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Being a large-animal vet is no small job

All across California, large-animal vets care for all kinds of animals--cows, horses, goats, pigs, llamas and alpacas.



When most urbanites think of veterinary care, they think of taking "Lucky" the dog or "Fluffy" the cat to the vet. But all across California, large-animal vets care for all kinds of animals--cows, horses, goats, pigs, llamas and alpacas. These animals can encounter a wide variety of illnesses, yet have a common need for healing, and that's where Gene Harlan comes in.

He has been a large-animal vet for 32 years and has seen everything from a horse with colic to an unruly elephant from Marine World. Trained at one of the top veterinary schools in the country, the University of California, Davis, Gene now works at an animal hospital in Cotati, just outside of Santa Rosa.

Every day is a new day, full of animals who need Gene's help.

"Going out to the farms and ranches is one of my favorite parts of the job. These people are the salt of the earth and are some of the best people I have ever met," Gene says. Gene works with four other vets and they rotate roles, with one in the office, and four outside, making house/farm calls. Gene's job includes routine vaccinations, dental work, aiding sick animals, tending to horses with colic, treating injured hooves and aiding in the birthing process.

In addition to his duties at the animal hospital, Gene also works with schoolkids through the local 4-H club, which he's been doing for the last 32 years. Gene also has a ranch of his own; he has 50 beef cattle and horses.

"I love my job because I get to be outside and there is never a dull day. I never know what I am going to encounter when I get out to the farms and ranches. It's an exciting line of work, to say the least!" Gene said.


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