TELLURIDE – Jen Karcsinski is a lifelong animal lover, and it runs in the family. Karcsinski was inspired to train as a veterinarian after visiting her sister’s vet clinic when she was 13, and inspired to follow her sister’s footsteps into the same career.
Karcsinski earned her bachelor and master degrees from Colorado State University in 2004 and 2006, and then, in 2011, her veterinarian’s degree from St. Matthew’s University (through Oklahoma State University), but not in a linear fashion.
Dr. Karcsinski, who now owns and operates Mobile Unit 1, a mobile veterinary service, serving animals of all sizes in the tri-county area, put her education on hold in the early 1990s as an undergraduate at CSU, to become a professional snowboarder. The native New Englander grew up occasionally boarding Mad River Glen, Stratton and Okemo, but did not experienced Western snowboarding until her college years at CSU, where she studied animal science.
One spring break, she visited Telluride, and immediately fell in love with the town. Soon, she had dropped out of CSU and moved to the San Miguel box canyon. Having gained the necessary skills to snowboard the oppressive East, Karcsinski took naturally to the challenges of Telluride’s steepness.
She was soon competing with the nation’s best boarders.
After a successful career in professional snowboarding, sustaining a few injuries along the way, Karcsinski returned to CSU to complete her undergraduate and graduate studies. Armed with degrees in animal science and integrated range resource management, she applied for veterinary school.
Although a master’s degree was not necessary for acceptance, it comes in handy, said Karcsinski, who constantly applies her education in range resource management while visiting ranches with Mobile Unit 1.
The interfacing degrees help her assist ranchers and landowners with everything from taking better care for their animals to minimizing inefficiencies on their land, aspects of ranch management not taught in conventional veterinarian coursework.
“Veterinary medicine isn’t just about understanding the animal; you need to understand people and listen to them,” Karcsinski said. “On a case-by-case basis, you need to consider the owner, the house, the environment the animals live in, everything. This is not something they teach you in vet school.
“Because of my master’s, I have a good understanding of the challenges facing ranch owners,” she said. “My master’s helps me consider what’s important to the people who own those animals and their ranch.”
Serving Animals of All Sizes
In addition to carving her way to the echelon of professional snowboarding, earning multiple degrees and becoming a veterinarian, Karcsinski’s Mobile Unit 1 services large and small animals across the tri-county area.
When asked what animals she works on, she said: “I think the right question is what animals I don’t work on.” It’s a short list: wildlife, sugar gliders and primates.
“Wildlife, because that requires special licenses and training,” she said. “Sugar gliders because they’re very fragile and deserve an exotics specialist, and primates because they can carry certain illnesses that can be dangerous to humans and our diseases can be dangerous to them.”
If you own pets, horses or cattle and want onsite veterinary care, Karcsinski is available. Mobile Unit 1 offers 24-hour turnaround time for diagnostic, as well as emergency services, 8 a.m.-6 p.m., with after 6 p.m. reserved for emergencies (for which there is a fee). For farm calls outside of Society Turn in Telluride, she charges $2/mile.
Call 970/708-1512 for more information.