Dr. Wayne Thiessen – Owner

Dr. Thiessen grew up in Saskatoon, SK and spent his summers at his grandparents’ farm. His love for animals and country living were influential in guiding him down the path to become a veterinarian.

He graduated from the University of Saskatchewan with a bachelor of science degree in 1976 and continued on to the Western College of Veterinary Medicine where he received his degree of veterinary medicine in 1980.
He and his wife moved to the Drayton Valley area where he joined fellow veterinarian Karen Josephson at Rocky Rapids Veterinary Service. It was mainly a large animal ambulatory practice and was operated out of Karen’s home near Rocky Rapids, hence the name of the practice.

Since joining the practice Dr. Thiessen has seen many changes. What was once mainly a large animal practice has now developed into mainly a small animal practice. These major changes are due to developments in the cattle industry that have severely reduced the numbers of cattle in the surrounding area. Dr. Thiessen developed a herd health program at Rocky Rapids Veterinary Service and continues to provide a gold standard service to the practice’s large animal and small animal clients. Wayne has enjoyed both raising cattle and horses over the last 40 years, but sold his cattle before the market went down.

Dr. Thiessen has a lovely wife, Bert, of 35 years and two grown children, Matt and Corrine. Bert is a registered nurse who started practicing in Drayton Valley when they moved from Saskatchewan. Matt is a teacher and Corrine is a registered nurse.
Wayne loves to be outdoors and loves to travel. He is passionate about golfing. He enjoys visiting as many golf courses as he can during the golf season. He is also an avid reader and hopes to never stop learning!

Dr. Sharron Oakey – Owner
Dr. Oakey grew up in Vancouver. As a teenager she spent a lot of time at the stable and participated in many equestrian events. Sharron’s father and stepmother are physicians in Vancouver and her sister is also a physician, however, she decided early on that she would like to be an “animal” doctor instead of following in the family footsteps.

After completing high school she went on to Simon Fraser University where she completed 4 years of university studies. In 1988 she moved to Saskatoon to attend the Western College of Veterinary Medicine and received her degree in 1992.
Dr. Oakey moved to Alberta after graduating from vet school and in 1993 she started practicing at Rocky Rapids Veterinary Service. She has been providing excellent care and service for her patients over the years and has always had a special interest in horses. She has bred and raised Canadian Warmbloods for over 16 years.

When not at the clinic, she spends her time riding, cycling, skiing, all with her wonderful daughter Kathryn. They are both very involved with their horses and compete in dressage. Sharron is a competitive triathlete, and cyclist, she has acquired numerous medals and has traveled the world competing. She and Kathryn spend most of their spare time outdoors working with all their horses and being active.

Dr. Kevin Winder – Owner
Dr. Winder grew up near Saskatoon, SK. He spent summers at a Christian camp in northern Saskatchewan.
Kevin was pursuing a career in engineering at the University of Saskatchewan, when he decided to change paths entirely. He enrolled in Animal Health Technology at Fairview College, in Fairview Alberta. He completed the diploma and while in Fairview met his wife Ingrid who was also in the AHT program.
They were married in 1992 and moved to Barrhead, AB where they both worked as AHT’s. After spending some time in a veterinary practice Kevin decided to move on and become a veterinarian. He graduated from the Western College of Veterinarian Medicine in 1998.

Dr. Winder and Ingrid moved to Drayton Valley in 1998 with their three children and he joined the team at Rocky Rapids Veterinary Service. Since then he has been providing excellent care to the patients both large and small.

Kevin and his family are very active in their church and Kevin leads the worship team on Sunday mornings. He also plays the trombone in the Drayton Valley Community band.

When not at the clinic, Dr. Winder enjoys spending time outdoors especially skiing (both water and downhill). Aviation is a special interest of Dr. Winder’s. In 1988 he obtained his pilot’s licence and enjoys spending as much time in the air as possible.


Dr. Michelle Woodruff – Associate
Dr. Michelle Woodruff grew up in northern B.C. in a small community called Clayhurst. There, her family had a very large grain/beef farm. Early in her childhood they raised pigs and chickens as well. She was involved with the animals at a very early age, having a horse “Paint” by the age of three. “Paint” was a beloved and cherished pet, living until the age of 34 years old.

After high school she took Equine Studies at Fairview College, in Fairview, AB. Following that she completed the Animal Health Technology Diploma. After completing her practicum for the animal health program she decided that she wanted to be a veterinarian and went on to complete pre-vet studies at Grande Prairie Regional College and then the University of Saskatoon, SK. In 2001 she graduated from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine with her degree in Veterinary Medicine and moved to Alberta to join the team at Rocky Rapids Veterinary Service.

Since 2003 Michelle has been practicing at the clinic and taking time off to raise her children. She and her husband, Ian, have seven children, including two sets of twins. To say the least, their lives are very busy.
Michelle thrives on being outdoors. She and her husband raise purebred horned Hereford cattle and enjoy being self-sufficient, producing and raising most of their own meat, produce,eggs and honey. Some of her interests outside veterinary medicine include gardening, riding horses, baking, sewing and painting.


Dr. Susanne Slemko – Associate
Dr. Slemko grew up in a small, rural village in West-Germany close to Bonn. Growing up she was very interested in horses and was an avid rider.

After graduating from high school, she pursued a career in the hotel/restaurant business by apprenticing as a chef. A few years passed and she decided to change her career path and entered vet school in Hanover, Germany at 29 years of age. Dr. Slemko graduated in 2002. In 2003 she decided to come to Canada to gain some practical experience. She spent time in a rural practice in Alberta. Dr. Slemko then started the long journey of becoming certified as a veterinarian in Canada.

Susanne has two children and they all share a love of animals. When not at the clinic she enjoys being outdoors and playing sports. Susanne and her children have many interests and stay busy trying to keep up with all of them.

Dr. Savannah Howse – Associate

Savannah was born and raised in Beiseker Alberta. She wanted to be a veterinarian from a very young age.

She joined the debate team at the University of Alberta and competed at a national and international level. After spending 3 years at the U of A, she was accepted into the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon. Savannah graduated in 2013 and joined the team at Rocky Rapids Veterinary Service.

While at vet college, she was very involved in W.E.A.M.S (Wildlife and Exotic Animal Medicine Society). During this time she developed a strong interest in exotic animals and is very excited about using her experience in practice. She also enjoys working with small ruminants.

Dr. Howse dedicates a lot of her free time to volunteering. Presently she is a board member on the Alberta Helping Animals Society, a committee member for AEMV Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians, volunteer member of the Alberta Spay Neuter Task Force, and she is one of the current hosts on Pet Talk Radio (630 CHED). Lastly, she volunteers her time and services through Rocky Rapids Veterinary Service to the Medicine River Wildlife Centre.

Dr. Howse moved near Drayton Valley with her husband and numerous pets. She has several pets: DEUS REX MACHINA the bearded dragon, plus Cedric, and Scarlett (the cats).