Park City Life: K-9s and Porcupines

written by: Tony Gill

Kate Bjordahl reaches people through their pets.

When a town is nicknamed Bark City, you can confidently bet pets are a big part of the community. At the heart of that community are the people who keep those pets healthy, and Dr. Kate Bjordahl is one of the best in the business. Bjordahl, a Midwesterner who was lured to Park City by its mountainous playground, is a veterinarian and founder of Powder Paws Veterinary Clinic who also maintains the health of the Summit County Sheriff’s K-9s.

1. When did you know you wanted to become a veterinarian?

KB: There’s a picture of me as a three-year-old taking blood pressure on my cat, so pretty early, I guess. I was studying biomedical engineering and took an animal physiology course when I decided it would be a good way to combine all my skills. I really enjoy the sciences, and I wanted to help people. Every animal has an owner, and when you help pets, you’re helping people, too.

2. What made you start your own clinic, Powder Paws?

KB: After working in Salt Lake City for five years, my husband and I moved to Park City. We had two children and I quit working for family medical reasons. People started calling me to make house calls out of my Jeep. I always dreamed of owning my own business, and I missed working with my hands doing surgery. So I opened a small surgical clinic. Now, we have four vets, rehab, grooming and even a coffee shop.

3. What’s it like working in such a pet-crazy community?

KB: It’s great! Pets here are part of the family, and owners want to pursue treatments for their animals. You get some unique cases, too—a lot of porcupine exposures, moose kicks and ski cuts. It’s also interesting with so many second home owners traveling here. I’ve had to do a lot of learning about animal health issues in different countries and states.

4. How did you get involved working with the Summit County K-9s?

KB: I introduced myself, and they contacted me because of my interest and expertise in dentistry. Some of their dogs are involved in sniffing work and bite work, and you need to pursue advanced dentistry. They had one dog that temporarily lost its ability to smell due to a dental abscess. Once we repaired that, he went on to become very successful.

5. What’s one thing every pet owner in Park City should know?

KB: The best thing you can do to keep your pet healthy and help your pet live longer is to keep them lean and keep their teeth clean. That will reduce the risk of everything from cardiovascular disease to cancer. That, and porcupines don’t shoot their quills. If you can keep your pet away from a porcupine, they’ll be okay.

Powder Paws: 2780 Rasmussen Rd, Park City, 435-649-1221,

Photo by: Adam Finkle

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Tony Gill
Tony Gill
Tony Gill is the outdoor and Park City editor for Salt Lake Magazine and previously toiled as editor-in-chief of Telemark Skier Magazine. Most of his time ignoring emails is spent aboard an under-geared single-speed on the trails above his home.

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