Walker Animal Hospital, Inc.

306 8th St S
Walker, MN 56484-0640

(218)547-3222

walkeranimalhospital.com

Our caring and compassionate veterinary care team!

Meet the Veterinarians & Team of Walker Animal Hospital in Walker! We’re pleased to provide exceptional vet care for your pets!

Please call us at 218-547-3222 to speak to one of our caring veterinary staff members!

VETERINARIANS
Dr. Michele Vedbraaten-Larson - Practice Owner

Dr. Michele Vedbraaten-Larson - Practice Owner

Dr. Michele realized her love for animals at a young age, growing up on a hobby farm near Fosston, Minnesota. Her farm was home to a variety of animals, including sheep, cows, horses, goats, pigs, and chickens.  She knew early on that she wanted to become a veterinarian and began shadowing at clinics while in high school and college.  She graduated from Fosston High School and received her Bachelor of Science degree at Bemidji State University in 2004 and her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 2012.  Her medical interests include soft tissue surgery and preventative care. After receiving her DVM, she worked at an animal hospital in Park Rapids, MN.  In 2013, she moved to East Grand Forks to gain more experience as an associate veterinarian.  Longing to be back in lakes country, she and her husband Toby moved to Walker to purchase Walker Animal Hospital from Dr. Steve Ekholm.  They have three rambunctious cats; Steve, Reggie and Fernando.  In her spare time, she enjoys camping, fishing, exploring the outdoors, reading, classic cars, and being with loved ones.  Dr. Michele is excited to continue the legacy of Walker Animal Hospital and serve the community.

Dr. Steve Ekholm

Dr. Steve Ekholm

Dr. Steve has been a familiar face in the Walker area for over 40 years, providing care for thousands of owned pets and strays alike. He has been involved with Rotary, Walker's Jaycee's, and Hope Lutheran Church, providing community support in a number of ways.  
Dr. Steve attended the University of Minnesota, receiving a Bachelor of Chemistry (with distinction) in 1977 and received his Doctorate of Veterinary medicine in 1982. 
Shortly after graduation he purchased the Southridge Animal Hospital in Walker from Dr. Charles Fuller which was re-named the Walker Animal Hospital.  Dr. Steve also owned a satellite office in Longville, MN for a few short years before selling to Grand Rapids Veterinary Clinic.  He and his wife Jane have been together for over 20 years cultivating the legacy of Walker Animal Hospital. 
From the beginning of his practice, he's been a loved veterinarian and member for our community, and nearly part of the family for many pet parents.
In June 2022, he celebrated 40 years of serving the Walker community.   Although he's now 'semi-retired', his smiling face and popcorn bowl can still be found here two days per week. He has also continued to provide care to shelter pets at Paws and Claws Rescue & Resort in Hackensack. 
 In August of  2022 Dr. Steve announced his semi-retirement and the passing of the torch excited to Dr. Michele Vedbraaten-Larson and her husband, Toby.  Although he's now 'semi-retired', his smiling face and popcorn bowl can still be found here two days per week. He has also continued to provide care to shelter pets at Paws and Claws Rescue & Resort in Hackensack. 

PRACTICE MANAGER

Toby Larson

Toby Larson

Toby grew up in Bemidji, Minnesota enjoying the vast outdoors and opportunities the northwoods has to offer.  Before moving to Walker to pursue ownership of Walker Animal Hospital with his wife, Dr Michele, Toby worked in healthcare.  In July 2022, Dr. Michele and Toby filled in for a few days before officially made the jump and purchased the veterinary practice in August 2022.  Toby continues to enjoy working with the team and getting to know the clients and patients.  In his spare time, Toby enjoys hunting, fishing, camping, working on cars, classic cars, and spending time with family and friends.

