Building a Practice

Kelly Wathen Keymer

Make no mistake about it, Dr. Kelly Wathen Keymer is veterinarian.

But she is also a Navy spouse and her husband’s frequent transfers continue to take her around the United States. Everywhere from Virginia Beach to Seattle and now back to the East Coast in Maryland.

Her career has ranged from a mixed animal practice to a small animal emergency practitioner. When she spent three years in the Seattle area after one of her husband’s transfers, she started a small animal relief practice which she maintained when the couple moved to Maryland in early 2020.

“I’m a believer that if you practice good medicine, are kind to staff members, as well as the clients, and work hard, the details will work themselves out,” she said. “So far that has proven to be true for me.”

While most of her career has been focused on small animals, Keymer has a passion for equine medicine. That passion includes equine rehabilitation and she got had a career altering experience when her equine companion of 15 years, Johnson, acutely came in from the pasture neurologic one morning.

“Johnson was a spectacular teacher throughout his life on so many levels,” Keymer said. “He had a talent for random injuries and mystery ailments.”

Her horse was in severe pain and had difficulties moving. Local equine veterinarians couldn’t figure out what was going on with Johnson and couldn’t figure out how to make him more comfortable.

Keymer turned to Dr. Posie Magurn, a local veterinary equine therapist.

“Dr. Magurn gave me hope, but did not mince words on how challenging Johnson’s case was and that she couldn’t predict the future,” Keymer said. “On that first visit and many after, her patience with Johnson and me, her openness on not having all of the answers, and her insistence that I could help him myself were absolutely some of the most valuable lessons I have learned in work and life.”

Keymer was so impressed with Magurn and her methods, that she obtained her veterinary acupuncture certificate. And when Magurn retired in 2019 and gave Keymer access to her equine clients, it allowed Keymer the ability to start Solis Veterinary Care. The practice is exclusively equine and Keymer offers pain management, acupuncture and soft tissue manipulation services.

“I enjoy horses so much and there is just so much to learn that my time is best spent focusing on how I can help these amazing animals,” Keymer said. “Taking good care of horses is the only thing I had ever wanted to do, so it was a natural transition.”

In addition to Solis Veterinary Care, Keymer still maintains her small animal relief practice.

“The biggest challenge for me as a military spouse is that it takes time to build a practice and when you move every three years that is a huge obstacle,” she said. “That is a big part of the reason I keep my toes in small animal practice.

“But ultimately, like most veterinarians, I’m here for the animals. They deserve to be well cared for and I am in a unique position to do just that for them.”