Dogs and cats are important members of many families, said veterinarian Dr. Robert Ratcliffe (DVM ’01), and his goal is to support his clients’ special relationship with their pets by offering compassionate and quality health care in his new clinic or by house calls.

New Oxford Veterinary Clinic, located in New Oxford, Pennsylvania, about 35 miles south of Harrisburg, opened in September as the “clinic partner” for Lake Meade Mobile Vets which he founded two years ago, Ratcliffe said.

He was born and raised in Long Island, New York, but despite the urban atmosphere he had pets and loved animals of all kinds from early childhood. Some of his favorite childhood memories are from the times he visited dairies where his father had worked earlier in life and summer vacations at ranches where he first considered becoming a veterinarian, Ratcliffe said.

After graduating from St. John’s University in New York he worked at a human hospital for five years, Ratcliffe said, but realized that what he really wanted was to pursue his childhood dream of becoming a veterinarian.

He graduated from the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, which is part of Virginia Tech, in 2001, and accepted a position as a mixed animal practitioner in Carroll County, Maryland, where he worked four years. It was during his time at that practice that he traveled the rural countryside in York and Adams counties tending to farm animals and fell in love with south central Pennsylvania, Ratcliffe said.

In a move to be closer to this area he became part of the VCA Conewago Animal Hospital in Hanover for two years, Ratcliffe said, but then in 2007 he got the opportunity to own and operate his own animal hospital in Scranton.

That practice was near some of his family and seemed to be a good move at the time, Ratcliffe said, but he missed the York and Adams county areas. After finding an associate to take over at his Scranton practice, Ratcliffe said he was pleased to move back to this area and found a home in Lake Meade, Adams County.

He founded the Lake Meade Mobile Vets in 2012 to offer house calls for pets of clients that were not as easily able to travel to a clinic, Ratcliffe said. Many clients, such as the elderly, handicapped, or those with multiple cats and dogs, really need a veterinarian that makes house calls, Ratcliffe said, and he plans to continue that practice in addition to his new “bricks and mortar” clinic in New Oxford.

The New Oxford Veterinary Clinic
The New Oxford Veterinary Clinic offers a full range of veterinary services, from wellness exams, to spay and neutering, to house calls. Photo by Shane Dunlap, The Evening Sun.

Opening the clinic has allowed him to offer surgical as well as more in depth diagnostic procedures, Ratcliffe said. The new spacious and sparkling clean clinic has a large comfortable waiting area, several private treatment rooms and a high tech surgery/operating room, Ratcliffe said. He also plans on adding more extensive technology within about six months, including radiology, ultrasound and laser therapy.

Two certified veterinary technicians are on staff, Ratcliffe said, including his fiancée Shannon Jackson who is also going to school to be a nurse for humans. Jackson and fellow technician Brooke Gist are also the practice’s co-managers, Ratcliffe said, and are able to assist with answers to questions, scheduling, and client education.

“We have a compassionate, educated, and friendly staff that really loves their opportunity to be in the field of helping people while working with their four legged best friends,” Ratcliffe said.

The New Oxford Veterinary Clinic offers full veterinary care, including wellness exams, geriatric exams, weight counseling, spay and neutering, surgical procedures, laboratory services, diagnostic testing, vaccinations, micro chipping, dental procedures/care, and house calls.

This article was originally published in The Evening Sun on Oct. 9, 2014.