Rural Practitioner

Dr. Jessica Laurin

Animal Health Center of Marion County Inc.

Marion, Kansas

Dr. Jessica Laurin, graduated from Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in 1993 with a goal of staying close to her ag roots. She is now practicing at the Animal Health Center of Marion Co. Inc., Marion, Kansas. The practice services both large and small animals with her focus mainly on cattle backgrounding.

Dr Jessica Laurin

Dr Jessica Laurin

Laurin grew up near Tampa, Kansas, on a mixed operation farm where her father raised crops and was a farmer-feeder. “We fed cattle in the winter with the feeds we grew in the summer. It was a very rewarding effort,” says Laurin.

After graduating from the K-State Veterinary College, Dr. Laurin spent a few years in southwest Kansas with two separate practices. One focused on feedyards and the other was a mixed practice with a feedyard emphasis. Her interests grew on starting high-risk cattle and understanding the cattle industry, which led her to returning to her roots to build a practice that tries to meet the needs of the rural, ag-oriented community. The practice has three veterinarians with each of them focused on different areas of practice. The areas are split between cow/calf, backgrounding and utilizing the feedstuffs available in the region.

“By having more veterinarians within the practice, it allows me to focus more on the backgrounding side, while one of my associates can focus more on the cow-calf sector.  It has taken a lot of time and energy to build up this practice model, and I think it has been worth it.”

The most enjoyable aspects of her job are interacting with clients and their animals and also the daily challenges that come with a mixed-animal practice.

“I don’t ever do the same thing.  It’s a great challenge and big reward.  I enjoy using problem solving skills.  I also enjoy the challenge of always learning.”

Dr. Laurin is active in the veterinarian community with memberships in several organizations, including AVC, AABP, ARV and KVMA. She has also been a member of the Academy of Veterinary Consultants for 20 years  and this year she will serve as president-elect and program chair.

“I am excited about how the AVC can offer high quality continuing education for beef focused practitioners. We stay current on issues, and I find that what I learn at a meeting I am already using the information the next week.  I can understand for new practitioners how it can be difficult to find time to be active in even just one group.  But I think it is worth spending even a small amount of time the first few years in a professional organization so you can develop a group of peers to lean on, and friends that will stay with you for life.”

Dr. Laurin says the BCI is a source of reference that is a valuable asset when she works with producers. She says she “appreciates their drive to provide studies that are practical and usable in the industry.” A couple of examples she used are the mycoplasma survey and the survey on common practices recommended by feedlot consultants that the BCI released.

“I have used these [surveys] often as talking points during training sessions with my producers.”