MONTPELIER — They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be tricked into being treated differently.
That would be the case if they were a patient of the Berlin Veterinary Clinic that is now Montpelier Veterinary Hospital on Barre Street in the Capital City.
Megan Rumpke and Nicolas Drolet took over the former Berlin Veterinary Clinic in September prior to the retirement of Steve Carey in December after more than 20 years in the business.
The business stayed open through the transition and is currently undergoing a renovation to reconfigure facilities and services offered and additional disciplines in pet and large-animal care.
Both Rumpke and Drolet have backgrounds in animal husbandry and veterinary care.
Rumpke grew up on a small farm in Milan, Indiana, where she enjoyed riding horses and said there were lots of animals on the farm.
Drolet grew up in Morrisville where his great-grandfather was a vet and his grandfather was State Veterinarian in Vermont.
The couple met at vet school at Purdue University in Indiana. After graduating, Rumpke practiced in north Texas for a couple of years before joining Drolet in Vermont in 2017.
Returning customers and pets will notice little difference in the facility on the front end, except for small changes to the appearance of waiting room. Behind the scenes, the couple have created new exam rooms and reconfigured spaces for dental and surgical procedures, hospitalizations, and cat and dog holding rooms. The vet hospital also has a full laboratory service and private spaces for the euthanasia of terminally ill animals.
Rumpke said she had been working alone at the hospital since September with Carey working part-time before his retirement. Drolet is expected to join Rumpke working full-time in two weeks after finishing up working at a veterinary clinic in Stowe.
“We’ve just been keeping things low-key, trying to get our feet under us in terms of business and transitioning clientele over and getting to know me a little better,” Rumpke said. “Now that Nicolas is going to be joining me full-time, we want to let people know we’re here, that we’re accepting new patients and we’re trying to grow our practice.”
The practice will offer a range of medical services that focus on the wellness of animals that can suffer common problems, such as dental disease, heart conditions and skin problems. Preventative care includes vaccinations, screening for common diseases and parasite prevention that can avoid much more serious problems later on, Rumpke said.
“We find quite a lot of stuff in a physical exam,” Rumpke said, advising owners to have pets checked annually.
Diagnostic services for sick or injured pets can include some test results while you wait, and include X-rays, blood work, endoscopy (to view internal body parts), urine testing, and cytology (lumps, bumps or fluid collection).
Endoscopic services are a useful alternative to surgery, Rumpke said, to check for obstructions, ingested foreign material and to evaluate the stomach; and also check the throat, ears and even the guttural pouches of horses.
Rumpke noted that she sees increasing numbers of pets with Lyme disease as deer tick populations have increase because of climate change. Luckily, there is an improved vaccine for dogs, Rumpke said. Surprisingly, cats are immune to the disease, she added.
Surgeries are also performed for sick and injured animals, and to spay or neuter them, something Rumpke strongly recommends.
“We see a very high incidence of intact females getting mammary cancer that we can greatly reduce if they are spayed,” Rumpke said. “Intact males have a higher incidence of prostate problems, abscess, testicular cancers and behavioral problems. It’s because of hormones: estrogens in the females and the testosterone in males; and we see a lot of dogs that have been wandering looking for a mate and getting hit by a car.”
The practice also offers daytime and after-hours emergency call services. Response times will vary, but there will be consultation services until a doctor is available. House calls also are available, usually for private in-home hospice and euthanasia services.
Still to come will be large animal services – horses, cows, sheep, goats and pigs – as the practice gets up to speed, Rumpke said.
“When Nicolas gets here full time, then I’ll be able to go out more,” Rumpke said.