Rock Creek Veterinary Services in American Falls covers wide area

Veterinarian Alan Woodworth tends to one of his furry canine patients with office manager and technician Shannon Porath at Rock Creek Veterinary Services in American Falls.

Ever since Rock Creek Veterinary Services settled into its current location at 2782 Fairgrounds Road in 2013, furry animal residents of American Falls have had a gentle, attentive hand that tends to their aches and pains.

Opened by Dr. Alan Woodworth, the clinic has provided both large and small animal services to not just the American Falls area, but to many other towns around Idaho and even Utah.

Despite its small office size, however, the clinic is armed with many of the same tools and equipment that most larger offices have and is able to provide much of the same services.

“I think we’re pretty well equipped for a rural practice,” Woodworth said. “There’s some toys and things we’d love to have, but I think we have everything that is necessary to try and do a good job for most people.”

Woodworth, who grew up with a large number of animals in Rockland, attended Washington State University and received his doctorate of veterinary medicine degree in 2002. From there he practiced in Tremonton, Utah, for about six years and became an emergency veterinarian in Salt Lake City for about six more years.

He has since returned to Rockland, where he and his wife, Bonnie, live with their children and a small army of animals, which includes several newborn sheep and a llama.

“I was around animals from a very young age,” he said. “My mom always told me I should be an eye doctor or be a dentist, so I guess I decided to be a vet so I could be all of those.”

Since the clinic is burrowed deep in a rural community, Woodworth said that about forty percent of all their clients tend to be for large animals such as cattle.

“The cattle work covers a very broad area,” he said. “We cover (Ogden), (clients in) Northern Utah, Central Utah, Soda Springs, Grace, Arbon Valley, Rockland Valley, Aberdeen…it’s a pretty big area.”

In cases such as out-of-state clients, positive word of mouth has provided great help in securing new animals to tend to.

“Generally when you go to a farm, their neighbors will be there helping on a big day, and in many cases the neighbor will say, ‘hey, can you come to my place and work my cattle?’, and we’ll say ‘sure!’,” he said. “So that’s how the large animal services are drawn in.”

“I think the reason I enjoy that part of the practice is that I like to do things that help the producers be more profitable and hopefully at the end of the day that’s what I’m doing,” he continued. “I look it at as I’m not just another bill for my producers but hopefully I’m providing a service that will help them make more money.”

The clinic is also staffed by several others, including office manager and vet technician Shannon Porath, technician Marti Anthony, and technician Karissa Philips. They also tackle many aspects of the clinic that are not just limited to technician work due to its smaller size. Woodworth’s wife, Bonnie, also helps balance the business side of things, and is a business teacher at Rockland’s school district.

One challenge that they may face down the road, if they choose to expand the clinic, is the shortage of veterinary technicians who want to work in rural areas. Another challenge is availability in cases that require immediate attention, since on some days Woodworth is away tending to large animal calls.

Luckily, he said, they aren’t far from Pocatello, so they do make referrals if situations like this do arise.

Woodworth and his employees have talked about offering more services, such as boarding or having a groomer work out of their facility, but so far no official plans have been made. These ideas have stemmed from their desire to provide more services to the area’s pets, as they strive to bring love and support to their many clients.

“We feel like we’ve been very blessed with some wonderful clients, whether it be the small animal clients or the large animal clients,” he said. “We don’t take that lightly, and like I mentioned we have people that drive clear from Inkom. They drive past about six or so practices to come here and we appreciate everyone who does come because without them there would be no business. So we are grateful for the people in the area who are willing to support us.”

Rock Creek Veterinary Services is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to noon. To make an appointment or for more information, the public can call 208-226-3134 or email info@rockcreekvet.net.