Sunday, July 30, 2000

Vet makes farm call

Vet makes farm call
The Ann Arbor News
By Pamela Appea

Every time James Romine, the owner and head veterinarian at Saline Veterinary Service, goes to do a house call, he changes to his navy-blue jump suit and puts on his black rubber slip-ins.

Before leaving the Keveling Street clinic, Romine packs up his vet bag and animal medications, gloves, an electric dehorner, a laptop and a portable printer, a cell phone and a bottle of water (for him to drink) into one of the hospital’s red Sonomas.

“Every time I leave here, I feel like I’m moving,” Romine jokes on a recent day.

The morning Romine is visiting a Milan client he has seen for several years. Romine said he anticipates spending several hours at the farm, doing both routine checkups and minor surgery on two horses, two dogs, two cats and two goats.

But since Romine has treated creatures from geckos to falcons, he isn’t worried. He is used to the challenge all vets--particularly general practitioners--face.

“You’re always trying to figure out what’s wrong--and the animal isn’t telling you,” Romine said.

“A veterinarian since the early 1980s, Romine has owned the Saline clinic for the past 11 ½ years. With Meatloaf, Romine’s first horse client in Milan, the vet checks the horse’s eyes, listens to its heart and gives it a quick shot.

The horse doesn’t even flinch. Romine then checks its teeth. After he finishes the checkup, he and owner Ron Johnston walk into the barn to give one of the goats its pre-operation anesthesia.

While Romine waits for the goats anesthesia to kick in, he checks up on the cats and dogs one by one.

Merlin, a cat, runs away after a shot but is coax back out from under the bushes by some food.

Growing up in the Whitmore Lake area near his grandfather’s farm, Romine enjoyed being around farm animal at an early age.

After two years at the University of Michigan studying business, he decided to switch to veterinary science.

Saline Veterinary Service has 4,500 clients from Tecumseh to Dexter to Ann Arbor, Romine said. Although he has been in the business for decades, the vet said he still gets a lot of satisfaction from taking take of animals.

He describes a pet dog that was brought into the Saline Veterinary Service clinic on a recent weekend night. The dog had swallowed a tube sock, was vomiting and barely breathing. The surgery went smoothly, and Romine expects the dog to make a full recovery.

“It makes you feel good when you can solve the problem,” Romine said.

“You feel like you’ve accomplished something.”

Originally published July 30, 2000

Photo Caption One: James Romine, right, of the Saline Veterinary Service, prepared to examine one of Ron Johnston’s horses during a routine visit to Johnson’s home.

Photo Caption Two: Merlin, one of Johnson’s cats, submits to his annual examination.

Photo Caption Three: Smoke fills the air as Romine dehorns a goat for Johnson.

Photo Caption Four: Romine checks the eyes of one of Johnston’s horses.

Photo Caption Five: Above: Romine prepares a vaccination Photo Caption Six: Above: Johnson, left, chats with Romine after his annual visit to the rural Milan farm.

Photo Credit: Elli Gurkinkel