Dr. Janz and Derek Bock: Slater Veterinary Clinic LLC

Thursday, July 30, 2015
Slater Veterinary clinic works closely with the City of Slater Animal Shelter for their veterinary needs. Here Janz gets some kisses from an adoptable puppy. (Michaela Leimkuehler/Democrat-News)

"I think we're going to just have to keep a puppy here all the time," Derek Bock, office manager of Slater Veterinary Clinic, said.

Bock and his wife, Dr. Allison Janz, DVM, are the new owners of the clinic. It was transferred to them this past March from Dr. Harry Whitlock, who owned and operated the practice for 28 years.

Bock continued to play with their 9-week-old dachshund, Tank, and set him of the counter for a client to admire.

"'Hey, how are you feeling today?' 'Not so good?' Well, here's a puppy," Bock bantered with the client.

The couple originally hails from Wisconsin. Janz grew up on a hobby farm in the southeast region of the state. Her family kept horses and also raised chickens, ducks and rabbits.

"I remember pretending to be the zoo vet and making my brothers be the monkeys and elephants," Janz reminisced.

From a young age, she knew she wanted to become a veterinarian. Janz's mother was part of the support staff at their local veterinary clinic, and she remembers tagging along, taking in all the activities of the clinic. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. In 2012, she graduated with her veterinary science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with an emphasis in equine medicine.

"There was never any other plan. I always wanted to be this," Janz said.

Dr. Allison Janz and Derek Bock cuddle with their newest four-legged addition, Tank. Janz says their veterinary practice works because they have their own space. "I do the vet stuff, and he does all this," she explains, pointing to his desk. "I don't have any desire to do all that ... and he listens most of the time, so it helps." (Michaela Leimkuehler/Democrat-News)

Bock received his degree in business and accounting through The University of Wisconsin Superior's online program. He spent eight years as a loan officer and liked to ride bulls as soon as he changed out of his shirt and tie.

"It's something I've loved doing since I was a little kid. I love it," Bock joked, "I know she'd be happier if I never did it again!"

He still enjoys bull riding as a hobby, but is satisfied spending his days helping his wife manage their veterinarian practice.

"Just try to make her life easier, make sure she doesn't get hurt," said Bock. "I get scratched and clawed, and she stays out of the way."

The Wisconsin natives' transition from the cool northern climate to the humidity of Missouri's summers was just the beginning of their learning curve. They said the experience Whitlock has been able to share with them has been invaluable.

"In school, everything is always black and white. This animal has this problem. You do X, Y, Z. From those, you choose your next step," Janz explained. "You learn how to make things work that isn't what you learned in school."

Bock interjected that it was interesting to listen to the conversations between Janz and Whitlock when protocol was not working.

"He'll (say) 'well the old cowboys used to do this.' It will be something so crazy, you think, 'how could that ever work?' But I bet you most of the time those crazy things you think would never work, work!"

The old cowboy tricks could not assist Janz with a new trend in veterinary medicine. Veterinary Spinal Manipulation Therapy is a natural way to alleviate an animal's pain without the use of injections or medications. Janz attended a course five days a month for six months in Wisconsin to receive her certification.

"It's taught by chiropractors and veterinarians. It's like chiropractic (care) for humans," Janz said.

While practicing veterinary medicine in Minnesota at a mixed small- and large-animal practice, she found herself referring numerous clients to a chiropractor or another veterinarian with a VSMT certification. There were problems she could find during an exam that her vet school education could not pinpoint. With her VSMT credentials, she is now qualified to provide that natural approach to traditional vet medicine.

Janz and Brock have been particularly this summer because the wet, humid weather has created a rich environment for insects.

"It's been a bad year for bugs," Bock remarked. "So fleas are awful, ticks are awful, flies, mosquitos. Across the board, bugs are to blame for everything."

Pinkeye in cattle has been prevalent since May of this year. Additional rainfall and fly numbers have contributed to the increased outbreak. Dermatitis is a condition in which the skin of the animal becomes irritated from an allergy or other external source. Livestock or pets that are outdoors and exposed to the elements for long periods of time can develop itchy, irritated skin.

Looking into the future, Slater Veterinary Clinic hopes to expand their technological resources.

"Our goal next year is getting a digital X-ray (machine)," Janz said. This new piece of equipment would allow Janz to have a portable X-ray to take on farm calls. This would add convenience to both the doctor and animal. Presently, the couple is content with the building, numerous clients and resources they have been given.

"It's a great community. The people are wonderful here," Bock commented. "Right now we're just so happy being as busy as we are."

They are also very thankful for the support they have received from Dr. Whitlock and his wife, Kathy.

"Doc Whitlock and his wife have been just wonderful to us," Bock remarked. "This has really just been a blessing. There's really no other way to explain it."