When Seth Stowers was five years old, his grandfather George Slaton gave him a bull calf for his birthday.
That small gesture stayed with Stowers for over 20 years and eventually inspired him to become a veterinarian for herd animals.
“At five years old, he had no clue what would come from giving me that calf,” Stowers said. “I’m sure whenever he did that he had no clue that it would turn into me having 15 cows some 20-odd years later and being a cattle vet all because of that. I’m forever grateful for that.”
Stowers graduated with a doctorate degree in veterinary medicine from the University of Georgia this year and opened his own mobile practice, Hillside Veterinary Services, in May 2018.
“I tried to come up with some names before (deciding on Hillside Veterinary Services)... nothing just really fit until I really got to thinking about how I really wanted to incorporate the Hill name into my practice name,” said Stowers, who named his practice in honor of his mother’s side of the family.
While Stowers has always been passionate about agriculture having spent his life living on his family farm, at first he didn’t see himself becoming a veterinarian. In fact, he planned to follow in his father Reggie Stowers' footsteps and become an agriculture teacher.
But then something happened in the summer of 2011 that put him on a different path.
While spending his Christmas break on a ranch in Montana in 2010, Stowers purchased three registered cows and shortly after helped deliver a calf.
Then one hot day in the summer, the four-month-old calf suddenly died in the field.
“I can still remember when it happened. So I was concerned because I didn’t know what happened to it so I drove it over to the University of Georgia,” Stowers said.
He hopped in his truck with the calf and drove to UGA at 1 a.m. to find the answer as to why his calf had suddenly died. Along the way, he thought to himself that helping farmers and their animals is what he wanted to do.
“It was always kind of a thought when I was younger but I was like ‘there’s no way I could go to school for eight years,” Stowers said.
His father knew better though and knew his son would be destined to become a vet if he could continue through school, and encouraged his son’s new trajectory.
“I’m a very faithful person and I said ‘Lord if you just
help me get in, you know, I vow to always help the farmers out. I vow to do
everything I can to help them out.’ Because it’s a struggle being a farmer and
farmers don’t make a lot of money so anytime that they can get somebody to help
them and show them how they can make a little bit more money and keep the
health of the animals it’s always a great thing,” Stowers said.
Now his dream of helping farmers has become a reality as he travels within a 60-mile radius of Red Hill Farms to help treat sick herd animals as well as provide important preventative medicine such as vaccinations and deworming.
“It is very exciting to see smart young people returning to their hometown to serve their friends and neighbors in the community,” said Stower’s mentor, Dr. Will Baldwin.
Throughout his college career, Stowers worked alongside Baldwin at Dawsonville Veterinary Hospital where he continues to work part-time in conjunction with his own mobile clinic.
“We are thrilled to have Seth working with us here at Dawsonville Veterinary Hospital,” said Baldwin. “He is extremely knowledgeable and compassionate and is a great addition to our hospital and to our community.”
While Stowers lends a hand at Dawsonville Vet one to two days a week, the rest of his week is dedicated to traveling with his mobile veterinary clinic to farms and ranches to provide healthcare to cows, horses, goats, sheep and pigs.
“We don’t do just medicine,” Stowers said. “We give
recommendations on rotating pastures and fertilizing their fields and nutrition
and all those are things that 30 to 40 years ago, most people didn’t know that
vets knew anything about.”
For the Dawson County High School alum, Stowers wants to do whatever he can to help his home in north Georgia not only through medical treatment but by providing education as well.
“I’ll be the first one to say that I can learn so much from some of these older guys who have been in the business for years and years and years but there’s also so much that I can bring to the table for education,” Stowers said.
During his grade school career, Stowers was heavily involved with 4-H and FFA. Throughout high school he served as the president of Dawson County FFA, Area 1 FFA and was even vice president of the state FFA his senior year.
“FFA gave so much to me. I don’t want to give back to just Dawson County FFA,” Stowers said. “I hope to be able to work with FFA students within that 60-mile radius as well.”
Stowers said he would love to talk with the younger generation in schools about the importance of education because there was a time he didn’t think he would make it through college, let alone veterinary school.
After going to school for 13 years then going to college, Stowers said he started to burn out while he was taking his core classes at the University of North Georgia.
“I think some of it had to do with the fact that I was super passionate about agriculture and they didn’t have any kind of agricultural classes there so I didn’t really have anything that I was passionate about,” Stowers said. “I was ready to drop out after my first two years.”
His dad’s voice buzzed in his ear, encouraging Stowers to at least get his four year degree so he wouldn’t regret not having one in the future.
“Shortly after that I transferred to Georgia and it was
kind of there that I found myself. I got around people that were passionate
about the same things I was,” Stowers said. “That was where I felt like I fit
in and got comfortable and just made it all worthwhile.”