Catering to the needs of local felines, canines and much more, the Columbia Veterinary Hospital is keeping a good thing going since new owners Matt and Kristin Zedwick began operating the business in July.

The pair bought the business from Larry Goza and are adamant about keeping costs down and staying with a walk-in clinic that caters to a loyal customer base.

“We have a really tight-knit team,” Matt said about the staff of 14.

Kristin is a doctor of veterinary medicine. She first worked at the animal hospital while still a student at Astoria High School. Her father is Astoria Mayor Willis Van Dusen.

“It worked out really well,” she said about purchasing the business. “Everything fell into place.”

When the couple found out Goza was looking to step aside from ownership, Matt said they jumped at the opportunity. Goza still works at the hospital as a doctor of veterinary medicine, but is able to do what we loves without stressing out about the administrative part of the business, Zedwick said.

The pair is hoping to build on Goza’s business model while keeping it affordable for client’s furry family members.

“That’s one reason why we bought the clinic is we’re trying to keep it very cost-effective,” he said. “The way the economy is right now I think it’s important to provide this service.”

The new owners have kept the same $30 routine check-up price and the $15 to $20 for a re-examination. People can bring multiple animals for one visit without being charged for each examination as well.

“Our No. 1 thing we’ve been working on a lot is customer service,” Matt said. He also said that they feel it’s important for the staff to have continued education in their positions and become trained in different areas of the business.

The hospital is open six days a week – 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Zedwick said that Monday is the busiest.

The hospital mostly sees domestic animals, but occasionally will treat wild animals from wildlife rescue, which includes owls, hawks and minks. The hospital even attended to an anxious tarantula spider once.

One of the ways they keep costs down, Matt said, is by constantly ordering and having a turnover of inventory so the hospital isn’t overstocked.

“By doing that, it allows us to really follow the market along with pricing,” he said.

The building is at maximum capacity with every available space being used to accommodate the animal patients.

The hospital has three rooms for routine check-ups as well as rooms for surgeries. One of the front rooms also has an X-ray machine.

“We see on average probably 80 to 100 patients a day,” Matt said.

The husband and wife business duo met while both were attending Oregon State University. Kristin was studying veterinary medicine and Matt studied business administration when they met in 2006.

From the age of 5 or 6, Kristin said, she wanted to work with animals as a veterinarian.

Matt is an Iraq War veteran. He earned a Silver Star, Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. He is the executive officer at Camp Withycombe in Clackamas with the Oregon National Guard as a second lieutenant in the 41st Special Troops Battalion. He is also a character in the America’s Army video game series.

“A lot of the leadership skills I have from the Army work out really well here,” he said about operating the hospital.

The hospital recently got a new dental machine that is pressurized to make cleaning easier and to remove teeth. They also got a new ultrasound machine that the staff is learning to use.

“You’re not only treating the pets, but your also treating the customers because you’re providing a health service to their whole entire family,” Matt said.

“I don’t know how many times a day you hear: ‘They’re like my children,’” Kristin said.

The hospital also does private cremations for deceased animals. They ensure clients that their animals will be cremated individually instead of as a group as a matter of respect. The hospital provides small wooden boxes to hold the ashes of the animals.



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