Humboldt vet clinic expands
Owner: New lobby, exam rooms key to patient experience
HUMBOLDT — The Humboldt Veterinary Clinic is practically unrecognizable these days after an extensive renovation and expansion that was recently completed.
Owners of the practice, Dr. Aubrey Cordray and her husband Kevin Cordray decided to make the changes in order to accommodate their growing clinic.
During the process, Dr. Aubrey Cordray said they stayed focused on the clinic’s core values of authenticity, team, comprehensive, compassionate and honesty.
“With every single thought we have put into this project, it all comes back to those five values,” she said. “You will also see that in the type of medicine that we practice as well. Collaboration between our team of doctors is really important, and I feel like that is one of the most valuable things that clients get when they come to our practice.”
Dr. Aubrey Cordray graduated from veterinary school in 2014 and began working for the Humboldt Veterinary Clinic two days after graduation as a part-time veterinarian while holding down another part-time veterinarian position at another clinic.
One year later, she started working full time at the Humboldt location.
Kevin Cordray at that time was working as a regional manager for a farm equipment company.
In November 2017, the Cordrays purchased the clinic. Since then, Kevin Cordray has transitioned to the role of business manager for the Humboldt Veterinary Clinic.
Currently the practice features six veterinarians; three full-time and three part-time, as well as 13 other support staff.
Coming to the Humboldt area seemed like a perfect fit for Dr. Aubrey Cordray.
“I am originally from the Havelock area,” she said. “I grew up knowing Humboldt and the surrounding communities. This was an area that we were drawn back to and could really see ourselves investing in and being here for the long term future.”
“One thing that really attracted Dr. Aubrey to the practice was the efforts of Dr. Jim Illg, the previous owner, to provide high quality services.” said Kevin Cordray. “He was very progressive in his medicine and he developed a really good practice and a really good clientele base. We were able to pick that up and build upon that.”
Over the past year, the Humboldt Veterinary Clinic has expanded from 3,500 square feet up to 13,000 square feet. The small animal clinic was completely renovated and expanded, going from two exam rooms and one surgery room to four exam rooms and two surgery rooms. They doubled the kenneling space as well. An extensive haul-in facility for large animal veterinary clients was the largest part of the project.
The expansion was something the Cordrays had planned for the clinic.
“We have always had the vision, when we bought the practice, to expand facilities and expand opportunities,” said Kevin Cordray. “It was a very big investment for us, but looking long-term, it was the right time to do it. We have really opened a lot of doors as far as our ability to serve Humboldt and surrounding communities at a very high level for both small animal and large animal work.”
The couple set out during the summer of 2018 visiting other practices to gather ideas they could combine with their own plans.
At the end, they have built a unique facility with which the practice will be able to grow.
“There would be very few clinics in the state of Iowa that would be comparable to this,” said Kevin Cordray. “We built it to serve the needs of today and for well into the future.”
The Cordrays decided to depend upon local contractors for the expansion and renovations.
“We wanted to give back to those people in the community that have helped us build our business,” said Kevin Cordray. “We worked with a large number of contractors and businesses in Humboldt and surrounding communities. Ninety percent of the dollars spent on this project was spent with local contractors, businesses and organizations.”
Small animal practice
With the renovations and expansions done on the small animal side of the practice, Dr. Aubrey Cordray said her priorities were patient comfort and the overall client experience.
“When a client comes here, we want them to experience compassionate care and the comprehensive, progressive medicine that we are known for,” she said.
A new lobby was added to the front of the original clinic. New features to the lobby include two nooks with seating for clients and their dogs to sit comfortably out of the way. The spaciousness of the lobby and the waiting area should hopefully deter from much interaction among animals.
There is also a separate glass room designed just for the clinic’s feline friends.
“It’s a quieter environment and they can see things, but it also is an area where they feel secure,” said Dr. Aubrey Cordray. “There are floating shelves in there so they can hop up and explore, because cats really like to roam around and climb onto things.”
