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Dr. Harsy Highlights Exotic Medical Care at Vale Park Animal Hospital


“Snakes are the only pet that really hug you back,” said Dr. Courtney Harsy, Vale Park Animal Hospital’s newest veterinarian. “A lot of people don’t realize how much personality reptiles have. A lot of first-time reptile owners are surprised by how personable their bearded dragon is.”

Dr. Harsy was providing hands-on advice at Vale Park Animal Hospital’s meet and greet on Saturday. This signaled the expansion of veterinary offerings in exotic medicine at Vale Park Animal Hospital.

“About 10 to 20 years ago, people started to realize the value of veterinary medicine for cats and dogs,” Dr. Harsy said. “They used to just go for livestock because they were your work animals and would have doctor vaccinate pets as an afterthought.”

As our relationship with animals continues to evolve, so do our thoughts on the kind of healthcare our family pets deserve.

Thanks to the variety of veterinary medicine being offered at Vale Park Animal Hospital, there has been an increase in awareness in the community as they begin to realize the kind of care their pets deserve.

“We’ve done a lot of research fairly recently about ‘how should we be keeping these animals,’ and a lot of my job is informing the public of what we’ve found,” Dr. Harsy said in regards to exotic medicine.

There are five core species of veterinary medicine: horse, cattle, pig, dog, and cat. Anything separate from these core species is considered exotic. These days, we have animals ranging from reptiles to rabbits, causing most pets to fall outside the Fido and Fluffy realm.

Dr. Harsy graduated from Purdue University Veterinary College in 2014 but has a long history with Vale Park Animal Hospital. As a teenager, she worked in the kennels and eventually moved into an assistant role.

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“Dr. Harsy is our second doctor that worked in kennels, went to vet school, and ended up coming back,” said Office Manager Jackie Stalbaum. “We currently have several team members who are working toward becoming veterinarians, and we hope they will return home to Vale Park Animal Hospital upon completing their program.”

Her passion for animal care started at a young age. “It’s here that I learned how much I loved the field,” Dr. Harsy said. “When I had the opportunity to basically go home, I couldn’t pass it up.”

Dr. Harsy also completed an internship at the Indianapolis Zoo, which piqued her interest in exotic medicine.

“I love going to zoos and aquariums, but the career track is very competitive,” Dr. Harsy shared. “I prefer the atmosphere of an animal hospital. Here, it’s more about putting teamwork toward achieving team goals.”

Dr. Harsy added sharing, “Also, in a zoo, everything is on display, and it can be hard to educate a room full of people. I like the more personable, in-the-room communication with each individual owner.”

For Vale Park Animal Hospital, a large important is placed on keeping their clients informed of the health of their pet and the kind of care they need to be aware of. Stalbaum emphasized this stating, “Education is a huge part of what we do. It’s one of our core values and we pride ourselves in how we educate our clients. We’re not only here to take care of their individual needs. We also educate the client on the proper way to care for their pets. If there’s a behavioral issue, we can help with that.”

Not only is it imperative for clients to bring their pets in for problems, but it is also necessary to schedule regular check-ups to ensure what Dr. Harsy refers to as, “preventative medicine.” “My hope is that people will realize that regular veterinary visits are important for the health of all their pets,” Dr. Harsy said.

For more information and to learn more about the care your pet can receive at Vale Park Animal Hospital, visit their website!

Vale Park Animal Hospital
2606 Valley Drive
Valparaiso, IN 46383
(219) 462-5785
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