Here’s why Iowa Veterinary Wellness is closing its Waukee location

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Marco loved Iowa Veterinary Wellness’ Waukee clinic.

dr Kim Wilke remembers when she and the large black lab’s family couldn’t get the dog to leave the clinic. He would lay down on the slick floors, she said, and make his family drag him out.

“We give a lot of good treats,” she said. “We have peanut butter and dehydrated meat and he was like, ‘No, I’m staying.'”

Wilke, the clinic’s owner, said the clinic still gives good treats — just not in Waukee.

The clinic’s main branch on 3836 Beaver Avenue in Des Moines announced the 83 Northeast Carefree Ln. Waukee location closure in late January.

The small, 800-square-foot suburban clinic was open for three years, with plans to expand to a 5,000-square-foot location before the pandemic.

Those plans never came to fruition. Iowa Veterinary Wellness saw some staff members leave during the pandemic, which put stress on both locations. The two clinics also had difficulties with cohesion, with Wilke saying staff didn’t feel like a team.

“I was just very disappointed that it had to be that way, that we did have to close, but we’re a more cohesive, focused team now,” she said. “When things stabilize, maybe we’ll give it another go because we really enjoyed being out there.”

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Waukee’s clinic only had three employees: a vet, a receptionist and a technician. Ideally, the clinic would have had between one and three technicians per doctor.

Waukee’s branch was not a full-service hospital and would primarily see patients for the special service such as acupuncture and nutritional counseling. Pets who needed additional care or x-rays would be sent to the Des Moines clinic 20 minutes away.

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The closure leaves the suburb, which is booming in population, with three vet clinics. Iowa Veterinary Wellness will likely lose some clients who visited for routine care, like vaccines and checkups, and don’t want to drive to Des Moines, Wilke said. .

“I don’t think that us moving is going to have a big lapse in care,” she said. “I mean, there will be some but especially with the acupuncture people if they’re willing to drive a little bit further then we can certainly see them.”

Sarah LeBlanc covers the western suburbs for the Register. Reach her at 515-284-8161 or Follow her on Twitter at @sarahkayleblanc