New veterinarian moves to the Shields Valley

By: 
Dwight Harriman

WILSALL — Dr. Jennifer Sasser, brand-new veterinarian in Shields Valley, has hit the ground running.

“I literally unpacked everything last Tuesday,” Sasser, 30, said of the whirlwind start to her new job.

And she still has some more unpacking to do: Right now she has set up shop in the old Wilsall Bar and Cafe, but plans to move just down the road to the building across the street from the Park Farmers Co-op. 

During an interview Monday at the old cafe, with her friendly border collie, Toots, moving about the place, Sasser talked about her new job. She’s running what she called “a true mixed animal rural practice,” taking care of everything from kittens to cattle. 

At the clinic, she sees small animals and she’s mobile for large animals.

So how is it going?

“Really good,” Sasser said. “Word spreads fast in a small town. The general consensus I’ve been getting is people are really excited and optimistic there’s a vet back in this area.”

Mostly what she’s been doing since she got here is semen testing bulls in preparation for breeding season and routine small animal appointments.

Sasser, who said she is the only vet in the Wilsall and Clyde Park area, moved from southeastern South Dakota, where she worked as an associate veterinarian for a mixed animal practice.

She graduated from Virginia Tech with a degree in animal science and then in 2013 earned her veterinary degree from the same institution.

She became familiar with the valley through an internship she did in Shields Valley her fourth year of veterinary school, and through Veterinarian Bob Sager, now retired, who introduced her to the area.

Sasser is married to Cameron Sasser, who sells agricultural chemicals. She and her husband love to hike and ski. In fact, the outdoors is one of the things she likes best about Shields Valley and Montana.

“There’s just so much to do outside,” she said.

She also loves barrel racing, and does it competitively.

“I brought two horses with me,” she said.

She plans on going to Rapid City, South Dakota, in May to compete.

Sasser said the most challenging part of her job is “having to help an owner say goodbye to their best friend — without a doubt.” 

And one of the most rewarding things, she said, is when she answers a call from a rancher and “a live calf hits the ground.”

Katrina Lannen works as Sasser’s office assistant. 

Hours for the veterinary business are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, as needed, by appointment only; and after hours on an emergency basis.

For more information, call (406) 578-2080 or (540) 454-2738.

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Dwight Harriman may be reached at dharriman@livent.net.

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