Veterinarian Dr. Kevin Ballard had a dream of returning to southern Utah and opening up his own practice. Growing up in Hurricane, you can say the red dirt was just calling him home!

Ballard and wife Ann (co-owner/office manager at the clinic), have seven children. “We wanted to get them in smaller schools for their high school years,” he explained. “I wanted to get closer to home. When the opportunity came up in Kanab, we decided to go for it.”

Graduating from Southern Utah University, Ballard attended Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine. After graduating, Ballard worked professionally at Desert Pines Equine Center in Las Vegas until September of 2012. “I also worked occasionally at Southwest Animal Emergency Center in St. George,” Ballard added, saying southern Utah was never far from his heart.

The Kanab Veterinary Hospital is located at 6676 East Highway 89. The large facility is 8.5 miles east of Kanab (by the old Stampin’ Up buildings), and has been open a year at that location.

Due to the hospital’s close proximity to the world famous Best Friends Animal Society, there is more of a focus on companion animals in this area. “Pet awareness and love is really enhanced here,” said Dr. Ballard, adding that he respects Best Friends. “We have a great working relationship. Whenever I’ve needed something, they’ve been great.”

“Our most frequent call here is probably for companion animal healthcare,” said Dr. Ballard. “GI upset is common.”

“In the large animals, we see a fair number of belly aches in horses,” said Ballard. “We also see colic and lacerations that occasionally require surgery. For the cattle, there are multiple vaccinations required, as well as trich testing in bulls. Both horses and cows can and do get rattlesnake bites from time to time, as do companion animals.”

“The biggest challenge here probably is balancing everything,” added Ballard. “We do everything we can to meet the emergencies that come up here.” He said cancer and geriatric patients present special care challenges both for the owner and the veterinarian.

But a good focus on preventative care makes everyone’s job easier! “The aspect we hope to stress the most is preventative care. It’s easier to prevent than treat!”

“The hot, arid climate of southern Utah and northern Arizona can cause mineral deficiencies and allergies in animals,” said Ballard, adding, “pet and livestock owners need to be more aware of how the heat affects livestock and companion animals, and make shade and availability of water a priority.”

The Kanab Veterinary Hospital offers numerous preventative services, as well as part time grooming by Faith Kingston. They hope to expand on the large animal care, and have plans to put an indoor intensive care unit in the building. “We also would like to eventually offer long term around the clock boarding care.”

“I would like to say a great big thanks to the local communities,” said Ballard. “Everyone has been wonderful to us.”

For more information, please call Dr. Ballard at 644-2400.