By JASON COX
Of the Keizertimes
Dr. Leanne Eggert’s plans to become a veterinarian specializing in exotic pets has roots in her childhood.
Growing up in Keizer, she had hamsters as pets, but her local animal doctor didn’t quite seem to know what to do with them.
“That’s what kind of steered me towards exotic pets,” Eggert said. “They need care too.”
She recently bought Creekside Veterinary Clinic from Dr. Jerry Williams, who continues to practice part-time at the clinic. Including Williams and Eggert, there’s eight full and part-time employees, plus Sylvester, the office cat.
The clinic continues to see all manner of domestic dogs and cats, but with Eggert expanded the range to include rodents, ferrets, birds, reptiles, snakes and chickens.
“We’ve been seeing a lot of chickens lately,” Eggert added. “Kind of from all over the place. I actually think (the urban farming trend) is kinda neat. Hens are quiet.”
Eggert attended Keizer School and McNary High School, where teacher Bea Epperson helped nurture the future veterinarian’s love for science and research.
Seeking a biochemistry degree at Lewis and Clark College, she found that working in a laboratory probably wasn’t for her.
“All the jobs are not-so-kind to animals,” Eggert said. “I was working with rodents in a research setting and determined that wasn’t the direction I wanted to go.”
Pivoting towards veterinary science, she attended Oregon State University, with two years in Pullman, Wash. at Washington State University. After that she went to work for clinics in Veneta and later in Salem.
“It’s a nice mesh between loving animals, and I’ve got a scientific mind,” said Eggert. “It’s a good coupling.”
Her parents, still living in Keizer, had been taking pets to Williams, and tipped her off that he may be looking to retire. They reached an agreement and she took over July 1.
And while she loves traditional pets – she and husband Jon have two dogs and two cats – the less common creatures seem to be her niche.
“It’s a big need,” Eggert said. “It’s difficult sometimes to find someone willing and able to see them and know how to care for them.”
The clinic has recently added abdominal ultrasound and has “lots of state-of-the-art monitoring equipment,” she said.
Creekside Veterinary Clinic
Location: 5456 River Road N.
Phone: (503) 390-5222
Monday though Wednesday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Thursday and Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday, 8 a.m. – noon