The Moab Veterinary Clinic is expanding its services to help cover areas in southeastern Utah that suffer from a lack of veterinary care. Veterinarian Len Sorensen recently purchased a fully contained mobile vet clinic. The trailer includes a surgical suite, a digital x-ray machine and an exam table and sink for dental cleanings.
“You can do everything you can in a veterinarian clinic. It’s just mobile,” said veterinarian Holly Slater.
Sorensen said the trailer has its own power supply so that it remains operable even in the event of a natural disaster.
“This is the same thing they took in after [Hurricane] Katrina,” he said. It’s equipped with an inverter, heater and air conditioner.
Sorensen said the one drawback is that the mobile center is a little cramped.
“You can only fit one client at a time,” he said, adding that the limitation means the rest of the clients have to wait in their cars or outside. But its small size doesn’t limit the abilities of the staff.
“We can do orthopedic surgeries or spays and neuters and everything in between,” he said.
Sorensen said that, while the trailer was expensive, he was willing to spend the money because he knew the service was needed in many of the outlying rural areas in San Juan and Emery counties.
On Tuesday, Aug. 13, staff members from the Spanish Valley clinic took the trailer on its maiden voyage, spending the day in Monticello.
“The vet down there died last year,” Sorensen said, adding that, as a result, most of the people in the area haven’t had easy access to veterinary services.
Sorenson said his team had a packed schedule, performing three surgeries, seeing several sick animals, and administering routine vaccinations. “We were busier than they were,” he said, referring to his clinic in Spanish Valley.
The staff will continue weekly clinics in Monticello every Tuesday.
“This area needs it right now,” Sorenson said. Some of the animals he saw on Aug. 13 were seriously ill because they should have been seen by a veterinarian earlier but could not be transported to a clinic.
“Now they won’t have to wait as long,” said Sheryl Sorensen, Len Sorensen’s wife and office manager.
The mobile clinic is set up to handle smaller animals like dogs and cats. However, Len Sorensen said he pulls it with his ambulatory truck, which is already set up for tending to large animals. “I have the capacity to deal with large and small animals that way,” he said.
It takes one veterinarian and one veterinary technician to staff the mobile clinic, which leaves plenty of staff to keep the local clinic open, Sheryl Sorenson said.
Len Sorensen said his staff is also planning on holding a clinic in Green River twice a month, though they’re still making plans.
“We have to find a place to set up,” he said.
If there is enough demand for the service, he said they willl consider further expansion, potentially offering clinics in the Paradox, Colo., area next summer when another veterinarian joins the practice. They may also look into providing a clinic in Blanding if needed, he said.
“It’s still in its infancy,” he said. “We still have a few kinks to work out.”
“We’re really excited about it,” Sheryl Sorensen said. “We think it’s something the area really needs.”