In early 2019 San Juan County will enjoy the benefit of a permanent veterinary care for the first time in over six years if everything goes according to plan.
Moab-based veterinarian Scott Dolginow and his wife, Patsy Wilmerding, plan to open the nonprofit Cedar Mesa Animal Hospital in Blanding as an independent veterinary service.
Four years ago Dolginow and Wilmerding opened Millcreek Animal Hospital to provide care for small animals in Moab. A steady stream of San Juan County residents have made the drive to receive care for their animals during that time, opening the couple’s eyes to the need for a facility in San Juan County.
The new Cedar Mesa facility will supplement providers like the Moab Veterinary Clinic in Spanish Valley, which has regularly sent a mobile unit to San Juan County to serve both large and small animals for years.
It will be the first time the county has had full-time veterinarian service since Doctor Clyde Watkins passed away in March 2012.
Dolginow explained to the Moab Times-Independent in September that the reason he and his wife are spearheading Cedar Mesa Animal Hospital is to help local communities.
According to the Moab nonprofit organization Underdog Animal Rescue and Rehab, there are thousands of stray dogs living on reservations in the Four Corners.
There are two large reservations near Blanding – the Southern Ute Indian Tribe and the Navajo Nation.
The U.S. Census Bureau reported in 2017 that almost half of San Juan County residents are of Native American origin.
Dolginow said another reason for opening the veterinary hospital in Blanding is to provide care for animals in those underserved areas.
“The hospital will be primary care to start with,” Wilmerding told the Times-Independent, “such as vaccinations and spay and neuter to control the population.
“We see a lot of dogs with parvo and distemper, a deadly disease that most animals don’t survive. It’s horrible to watch and very preventable.”
Major surgeries that cannot be performed in-house at the Blanding location can still be completed in Moab. Wilmerding added that they will assist with transportation in such cases.
As a nonprofit, the new Blanding clinic seeks to make veterinary care affordable for everyone in San Juan County.
Doctor Dolginow was born and raised in Overland Park, KS. He received his undergraduate degree from Colgate University and his DVM from the Kansas State College of Veterinary Medicine.
Post-graduation, Dolginow interned and worked in Washington, D.C. before relocating to Aspen, Colorado. He practiced at Aspen Animal Hospital before eventually becoming the clinic’s owner.
He also opened the Valley Emergency Pet Care Center in Basalt, Colorado – a 24/7 facility that houses specialists in ophthalmology, orthopedic surgery, cardiology, internal medicine, radiology, and neurology.