A quick tour around Frey Pet Hospital on the southwest side of Cedar Rapids will demonstrate this isn’t the pet hospital of years past.
“Most people don’t realize how sophisticated veterinary medicine has become,” said Ryan Steen, owner and doctor of veterinary medicine.
“We do surgeries and dental work in the morning,” he said, pointing out the room outfitted with animal dental equipment and a special procedures room for ultrasounds, laser therapy and chemotherapy.
“We follow the same standards and use the same equipment as a human hospital,” Steen added, noting Frey offers the state’s only single-port laparoscopic surgery performed with the use of a camera.
Frey does an average of six to eight surgeries every day, he said.
“We want to be on the forefront of veterinary medicine and technology,” Steen said.
The building, erected in 2011, also includes a computerized data entry area, seven exam rooms, a comfort room — for consultations or when a pet is put to sleep — separate feline and canine wards, an ICU recovery ward for surgery recovery, and an isolation ward in the back of the facility for contagious pets. Frey Pet Hospital also handles its own cremation services.
There’s an X-ray area and a lab where they are able to handle 98 percent of their lab work in house, as well as a pharmacy. Steen said the only board-certified anesthesia technician in the state of Iowa on his team.
Even the HVAC system for the building was designed by a veterinary specific engineer to offer advanced air filtration for the hospital.
Frey Pet Hospital got its start just a few blocks down 16th Avenue some 45 years ago. Steen had worked at Frey Pet Hospital as a summer job — perfect for a boy who had long wanted to be a veterinarian.
After getting his degree from Iowa State University in 2000, Steen moved back to Cedar Rapids and started working at Frey again. He purchased the business in 2003.
The hospital sees about 3,000 patient visits — mostly dogs and cats — per month.
“Our staff is emotionally invested in our patients and we get to see a lot of wonderful, uplifting things,” he said. “Part of my job is helping our staff deal with the ups and downs. They are so compassionate and knowledgeable.”
The team includes six doctors and 26 support staff. “Every doctor here has a specialty, everyone has a niche.” Steen specializes in orthopedic surgery and spends the majority of his time on it. “It’s really gratifying to be able to fix a fracture for an animal.” Each year he performs some 80 to 100 specialized surgeries to repair ACL tears.
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