Rural Practitioner

Dr. Brendan Kraus
Spur Ridge Veterinary Hospital
Marion, Kansas

By Audrey Hambright

Dr. Brendan Kraus

Dr. Brendan Kraus ultrasounds a large orbital mass which turned out to be an aggressive cancer.

Finding a great mentor for guidance in a career path can prove to be tremendously beneficial.

Dr. Brendan Kraus, Spur Ridge Veterinary Hospital in Marion, Kansas, was lucky enough to find just that. After graduating from the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Kraus took a job as solo veterinarian at an exclusively large animal practice. He realized he still had a lot to learn, especially since he had never worked under another veterinarian. Over those first few years, Drs. Matt Miesner, Ken Harkin and Brent Hague made themselves available for questions or help with cases. Kraus says he was made to feel comfortable calling these referral veterinarians for help when needed

“These doctors allowed me to improve faster than I should have been able to do on my own, and I am grateful to have good relationships with these specialists,” he said.

Growing up on a farm east of Marion, Kraus developed his passion for animals at a young age. His interest in science and being outdoors simply fueled the flame.

“I always enjoyed working with animals growing up and veterinary medicine seemed like a fit for me,” Kraus said.

His first full-time job after school was a startup practice near Louisburg, made up of 70 percent equine and the rest beef cattle. Two years later, he decided to move back home to Marion where he purchased a mixed animal practice in Florence that was being vacated. 5 years later, he expanded the practice to a new facility in Marion.

Spur Ridge Veterinary Hospital is a two-doctor mixed practice made up of 45 percent beef cows and backgrounder/feedlot, 40 percent small animal and 15 percent equine. Dr. Chris Cox joined the practice in 2015.

“Our practice model is focused on customer service while attempting to deliver a high level of care across a wide range of species,” Kraus said. “We really want to be able to offer whatever services our clients need, but we want to do it well.”

Kraus Family

Dr. Kraus enjoys a vacation with his family.

One change he has noticed in the industry is the specialization of veterinarians, particularly among new graduates. He doesn’t feel that this is a necessity for every new veterinarian, but encourages students who want to be a mixed animal practitioner to “just go for it.”

“While it can be difficult and challenging at times, doctors who are able to practice good medicine on whatever walks through the door will always have a place in the hearts and lives of people in rural communities,” Kraus said. “They will trust and expect that you can get it done, whatever that “it” may be.”

Overall, his career in veterinary medicine has been fun and rewarding. And added that practice ownership, while even more challenging, can be rewarding as well.

“The only advice I could offer young veterinarians is to work harder than most, stay as humble as possible, don’t neglect your family, and find your worth and satisfaction in Jesus Christ and not solely in your occupation.”