VETERINARY TECHNICIANS

                     

Jan Rothe

 Jan grew up in the Twin Cities and obtained her Veterinary Technician degree in 2005 from Argosy University.  Jan moved to Park Rapids with the goal of having a "yard full of dogs".  She continued to work in the veterinary field for several area clinics over the next ten years.  In 2016 she took a break from veterinary medicine and secured a position as postmaster for the Akeley Post Office.  Jan joined the Walker Animal Hospital part-time in June 2023 and has been a wonderful addition to the team!  

VETERINARY ASSISTANTS

Lisa VanVickle "The OG"

Lisa VanVickle "The OG"

Lisa has been a Veterinary Assistant and Client Service advocate for 29 years.  She spent two years at the Bloomington Veterinary Hospital and 27 years with Walker Animal Hospital.  Lisa was born and raised in Hackensack, MN and graduated from Walker-Akeley-Hackensack school in 1984.  Soon after high-school, Lisa married her high-school sweetheart Brian and welcomed their daughter Marissa.  Lisa enjoys spending time with her family, her dog Aspen, her two cats Wooly and Trigger and her bunny Theo.  Lisa's hobbies include beach time, boating, fishing, and traveling when time allows.  

                        

Annie Niewind-Abbott "The Energy Enforcer"

Annie joined the Walker Animal Hospital in 2021. Annie's currently holds a master's degree in Reiki and has previous experience working in the human medical field as a CNA and in long term care.  She is the first of three daughters, and grew up on a dairy farm in Eden Valley, Minnesota where she began her love for animals.  She spent summers vacationing with family in Walker over the course of 20 years and moved to Hackensack in 2010. Annie enjoys spending time her husband Jerry, her daughter Heather, 8 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren, with more on the way. She has two dogs, Moses (Great Dane) and Hanz (Rottweiler) and Peaches the rescue kitty.  In her spare time, Annie enjoys making something sweet, savory or delicious in her kitchen or sewing a quilt in her craft room.   

                         

Brandy Wessels

Brandy joined our team at the Walker Animal Hospital in March of 2016.  Brandy moved to Minnesota in 2004 and owned Iowana Beach Resort for 12 years before working in the veterinary field.  She currently holds a Bachelor of Science in Fisheries and Wildlife Conservation Management and recently acquired her RN degree. She enjoys spending time with her two dogs Moki and Zora, Archie the cat, and her two horses Violetta and Apollo.  Currently, Brandy is working as a Registered Nurse for Sanford in Bemidji and fills in part-time at the clinic.   

                         Sabrina

Sabrina Schroeder

Sabrina joined our team at the Walker Animal Hospital November of 2023.  Sabrina grew up in Akeley, MN and recently moved back to the area.  She grew up on a hobby farm and has always loved animals!  She started her college education at University of Minnesota Crookston to pursue veterinary science before moving back to Akeley.  Sabrina and her significant other have a 2 year-old son, have one on the way along with their Pomeranian mix Remi, Stella the cat and Fletcher the chocolate lab.  Sabrina previously worked with Dr. Vedbraaten-Larson at Peterson Veterinary in Grand Forks, and is excited to have reunited with her and the rest of the Walker team.

CLIENT SERVICES

Julie Rister "Summer Help"

Julie Rister "Summer Help"

Julie has been with Walker Animal Hospital since 2010, working part-time in the summer's, and recently transitioned to our full-time receptionist.  She has worked in the veterinary field since 2005 for clinics in Michigan, Colorado and Ohio.  Julie was born and raised in southern Michigan and moved to Colorado when her husband John changed careers.  In 2014, the family moved back to Michigan and then in 2017 made Backus, Minnesota their "forever home".  Overall, Julie is a rockstar receptionist!  She enjoys spending time with her husband John, her two daughters, son-in-law, and two amazing grandchildren and her faith community.  She recently started gardening, enjoys cooking, bonfires with family/friends and loves her Golden Retriever Tebow.  


SUPPORT STAFF

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Kathy Ullom

Bio coming soon!

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Karla Schmidke

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Heidi Stamm

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