DESIGNATED HISTORIC PRACTICE
By Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association
The Miami Animal Hospital of Miami Oklahoma has served northeast Oklahoma as well as southeastern Kansas and southwestern Missouri for over 60 years. Founded in 1950 by Dr. Luther Smith, the practice has persevered through adversity and has played an important role in the history of veterinary medicine both in Oklahoma and on a national level.
Dr. Smith graduated from Colorado State University after World War II. He was familiar with the Miami area because his father had visited the area as a food inspector. Dr. Smith built the practice in 1950, but in 1951 the nearby Neosho River flooded and all but the building’s roof was submerged by water. The practice was remodeled, but successive floods in 1986, 1991, 1995, and 2007 necessitated the move of the practice to its current location north of Interstate 44 in 2008.
MIAMI ANIMAL HOSPITAL
Dr. Wylie Hough joined Dr. Smith at Miami after graduating from OSU in 1963. After a few years in practice, Dr. Hough was drafted into the Army to aid in the Vietnam War effort. Dr. Hough was based at Fort Benjamin Harrison northeast of Indianapolis during his 4 years of military service. He was in charge of a small animal and equine clinic on the base as well as food safety inspections. As an Army Captain, he also traveled throughout Indiana to personally notify the families of soldiers lost in the war. During his military service Dr. Hough maintained ties to Miami by driving from Indianapolis to Miami once a month, leaving on Thursday evening and returning to Indianapolis on Sunday.
Upon returning to Miami full time after his military service, Dr. Hough purchased the practice from Dr. Smith in 1970. In 1971 the Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus crossed into southern Texas from Mexico. To prevent a widespread outbreak, the US Department of Agriculture provided vaccine against the virus to veterinarians in states surrounding Texas. The vaccinated horses in these states would provide a “buffer zone,” and prevent the spread of the virus out of Texas. As an Oklahoma veterinarian, Dr. Hough had access to this vaccine while veterinarians in Kansas and Missouri did not. Many concerned horse owners from Kansas and Missouri traveled to Miami for Dr. Hough to vaccinate their horses. The concern was so great that when Dr. Hough would arrive at the practice in the morning there would be several trailers lined up waiting for him, and he would often work till 1 or 2 in the morning vaccinating horses. According to the US Department of Agriculture some 2.8 million horses were vaccinated in the United States, and the spread of Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus was contained to south Texas.
Purebred cattle play an important role in northeast Oklahoma’s cattle industry. Dr. Hough helped develop the practice of embryo transfer among his purebred cattle clients in the 70s. Early on in the development of this practice, some of the surrogate mothers were not large enough to successfully give birth to the embryo transfer calves. Therefore some of Dr. Hough’s clients hired cowboys to monitor the surrogates 24 hours a day and at the first sign of calving bring the cow to Dr. Hough for a C-section. This led to a period of time when Dr. Hough was performing C-sections around the clock, with a record of 40 C-sections in one day at the clinic.
Dr. Hough also played a role in the importation of some of the first purebred Limousin cattle into the United States. Because of the presence of Foot and Mouth Disease in France, Limousin cattle could not be directly imported into the US. The cattle had to spend 3 months in quarantine on a Canadian island in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. Unfortunately the importation of the cattle into the US was delayed and the cows started to calve on the island while still in quarantine. One of Dr. Hough’s clients paid him to spend two months on the island to supervise the calving and see the cattle successfully back to Oklahoma.
Dr. Wylie Hough’s son, Dr. Rod Hough, joined the practice in 1995 after graduating from OSU. Dr. Rod was initially concerned how it would be returning to his home town to practice with his father, but he soon found it to be a rewarding experience. His new clients immediately accepted and respected him, and his father enjoyed consulting with him about new techniques and experiences he had learned in veterinary school. The practice added ultrasound, endoscopy, blood machines, and other equipment to improve diagnostic capabilities. Dr. Rod Hough took over the practice in 2007 after his father retired, and continues to serve the people of the tri-state area. Dr. Wylie Hough says he has had no prouder moment than when he was able to hand down the practice he had invested 40 years of his life into to his son. Miami Animal Hospital remains a full service mixed animal practice, standing by its motto to treat any animal, “unless it is covered in feathers or crawls on its belly.” The practice is also still heavily involved in serving the reproductive needs of area horse, cattle, and dog breeders.