George Buckaloo, DVM, Named
to Lead Mizzou Animal Cancer Care
After more than 30 years as the owner of his own veterinary clinic, Dr. George Buckaloo was at a crossroads. He wanted to begin winding down his professional career while freeing some time for some volunteer opportunities. However, he also wanted to ensure that his clients and their pets were in capable, compassionate hands. Opportunity knocked in 2007 in the form of two associates who wanted to purchase his practice and whom he knew to be quality veterinarians. He decided to sell his Independence, Mo. practice to them and stay on part time as an employee.
But then, opportunity knocked again ― this time even louder. Buckaloo learned that the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine was looking for a veterinarian to open its new Mizzou Animal Cancer Care facility in Wentzville.
“When this possibility arose, I was so excited,” he said. “It was just something I couldn’t imagine not taking the opportunity to do.”
Mizzou Animal Cancer Care, which is set to open in June, will offer radiation therapy to cats and dogs referred there for treatment by their regular veterinarians. New cancer drug therapies will also be tested with some animal patients qualifying to participate in those trials.
The satellite facility for the MU Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital will make seeking cancer treatment for pets more convenient for St. Louis-area animal owners, who, in the past, have made the four-hour round-trip drive to the Columbia veterinary hospital.
Buckaloo, known as Renny to his family and friends, a 1972 graduate of the MU College of Veterinary Medicine, has been named the veterinarian in charge of the new facility. He said the opportunity to provide such a service drew him back out of his partial retirement.
“I love old dogs and cats and I love the clients who are at that point too. They’ve had a pet’s lifetime of experiences with them and this is such a critical stage in someone’s best friend’s life,” Buckaloo said. “In the past, the pet owners have either had to drive two hours to Columbia or, in some cases, leave their animal at the University for up to a month, and it very well may be one of the pet’s last months. What a wonderful thing this is for the college to try.”
The University purchased a 9,579-square-foot building on Wentzville Parkway to house the new animal radiation treatment center. The clinic is in a former medical office where human radiation oncology services were provided. The existence of a radiation-containing vault within the building made it ideal for its new purpose as a veterinary cancer care office.
Buckaloo began his career at the Care Animal Hospital in Arlington Heights, Ill., in 1972. In 1976, he returned to Missouri and become first a partner and then the owner of the Crysler Animal Hospital in Independence.
He not only brings nearly four decades of experience to his new position, including offering cancer diagnosis and treatment for animals, but he has also personally experienced the frustration, difficult choices and sorrow of losing a beloved pet to cancer. His own dog, a Labrador, succumbed to lymphoma at the age of 12 in 2007.
“As we searched for the best person to operate the Mizzou Animal Cancer Care clinic, Dr. Buckaloo’s name rose to the top of the list or possible candidates,” said Dr. David Wilson, director of the MU Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital. “Dr. Buckaloo possesses not only the medical acumen for this challenging position, but he also has a track history of being able to build a business from the ground up, has a tremendous rapport with clients, a widespread recognition and reputation with Missouri veterinarians, and we were impressed by his enthusiasm for offering this needed service to St. Louis-area pet owners.”
Buckaloo said that while he has spent the past few days hugging his longtime clients and saying good bye, he is ready to build new bonds on the opposite side of the state.
“The beauty of veterinary medicine is the relationship between the patient, the client and the veterinarian.”
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