Even the windows are designed for animals to enjoy.
“Our windows up front are really big and closer to the ground so most dogs will be able to see out of the window,” she said. “Everything is intriguing to them and it gives them things to look at as well and helps keep them relaxed before the appointment.”
The new lobby also comes complete with a refreshment station and a brand new saltwater fish tank.
All four of the exam rooms are designed for a specific intent and feature calming colors.
“Studies have shown that some colors are more appealing to certain animals,” she said.
“Dogs and cats all have different needs, so we tried to build the rooms to help meet the needs of that specific animal, maximize the comfort for that animal and maximize the doctor’s ability to give them the care they need,” said Kevin Cordray.
One of the new exam rooms has been designed specially for chiropractic and acupuncture procedures, as well as pet euthanasia. It offers families more privacy during a difficult time with access directly from the outside.
“The exam room has a couch and a bigger ottoman style exam table — so the client can be closer to their pet, it is a more warm experience,” said Dr. Aubrey Cordray.
There is also an isolation exam room and kennel area for pets that may be contagiously ill and need separated from the other animals. That room comes with a separate entrance as well.
The renovations also allowed for more storage, doubled boarding space and a cat specific boarding area featuring eight cat condos.
Large animal practice
The large animal haul-in facility will allow for substantial in-clinic care for equine, livestock and other large animals.
“In the past, the vast majority of the large animal work the doctors did was on the farm,” said Kevin Cordray. “One of the challenges on the large animal side is there is not as many doctors willing and able to do the work, so we are constantly getting calls from clients further and further away. By having a facility now where people can bring their horses, cattle and other animals, we are able to serve more people from a larger area.”
Treating animals in house allows for a more controlled environment, as well.
“We have everything we need at hand’s reach so we can do things efficiently, safely and effectively to provide the highest level of care for those animals as well,” Kevin Cordray said.
The facility was designed for keeping the animal calm, comfortable and for good animal flow. The various treatment areas feature several pieces of custom-made equipment.
Dr. Aubrey Cordray said the equine room, which features a specialty rubber floor and padding on the walls for horse safety is set up to accommodate all sizes of equine in a controlled environment.
There is also an outdoor round pen for holding horses and conducting lameness exams.
For horses requiring more care, there are three horse stalls. Two are set on the one side of the building, while the third is in another section to help with any isolation need.
“The stalls are utilized for holding a horse overnight during breeding season, treatment of injuries or working up a colic,” said Kevin Cordray. “There is a lot of flexibility to serve the needs of our equine clients.”
The Cordrays utilized the expertise of a cattle movement expert, as well as their own experiences, when developing the floor plan.
“Dr. Kip Lukasiewicz helped us with the planning. Everything is set up so animals will move well in the environment,” said Dr. Aubrey Cordray.
Features include a custom hydraulic chute with tilting capabilities, a separate Caesarean-section suite and holding pens to hold animals for an extended period if needed. Extra care was taken during the design to include features that minimize the noise in the work area and also to allow for easy clean up and stabilization.
For their employees
The Cordrays took their renovations a step further and also worked to make the clinic a place their employees enjoy working every day.
“We want our employees to look forward coming to work. Having a positive workplace environment has been a big driver for us as well,” said Kevin Cordray. “We have an exceptional team. We feel extremely fortunate to have the people on our team that we do.”
A new break room and a kid’s area are just a few of the new features their employees get to enjoy.
“We are a very team -oriented clinic and I feel like what it comes back to is we are just really trying to put people’s needs first, whether that be patient comfort or employee comfort,” said Dr. Aubrey Cordray.
“We want to thank all of the businesses, contractors and individuals that helped make our vision a reality” the Cordrays said. “Our new facility was built by the community and for the community. We are grateful for the opportunity to serve the veterinary needs of our clients,” the Cordrays say.
The Humboldt Veterinary Clinic is located at 2112 10th Ave. N. in Humboldt, which is right along Highway 3 on the west edge of town. To contact the clinic, call 515-332-2346.