A vet service could be coming to Fernie within the next month.
Vet David Marion of A Country Animal Hospital in Eureka has been trying to establish a practice north of the border since the spring, but has been delayed by the paperwork involved in expanding a US company into Canada.
The Elk Valley has been without a vet since early 2010.
Practice manager Debbie Marion said that Dr Marion plans to spend the first week of August in Fernie so he can meet pet owners and visit horse and cattle owners to see what their needs are, and then will set up a regular time and place for the practice.
The new practice may operate out of Barkside Pets in Fernie when possible and as a mobile vet service when the pet store’s premises are not available.
She added: “We are trying to get up there as fast as we can. The thing is, when you do something like this, you don’t get a checklist of what you have to do, you just complete one thing and then find out you have more to do.
“Right now the problem is getting our vet truck with all of our equipment in it across the border. We need to get the right documentation, but we’re closing in on it.”
Marion added that they have also considered running a shuttle service to take injured animals for treatment at the animal hospital in Eureka.
“That is one idea the immigration people like very much, because pets only need a rabies vaccine to be able to cross the border,” she said.
“Our Eureka hospital is fully-equipped and we could carry out the procedure then return the animal to Canada so that nobody has to travel.”
Marion said they have interviewed a number of Canadian vet technicians and hope to recruit a Canadian vet in the future to avoid the immigration complications they have already experienced.
She added: “There are very different expenses involved in Canada. To register a veterinarian in Montana costs $65. In Canada it is coming close to $2,600. Our vet even had to go through an FBI check before he got his paperwork.
“But we are closing in on it now, we just love everybody up there, the people at the border are doing their best to help us and we think you are going to be happy with what we are going to offer.”
Marion added that at present she is not taking bookings for the vet in Fernie, in case they experience further obstacles.