Westside Animal Clinic was originally a 1000 sq ft "feeder clinic" for the Brooksville Veterinary Clinic back in 1978. They had limited hours of operation until Dr Hicks purchased Westside in July 1982. We then opened full time Monday through Saturday noon and took after hours emergencies as well. That was way back when Dr Hicks still had hair. Fortunately for him we now have a local emergency clinic 10 minutes from the hospital so if your pet ever needs emergency service after hours don’t hesitate to call Dr Stone and her crew at Animal Emergency of Hernando County (352-666-0904). They will be there for our patients whenever we can’t be and we have a really good working arrangement with them.
In October 1986 Dr Hicks took on his first associate, Dr Betsy Willis, an AUBURN graduate like himself. Dr Willis worked hard, did an excellent job for us building a large following of clients but later moved on to the University of Florida to become Board Certified in Dermatology. From Gainesville back to Auburn's Vet School where she practiced as a staff dermatologist. Nowadays she is known as Betsy Willis Jordan aka "mom" to two adorable little girls and "honey" to her hard working hubby, Scott.
When Dr Willis left in 1991 we hired Dr Deborah Rodriguez, a Michigan State graduate. Deb did a great job too and in late 2007 bought her own practice across town. By this time, Dr Mary Green had joined us full time. She had started with us in 2000 on a part time basis after working a full time position at the emergency clinic. During her part time stint she got married and had her first little boy. Shortly after learning the price of baby food she started working full time and despite being one of the smartest people we know she had another baby boy! (Go figure). Dr. Green has become very adept at using her Ultrasound machine. We have come to rely on her and it for trouble cases quite frequently. Also she is developing into a Class A surgeon. She puts things back together that ole Dr Hicks couldn’t even take apart! She carries the majority of the brain power around here that’s for sure and is absolutely irreplaceable. Her experience at the emergency clinic is invaluable for intensive care and emergency treatment in house. Unfortunately number two baby for Dr Green came as Dr Rod left so poor old Dr Hicks had to work like a young Dr Hicks (with the help of sweetheart Dr Keely Smith) to hold the fort down until Dr Green returned from maternity leave. Dr Smith then stayed on full time with us for a year or so more before returning to relief work and being her own timekeeper and give herself more time for motherhood and housework! In the summer of 2009 Dr. William Farmer joined the team taking Keely's spot. He did his undergraduate work at AUBURN and went to Veterinary School in the Caribbean at Ross University (lucky duck) and did his clinical training in Oklahoma. Bill practiced in NYC and a podunk town outside of Enterprise in Alabama (the name of which escapes us at present) so he comes to us with a an accumulation of varied experience gleaned from several different parts of the country. Dr Farmer moved on to the big Apple in 2011 which is when we hired Dr Richard Harbert as a part time associate. He works in a Tampa clinic as well and drives to both from San Antonio in east Pasco County. He moved to Florida after living most his life in the Ohio/Midwest area where his family owned a horse farm. The clients love Dr Rich cuz he's a jolly ole easy-going kinda guy (a lot like Santa with a crew cut and a fishing pole). (Dr Rich is quite the fisherman). Our other snowbird doctor is Dr. Scott Taylor who came from the bitter cold northeast bringing a Boston accent with him. At present he drives from Gainesville to work with us twice a week and we are all glad he does. The clients seem to love Dr. Taylor too cuz we haven't had a single complaint about either of our new docs in the two years they have been here and that's saying something in this day and age. People tend to speak there minds more freely of late no matter how slurred the speech! Anyway, Dr. Taylor has been a great asset to the clinic and we are glad to have him. He is certified to do Stem Cell Transplants and loves surgery especially orthopedics.
During all this doctor shuffle since 1982 we have added to the physical facility three times as well to make room as the business grew. We now take up 4 units of Candlewick Plaza on US 19 and occupy almost 3500 sq ft. First we added a third exam room and an office for our 2 doctors plus a small kitchen/dining area for the staff. Included in this move was a kennel with a bathing area, runs and fenced exercise yard outside. Next addition we turned the doctors office into a fourth exam room, made a new doctors office to accommodate three docs and a second larger kennel which now gave us an area to keep cats separate from the dogs. More runs, more cages and more storage area. We outgrew all this over the past few years and in 2010 underwent a major upgrade to the facility. We replaced the acoustic and thoroughly ugly ceiling tiles with faux wood panels that really spruced up the place. We added our fourth shopping center suite and devoted almost all of it to surgery. There is a sizeable, though oddly shaped, portion devoted to a staff lounge and a large storage area in one corner but otherwise its all surgery. Moving the surgery allowed us to move our ever expanding in-house laboratory to the old surgery along with a treatment area/ 5th exam room if needed in a pinch. The old lab is now devoted to radiology. We purchased a Digital Radiograph System in October of 2010 and so were able to turn the dark room into an all purpose storage area and the net result of all this is we now have room to stretch and a fair degree of organization for the first time since July 1982.
Our latest practice improvement was the acquisition of a brand new ultrasound machine for Dr. Green. It has color flow Doppler to show which way blood is flowing and whether it is oxygenated or not. This gizmo does everything short of brushing the pets teeth! This machine also give us more more detail for a more accurate sonogram. We also upgraded our lab to increase the number of tests we can do in house. We hormone assays like thyroid and cortisone so we can check for hyperthyroidism in cats, hypothyroidism in dogs and Cushing's and Addison's disease. Our heartworm test includes a test for Lymes disease as well as Ehrlichia and Anaplasma which are common blood parasites in Florida. In the lab in particular “we’ve come a long ways, Baby”!