By Ryan G. Van Cleave, Ph.D.

(Owner of “Ladybug,” a Shih Tzu rescue)

Part of what makes Dr: Mauricio Vargas, owner of All Pets Clinic, such a skilled veterinarian is that he hails from Bogota, Colombia. Working as a veterinarian in such a low-tech environment where vets sometimes had to work deals with “people hospitals” to use their lab equipment in the middle of the night, you learn to solve problems on your own through extra care, attention and creativity, Dr. Vargas says.

Don’t get him wrong—he loves the high-end gadgetry that’s a staple of his practice in Bradenton. But it’s his profound passion for the well-being of his patients that drives him to stick with a problem until it’s solved.

Dr. Mauricio Vargas of All Pets Clinic, pictured above with his two Schnauzers, Lady and Princess. Photo by Ryan G. Van Cleave, Ph.D.

“Bringing an animal to the vet isn’t at all like dropping off a car at the mechanic, meaning it’s 100 percent ‘fixed’ a few hours later,” he points out. Sometimes, troubleshooting a pet’s health problem can take a while. And if he can’t get the outcome the patient needs? Dr. Vargas has relationships with many area specialists (yes, there are doggy oncologists, feline dermatologists and beef cattle experts), and he can refer pet owners to the right person every time.

“In Colombia,” Dr. Vargas explains,

“we had a family doctor. He saw all of us—young and old alike.” This doctor knew their names, he cared about all of them, he made house calls and he was considered part of the family. That’s the deep sense of community that Dr. Vargas values in his own “family practice.” And his clients appreciate it. They appreciate it so much that his booming business has him moving from the 24-hour mobile vet service he’s run for the past six years to a stationary clinic in Lakewood Ranch. For those who love the idea of the 24-hour mobile vet service, don’t worry—while Dr. Vargas is opening up an actual brick-and-mortar clinic, he intends to keep the mobile service going around the clock, too.

“With the mobile service, I go from Tampa to North Port to Port Charlotte,” he says. “I’ve also been to Ocala and even farther, too, when the situation warrants it.” But he’s at the point in his life where he wants to deal with more animals during the day rather than putting miles on his big white veterinary van.

One of the real challenges Dr. Vargas faced in his career is getting licensed in the United States—it’s a much bigger ordeal for a foreigner than most would expect. And it’s a testament to Dr. Vargas’ commitment to caring for animals that he went through the entire program, which entailed an English exam, a national

board exam and even a five-day practical exam in which two or three others followed him around, scrutinizing every move he made.

What Dr. Vargas appreciates about his clientele is the variety of animals he deals with on a regular basis. Reptiles, birds, large animals, small animals and domestics all can be counted among his patients. A typical day might look like this: surgery in the morning, dog and cat medicine in the afternoon, and then on-' site farm animal work in the evening.

“I really enjoy unusual pets, too,” he admits, citing how one time he was called to a 10,000 square-foot house that had a 600-pound sick pet pig roaming loose inside.

One of the biggest problems Dr. Vargas runs into with pet owners is the same issues pet owners themselves often face: we spell “love “ as “FOOD.” Too many of us overfeed our pets, because we want to spoil them and give them oodles of affection, attention and love. Overdoing can cause respiratory issues, heart disease, kidney problems and a host of other concerns that run from mild to extremely serious.

“The # 1 reason to have pets is to love them and care for them and give them attention,” Dr. Vargas says. “But there is a point when it can become unhealthy.”

His own pets—a short-hair gray cat and two Schnauzers—are all wellloved, but fit and active and happy. Clearly Dr. Vargas practices what he preaches!

  [editors note: All Pets Clinic opened Novermber 28, 2011 and has been serving the community continually since.]
Starting November 28, Dr. Vargas’ new clinic on the corner of SR-70 and Lorraine Road will be open for business, and “it’s going to be a full-service stop in every sense.” He’ll have lasers, endoscopes and even an ultrasound machine. Plus, what he doesn’t offer on-site, he has partners who can handle those needs. Animal pickup/drop off? Check. Pet sitting? Check. Pet boarding? Check. Online medicine ordering that will ship directly to your home? Check. Plus, he’ll keep that all-hours mobile vet van gassed up and ready to handle any emergency

So, whether you prefer to schedule an appointment in your home or at his brand new suite of offices in Lakewood Ranch, Dr. Vargas is fully equipped to efficiently handle every pet’s veterinary needs.

Dr. Mauricio Vargas owns All Pets Clinic, which is located at 14445 State Road 70 in Lakewood Ranch. The clinic’s hours are Monday through Friday, from &:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and Saturday, from 3:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.. To schedule an appointment or learn more about his clinic, please call 941 -741 -1200, or visit Dr. Vargas’ Web site at