WILTON – When you take your pet to the veterinarian, you expect them to be treated like family. The doctors and staff at Saratoga Veterinary Hospital do just that and then some. The priority at Saratoga Veterinary Hospital is to make pets and their people as comfortable as possible, which is evident right when you walk in the door and see how cats and dogs have different waiting rooms, easing stress for both kinds of pets. With a staff of 25 dedicated veterinarians, vet techs, assistants and receptionists, this is a hospital that is devoted fully to the wellbeing of your furry or feathered family member.
The owners of Saratoga Veterinary Hospital are Dr. Chris Brockett and his wife, Dr. Leisa Brockett. Both attended Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine and began working at Saratoga Veterinary Hospital in the mid-nineties after graduation.
When asked why he chose to become a veterinarian, Dr. Brockett replies, “Well it’s the classic answer for most veterinarians and that’s ‘I never made the conscious choice.’ My parents told me from as long as they could remember that’s all I wanted to do. It never changed.”
The Brockett’s purchased the business in 2001 from Dr. Sofarelli, who built the hospital with his father in 1971. All three doctors continue to work together, and they recently welcomed a new veterinarian, Dr. Sarah Sterling this past year.
As people continue to get closer with their animals, the veterinary industry continues to grow. When Dr. Chris Brockett graduated high school, there were only 26 veterinary colleges in the country and they were very hard to get into.
“Back then, veterinary medicine was more geared toward production animals, such as cows. Over the decades, dogs and cats became more around the family and eventually, part of the family,” said Dr. Brockett. “50 years ago, dogs were with us, but he was outside in the dog house. You might’ve had a cat, but it was outside. Flash forward 50 years, your dog sleeps in the bed with you and cats never have their little feet touch the outside. It’s a very different dynamic now between humans and their animals, people care for those animals at a much different level than we did many years ago. As that has occurred, there is now higher demand for care for them.”
Dr. Brockett sees around 6 or 7 patients on a slow day, or up to 20 on a busy day. He mentions how the hospital provides care for all sorts of pets, such as hamsters, snakes, birds, reptiles, and years ago, even a monkey. However, 99 percent of the patients coming in are of course, cats and dogs.
“The coolest thing to me is that first visit with a puppy when there is a young child in the office,” added Dr. Brockett when asked about his favorite part of the job. “They’re to the moon happy because mommy and daddy finally did it, they got him the puppy. They’re bouncing around the room, thinking it’s the greatest thing. I’m hopeful as we go through the process that we impress on that child the importance and gravitas of the care of that pet. I’ll have them listen to their pet’s heart on the stethoscope, just getting them involved and thinking ‘this is so neat.’ That’s the best part of any given day to do that.”
Not only do the veterinarians and staff truly love and care for each animal as individuals, they are dedicated to showing how Saratoga Veterinary Hospital provides the upmost care. Saratoga Veterinary Hospital is accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), an accreditation that only 12% of veterinary hospitals across the country have. Every three years, AAHA makes a visit to Saratoga Veterinary Hospital and examines every aspect of the business, from how they clean to how they perform surgeries. There are 19 categories that must be passed, such as anesthesia, housekeeping, dentistry, safety, diagnostic imaging, and many more, in order for a hospital to earn the AAHA Standards of Accreditation. Saratoga Veterinary Hospital has passed every single one.
“I think everybody should do it,” said Dr. Brockett about the accreditation. “You take so much away from it. It elevates the quality of what you do. It’s important because it keeps you practicing at the very highest level. The bar is very high and you have to work to meet it. It shouldn’t be simple.”
To stay current on all aspects of veterinary medicine, Dr. Brockett is part of the Capital District Veterinary Medical Society. Dr. Brockett has also served for a decade with the NYS Veterinary Medical Society, serving as president in 2014. Part of his role in the society is to help educate other veterinarians in the state, but also to engage with the legislature about laws that affect how animals are treated. Dr. Brockett stays on the cutting edge of his field, and when he’s with a four-legged patient, he not only demonstrates how knowledgeable he is, he shows a deep compassion and kindness towards the animals one can only hope for in a veterinarian.
“We strive to form that bond the best way we know how. It’s establishing trust and living up to our end of it,” said Dr. Brockett. “We spend a lot of time on the phone with our clients. They call in and 95% of the time, we’re back to you that day. Even if it’s about something like switching kinds of food. You’ve got to take that time. You can’t be so busy being a doctor that you can’t be there for the people.”
For more information about Saratoga Veterinary Hospital, visit saratogavethosp.com.