Alumni Spotlight: Rural Rossies
You can find Rossies in just about every environment you can think of—from zoos to small clinics, big cat sanctuaries to canine rehab facilities, city buildings to rural barns. This month, we’re spotlighting several grads in rural or mixed practice.
Jeff Bissett, DVM ‘02
Owner, Houston Cattle and Saddle Practice Inc.
In March 2006, Jeff Bissett, DVM started his ambulatory large animal practice, Houston Cattle and Saddle Practice, Inc., from the ground up. More than 10 years later, his business continues to do well, servicing 1,200 clients among the western Pennsylvania counties of Washington, Greene and Allegheny. The majority of his clients are food animal producers, but he also works with horse owners, small ruminant owners and 4H and FFA project animals.
Growing up, Dr. Bissett spent lots of time on his grandfather’s dairy farm. His interest in large animal medicine hasn’t wavered since—not even after suffering a broken leg from a client’s horse earlier this year. He has worked in equine/large animal practice since graduating from Ross in 2002, and remembers his time at Ross fondly.
Sara Bliss, DVM ‘11
Owner, Bliss Veterinary Services
As the owner of Bliss Veterinary Services, Sara Bliss, DVM has no typical client. Eighty-head beef cattle farms, backyard horses, pigs, sheep, single cow farms, large horse barns, and small animals—Dr. Bliss does it all.
Dr. Bliss opened her practice immediately after graduating from Ross in 2011. Having grown up with horses in a rural area, Dr. Bliss always knew she would work with large animals. While her original aim was to exclusively work in equine medicine, she developed a strong desire to practice with cattle during her time at Ross and through an externship experience. Today, Dr. Bliss likes the variety of seeing all types of species, while being able to work in her hometown and have family close by.
Tanja Ebel, DVM ‘04
Owner, Apple Creek Equine Medicine
Dr. Ebel grew up in Indiana and Kentucky, but came to Maine for a job interview after graduating from Ross and fell in love with the state. After working for a mixed animal practice, she decided to move further north in Maine and start her own practice.
While she originally intended the practice to be strictly equine, Dr. Ebel realized the need for small ruminant work as well as small family farm operations that the big dairy vets didn’t cover. So Dr. Ebel responded to the needs of the community and Apple Creek Equine Medicine became a true mixed animal practice—even servicing cats and dogs.
Dr. Ebel’s practice is a one-person operation with a part-time veterinary assistant. As most of her clients are farm calls, she’s on the road a lot, working with everyone from horse owners to farm owners and families. “As much as I enjoy working with the animals, I enjoy interacting with family farmers,” said Dr. Ebel. “It’s fun to watch the farm children and grandchildren grow up and become young adults.”
KC Fagan, DVM ‘16
Owner, Vineyard Veterinary Services
Recently featured in the local Portland publication Willamette Week, Dr. Fagan is known as the “Goat Doctor of Portland” and specializes in hoofed animals. She grew up in eastern Oregon and returned to the state after earning her DVM from Ross. Dr. Fagan always knew she’d end up working with large animals, and goats in particular hold a special place in her heart.
As owner of Vineyard Veterinary Services, she operates a primarily ambulatory practice and welcomes both emergency treatment cases as well as routine medical, surgical, and dental care. (And despite her nickname, she doesn’t only treat goats—large animals including pigs, horses and sheep are all welcome!)