, 7 years old, and a dog, Porky, who is 18 months old. Husband Pat has six quarter horses, which he uses for work and for team roping.

Jennifer Martin said in the past she had a pet cat that she used as a therapy cat, taking it into nursing homes for the elderly to enjoy.

“They loved to see her coming,” she said, “and so many times they would re-tell memories of their pets and cry at the good memories.”

While in vet school, she has a fond memory of working with Henry, a goat who liked to eat Oreo cookies.

“His owner was a single woman who was a librarian, and her goats were her family,” Martin said.

“I love working with beef cattle,” she said. “It gets me outside, and I have found the farmers are down-to-earth, good genuine people who are easy to work with.”

As part of her education, Martin had externships in Turlock, Calif., with a 16-man dairy practice, and in Clay Center, Neb., at the Great Plains Veterinary Educational Center, where she acquired feedlot experience.

She said she hopes in the years to come, she can be involved in cow/calf herd health management and offer education seminars to cattle owners.

Right now, Martin’s focus will be on the small animal side of Galle’s practice.

“We found ourselves rushing things because we were so busy,” said Norman Galle, “so we brought her onto our staff so we could continue to offer the good quality care we have before.”

Martin said she enjoys working with the small animals and wants to encourage people to keep up with regular yearly exams and vaccinations, especially rabies.

“And it is important to spay and neuter your pets,” she said.

This summer she encourages pet owners to be sure to protect their pets from ticks, fleas and heartworms, and to have their dogs and cats groomed.

“We have had people come in whose dogs have matted pretty badly, and in the summertime, under those mats you can find maggots.

“It’s important to get them ready for summer.”

Martin said she graduated class that was two-thirds women, and she never felt her gender was an issue in school or in her practice.

Jessica Laurin of the Animal Health Center of Marion County is planning an open house, Saturday, June 16 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to welcome the new doctor, Tawny Schlesener.

Schlesener, who grew up between Hope and Herington, graduated in May from Kansas State University. She had worked several summers during her college career at the clinic in Marion.

She said her graduating class had 45 men and 55 women, and that she, too, didn’t feel her gender had ever been an issue.

Schlesener had her externship in California, studying at a small animal clinic in Carmichael, which had a special emphasis in surgery.

She then studied in Las Vegas, at multiple small animal clinics owned by James E. Nave, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association.

“I was very fortunate to get to work with a number of boarded specialists in various specialties,” Schlesener said. “And I was very happy to get to work with a specialist in canine dentistry, who actually wrote our textbook on the subject.”

Her best memory of that part of school was being allowed to do a root canal on a dog.

Later she studied at the Humane Society in Omaha, Neb.

“That is a well-known Humane Society,” she said. “It is a very large facility. We did no less than 30 spays and neuters per day.”

Schlesener said she not only enjoyed her surgical experience there, but felt she gained valuable experience with various breeds and behaviors of the dogs and cats.

As part of an early graduation present, a friend of hers adopted a dog from the Omaha Humane Society that Schlesener had admired.

“Dublin,” an 18-month-old hound mix not only was rescued for Schlesener, but has already been to the university.

“When they needed a healthy dog to draw blood on, to have as a baseline to compare sick dogs with, I volunteered to go get Dublin,” Schlesener said, “and he was great. Everyone loved him.”

Schlesener also has two cats, Saba and Tessie.

Schlesener will be working with both the small and large animals in the Marion practice.

“I enjoy working with cattle, too,” she said, and hopes to work closely with farmers to develop successful herd management plans.

Schlesener said she also knew as a child she wanted to become a veterinarian, and recalls sneaking dogs, cats, goats and sheep into the house when her parents weren’t home.

“My family and close friends were a great support to me,” she said. “They all had a big part in my getting through school, and I appreciate them.”

Schlesener, a promoter of preventative healthcare for pets, said prevention through vaccinations and products such as heartworm and flea prevention can save a lot of money and tears later in a pet’s life.

“Prevention and early detection can make a big difference in the life of your pet,” she said.

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