All Creatures

Dr. Dennis Thibeault only makes house calls. More exactly, he only makes farm, pen and kennel calls.

And rather than a white doctor’s coat, Thibeault wears green denim coveralls, rubber overshoes and sometimes, such as when he is handling young piglets, earplugs.

In some ways, Thibeault’s practice began after reading “All Creatures Great and Small,” by British veterinary surgeon James Alfred Wight. “I grew up around animals,” says Thibeault, a Mansfield resident. “And a high school aptitude test suggested I would like a career outdoors with nature science and animals.”

Acknowledging, “It would not work for me to get slapped down in a small animal hospital,” Thibeult worked in office-based practices after graduating from veterinary school at the University of Michigan in 1994. In 2008 he started his mobile vet practice with his niche being “pet and hobby livestock.”

Thibeault estimates that he drives 45,000 miles a year around northeastern Connecticut and Rhode Island providing routine and emergency medical care. Short of X-rays and surgery, his “very unique vehicle” is equipped with many of the tools his patients require, including “a big strap for animals stuck in the mud.”

“It’s a lifestyle” the 45-year-old says, “and you have to enjoy it. Nineteen years later, I still do.”

2013.07.08 - Mansfield, CT - Ruby Hastedt (L), 5, and her sister Rose Hastedt, 7, watch as Veterinarian Dennis Thibeault performs a routine examination on their horse Ginger. Photograph by Mark Mirko | mmirko@courant.com

2013.07.08 – Mansfield, CT – Ruby Hastedt (L), 5, and her sister Rose Hastedt, 7, watch as Veterinarian Dennis Thibeault performs a routine examination on their horse Ginger. Photograph by Mark Mirko | mmirko@courant.co

2013.07.08 - Mansfield, CT - In Baltic, Ct, Veterinarian Dennis Thibeault runs a routine exam on a horse owned by  Gwenn Hastedt. "The difference between a large animal vet and a small animal vet," he says, "is that my patients can kill me." Photograph by Mark Mirko | mmirko@courant.com

2013.07.08 – Mansfield, CT – In Baltic, Ct, Veterinarian Dennis Thibeault runs a routine exam on a horse owned by Gwenn Hastedt. “The difference between a large animal vet and a small animal vet,” he says, “is that my patients can kill me.” Photograph by Mark Mirko | mmirko@courant.com

2013.07.08 - Mansfield, CT - Between calls, Veterinarian Dennis Thibeault talks with his assistant Holly Williams, a University of Rhode Island student who wants to become a vet. Photograph by Mark Mirko | mmirko@courant.com

2013.07.08 – Mansfield, CT – Between calls, Veterinarian Dennis Thibeault talks with his assistant Holly Williams, a University of Rhode Island student who wants to become a vet. Photograph by Mark Mirko | mmirko@courant.com

2013.07.08 - Mansfield, CT - While driving between calls, Dr. Dennis Thibeault (middle), with his assistant Holly Williams (L), examines a deceased cat that ran out in front of driver Chuck Straub (right). Area residents said the cat was a neighborhood stray. Photograph by Mark Mirko | mmirko@courant.com

2013.07.08 – Mansfield, CT – While driving between calls, Dr. Dennis Thibeault (middle), with his assistant Holly Williams (L), examines a deceased cat that ran out in front of driver Chuck Straub (right). Area residents said the cat was a neighborhood stray. Photograph by Mark Mirko | mmirko@courant.com

2013.07.15 - Matunuck, RI - Dr Dennis Thibeault castrates pigs for Roberta and Bill Browning. Photograph by Mark Mirko | mmirko@courant.com

2013.07.15 – Matunuck, RI – Dr Dennis Thibeault castrates pigs for Roberta and Bill Browning. Photograph by Mark Mirko | mmirko@courant.com

2013.07.15 - Matunuck, RI - Wearing ear protection against the squealing of young pigs who protest being picked up, Dr Dennis Thibeault, with 11th generation farmer Bill Browning, uses a bucket hooked to a scale to weigh a piglet. Photograph by Mark Mirko | mmirko@courant.com

2013.07.15 – Matunuck, RI – Wearing ear protection against the squealing of young pigs who protest being picked up, Dr Dennis Thibeault, with 11th generation farmer Bill Browning, uses a bucket hooked to a scale to weigh a piglet. Photograph by Mark Mirko | mmirko@courant.com

2013.07.15 - Matunuck, RI - Dr Dennis Thibeault castrates pigs for Roberta and Bill Browning. Photograph by Mark Mirko | mmirko@courant.com

2013.07.15 – Matunuck, RI – Dr Dennis Thibeault castrates pigs for Roberta and Bill Browning. Photograph by Mark Mirko | mmirko@courant.com

2013.07.15 - Matunuck, RI - Dr. Dennis Thibeault uses an old wooden farm sign as an instrument table while operating on a litter of piglets at the farm of Roberta and Bill Browning. Photograph by Mark Mirko | mmirko@courant.com

2013.07.15 – Matunuck, RI – Dr. Dennis Thibeault uses an old wooden farm sign as an instrument table while operating on a litter of piglets at the farm of Roberta and Bill Browning. Photograph by Mark Mirko | mmirko@courant.com

2013.07.15 - Matunuck, RI - With assistant Allison Bush, Dr Dennis Thibeault operates on a pig in its stall. Photograph by Mark Mirko | mmirko@courant.com

2013.07.15 – Matunuck, RI – With assistant Allison Bush, Dr Dennis Thibeault operates on a pig in its stall. Photograph by Mark Mirko | mmirko@courant.com

2013.07.15 - Matunuck, RI - Dr. Dennis Thibeault fetches fresh water for cleaning after castrating a litter of piglets on Matunuck farm of Roberta and Bill Browning. Photograph by Mark Mirko | mmirko@courant.com

2013.07.15 – Matunuck, RI – Dr. Dennis Thibeault fetches fresh water for cleaning after castrating a litter of piglets on Matunuck farm of Roberta and Bill Browning. Photograph by Mark Mirko | mmirko@courant.com

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