By Aesculight Digital Media Manager, Chris Smith
Everyone enjoys a great origin story! Dr. James D. Baxter’s career origin story began at a young age. He states that he “had always wanted to study medicine.” When his Grandmother gave him a copy of All Creatures Great and Small at the age of 14, he realized that Veterinary medicine was what he was primarily interested in and immediately began planning his career.
Before he attended school, Dr. Baxter served for six years in the US Marine Corps, achieving the rank of “Captain”. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Masters of Veterinary Science at Penn State before going on to earn a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Michigan State University.
About 10 years ago, one of the Dr. Baxter’s clients inquired about surgical laser options for her pet. He didn’t know much about it at the time but his wife and partner, Dr. Vedrana Gjivoje signed him up for a daylong laser course at the North American Veterinary Community taught by Dr. John Godbold. He states, “Dr. Godbold opened my eyes to the many uses and advantages of Laser surgery!” The Baxters were so impressed that they purchased a Laser for their clinic the same week and have been using lasers for surgery ever since. They upgraded to a more powerful Aesculight CO2 Veterinary Surgical laser a few years ago to meet the demands of their busy practice and clientele.
“The laser has been a positive investment for the practice in more ways than one. It reduces bleeding and post-operative pain across the board.” Dr’s Baxter and Gjivoje’s Bernardsville Animal Hospital is the only laser hospital in the area and they use that fact to promote it to the many pet owners who reside there from their sign to their website.
Dr. Baxter uses his laser frequently to perform nasal and throat surgery for brachycephalic breads. He stated, “With laser, these are virtually bloodless procedures with quick recovery and return to normal activities.” Another area it is invaluable in is eyelid surgery. “The laser cuts with extreme precision and tumors are removed or vaporized in seconds with no bleeding. Many times, sutures are not needed.”
Dr. Baxter advises, “If a Veterinarian were interested in laser surgery, signing up for a day long introduction to laser surgery course, like the one I took in Orlando, is a great way to experience the technology and learn.” He has since taken the advanced course to learn more techniques and feels that “the uses for the laser are almost limitless! You will find that with training, it is easy to use, reliable and accepted by the clients.”
He goes on to say, “I would advise that they charge accordingly for laser services. While you may initially offer laser as an option for surgery, I would quickly transition and make it a requirement for EVERY surgery. All of your surgery fees will increase of course, but clients all seem to understand the value of laser surgery. I have had human doctors and surgeons approach me wishing they had this in their offices. Lasers are great for open houses and ‘show and tell’ for student groups that visit the hospital. Having students write their name onto a wooden tongue depressor to take home is a valuable educational tool and its fun too!”
In his spare time, Dr. Baxter loves to travel, read, practice yoga, play golf and do woodworking projects. He and Dr. Gjivoje have four children together as well as four cats and a dog that also keep them very busy. He likes almost all outdoor activities but says that his favorite is snorkeling with sea turtles in the Caribbean.
All Images Courtesy of Dr. Baxter
Dr Baxter Can be reached at Bernardsville Animal Hospital and Laser Surgery Center
41 Morristown Rd.
Bernardsville NJ 07924