Sunday, August 13, 2000

Thriving in their animal existence

Thriving in their animal existence
Tecumseh veterinarians successfully team up in a business of love
The Ann Arbor News
By Pamela Appea

The work of rural veterinarians isn’t easy, Edward and Lorrie Tritt say, because they’re always on call.

The husband -and-wife team said they did a late night emergency Cesarean section for a Dundee-area cow three years ago--miles away from the convenience of their Maumee Street clinic.

With the only light coming from their’s car’s headlights and the three Tritt children half asleep in the back seat, they say they’re not eager to go through that experience again.
The calf and the cow pulled through.

When Edward Tritt worked in an Ann Arbor clinic in the early ‘90s, animal owners had the option of calling the city’s 24-hour animal clinic. But in Tecumseh, with only a handful of vets in town, pet owners and farmers don’t have that option.

An average day at the Tecumseh Veterinary Hospital consists of 35-40 animals coming in for routine vaccinations and checkups, the clinic’s records show.

Edward Tritt said he typically workers with smaller animals, dogs and cats, while Lorrie Tritt works with larger animals such as cows, horses and sheep.

While the hospital doesn’t specialize in any particular sort of animal medicine, Edward Tritt said he enjoyed animal orthopedics, and Lorie Tritt said she does a lot of TB testing for farm animals beginning around this time of year.

Edward Tritt’s path to veterinary s school was decided, in part, when his boyhood Irish setter was hit by a car. After staying up with the dog all night, Tritt knew he wanted to do something with animals when he grew up.

Lorrie Tritt, a self-described cow person, grew up in Utica, N.Y., observing the rhythm of rural life. One of her first jobs was milking cows and working as a farmhand at a dairy farm in her hometown.

The Tritts met in veterinary school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, one of seven couples in their class who got married. Edward Tritt said working together--which they have done for the past few years--has been a good decision.

“You just don’t know everything. It’s nice to have someone to bounce ideas off of sometimes,” Edward Tritt said.

One recent day, Lorrie Tritt was away in Webberville--62 miles away--tending to a horse for an owner’s pre-purchase checkup, and Edward Tritt started the day’s morning rounds in Tecumseh.

Janie, a 6-month-old black dog, got spayed; Jake an arthritic older dog, came in with his owners for a checkup; and one of the Tritt assistants wrapped up Milo, the black cat, in a white towel after Tritt did a routine operation.

Jake came at 10 a.m., and his owners said they were concerned about the 12-year-old hips. Jake shuffles and doesn’t walk as much as he did before, the owners said.
“How’s the kid doing?” Tritt said by way of greeting.

“He isn’t eating very good,”” one of the owners said. “He’s lost six pounds.”

Tritt explained to the couple that they might want to consider a wellness profile to make sure the dog’s liver, kidney and pancreas are functioning as they should.

Jake has been coming to the clinic for 12 years, and Tritt has been treating the dog for nearly six years, Tritt said.

Later, Tritt said he sees a lot of older dogs, like Jake, coming to his hospital. Tritt said he is a strong advocate of preventative medical care. Tritt said the sooner their owners bring in the pets for these tests, the sooner he or his wife can detect a serious health concern like feline leukemia virus or heartworm.

If a client has more than three small animals or more or more large animals, the Tritts do house calls at no extra charge. Aside fom regular house pets, the clinic sees everything from llamas to ferrets.

But Edward Tritt emphasized that their practice does not accept reptiles or birds as patients.

“We’re busy enough with what we have. We like snakes, and all of those other critics, but treating those kinds of animals takes some special blood machinery,” Lorrie Tritt said.
Clients come from Ann Arbor to Dearborn, but most come from the Tecumseh area, Edward Tritt said.

He estimated that the animal hospital sees 40-50 new clients a month, and the hospital’s active client data base boasts over 2,5000 animals that come in for treatment.

Back from her house call, a little after 2 p.m., Lorrie Tritt wrapped a dark, gray bunny in a small white blanket-quilt, walked into her kitchen and held the rabbit until it came up from the anesthesia. The kids were back from school ad milling about the house, wanting something to eat.

Lorrie Tritt said she didn’t have any more house calls--for the next few hours at least. One of the best things about having he clinic next door is that there’s no commute, she said.

In the next year or to, they’re hoping to make a move to a larger facility so they can see more patients, she said.

Edward Tritt said Tecumseh has been good to them and the animal hospital. Although both Edward and Lorrie Tritt feel they are maxed out with school and community activities, being part of the community is an important priority.

“We not only are a vet- and animal hospital-- for the community but we’re a part of the community, Edward Tritt said. “We feel we should pay back to the community as much as they pay back to us.”

About the Vets

Edward W. Tritt

U.S. Army 1979-1983
B.S. University of Wisconsin-Platteville 1986
D.V.M. University of Wisconsin-Madison 1990

President of Tecumseh school board
Member of Kiwanis
Leader for the Veterinary Explorer’s post 667 Boy Scouts of America
Instructor for Vo-tech in Adrian

Lorrie A. Tritt
B.S. Cornell University 1983
D.V.M. University of Wisconsin-Madison 1990

Secretary for the Parent Teacher’s Organization at Tecumseh Acres
4-H Goat Barn Veterinarian
President of the Optimist’s Club
Recording Secretary for the Herrick Memorial Hospital Auxiliary
Secretary for the Fellowship Board at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Britton

Originally published April 13, 2000

Photo Caption: Edward Tritt, and his wife, Lorrie Tritt, perform surgery on a rabbit at the Tecumseh Veterinary Hospital. On an average day there, 35-40 animals are brought in for routine vaccinations and checkups.

Photo Credit: Alan Warren