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Veterinarian takes animal care on the road

Dr. Lori Ballinger, veterinarian at Natural Vet Health in Roseville, offers low-cost services for animals aboard her mobile clinic, which hits the road once a month and makes a stop in St. Paul Park. (Bulletin photo by Emily Buss)1 / 2
Meko, a small Shih Tzu Yorkie mix, gets a teeth cleaning aboard Dr. Lori Ballinger’s mobile vet clinic last week. Teeth cleanings are among common procedures done inside the mobile clinic, Ballinger said. (Bulletin photo by Emily Buss)2 / 2

From the outside, the 26-foot motorhome looks like a mobile advertisement for Natural Pet Health veterinary services.

But on the inside, it is a fully equipped clinic capable of handling just about every vet emergency, aside from major surgeries.

Dr. Lori Ballinger, owner and lead veterinarian at the Roseville-based Natural Pet Health, went mobile in August 2011 after having experience traveling to where her expertise was needed.

“Quite a lot of what we do is near my house (in Roseville),” she said. “The mobile unit allows for flexibility and the opportunity to make home visits if needed.”

The mobile clinic will be parked in the lot of Community United Church of Christ in St. Paul Park, 1145 Summit Ave., the first Tuesday of the month. Ballinger is the mother of Oby Ballinger, the church’s pastor.

Aboard the mobile clinic, Ballinger can perform a number of services, including teeth cleanings, vaccinations, some lab work, spay or neutering, even minor surgeries.

Animals who are brought to the mobile clinic for a procedure relax on top of heating pads and receive a lot of attention.

“We just love all our animals,” said Leana Wallin, veterinary assistant and owner of Take the Lead Animal Rescue in Cedar, Minn. “If they cry, we hold them, and we make sure they are warm and comfortable. We do enjoy our work here.”

In the background, tracks from the calming CD “Through a Dog’s Ear” play, a unique touch Wallin said helps the animals become calm and destress.

St. Paul resident Alana Wilkins brought her dog, a husky and border collie mix, who needed a vaccine, to the mobile clinic last week after looking for a veterinarian.

“It’s so easy,” Wilkins said of the mobile unit. “We really like it. It was no problem to drive to the location. We like that our dog also receives continued nutritional care.”

A key focus of Ballinger’s is providing owners with natural, healthy alternatives to regular pet food and practices, which she said sets up a lifelong guide for nutritional and social health.

Because the mobile clinic is small, Ballinger said she is able to give each animal more personal attention.

“We’re able to monitor each patient closer and give them lots of love,” she said.

The clinic is best equipped to serve smaller animals under 100 pounds, Ballinger added.

For more information about the mobile vet clinic or services offered, call Dr. Ballinger at 651-387-6180.