Gilbert was a small but growing town filled with alfalfa and cotton fields and optimistic developers when Debra Nossaman opened a 1,500-squarefoot animal clinic at 425 W. Guadalupe Road in 1987 in the Golden Key Plaza.
She called it Anasazi Animal Clinic in honor of the ancient people who inhabited the Southwest, including Arizona.
At the time, Nossaman, then a relatively new graduate from veterinarian school, had fewer than a dozen clients.
“I did a lot of work on potbellied pigs back then,” said Nossaman, who now treats mostly cats and dogs and some exotic animals such as pet rats and mice.
Today, Anasazi Animal Clinic has more than 7,500 clients and expects to earn more than $1 million in gross revenue in 2007. Her recently remodeled clinic has since expanded to more than 3,000 square feet and she is planning on opening another clinic in the East Valley soon.
She is also among the few veterinarians nationally who specialize in the use of laser equipment for operations, animal dentistry and the use of penetrating video scopes to examine the animals’ ear interiors to detect and cure hearing problems.
Nossaman, an Ohio native who moved to the Valley with her parents when she was 5, received her bachelor of science degree from Arizona State University in 1981 and her doctorate of veterinary medicine in 1985 from Colorado State University.
“I borrowed about $1,000 from my parents to start my clinic,” she recalled. “It was tough going at first.”
Gradually, word of her compassion as well as long hours at work spread. Gilbert and the East Valley’s human — and animal — population grew and so did her business. Her staff expanded from one, herself, to 15 today, including three other veterinarians.
Her husband, Tony Nossaman, worked part time during the formative years at the clinic and later joined full time as a vice-president and administrator, his current position.
“Debra had a very tough road,” said her husband, also an ASU student with a background in business administration. “She started out in her mid to late-20s when she earned her veterinarian degree and then opened the clinic. She has come a long way. We’re proud of her.”
His wife, currently working toward a degree in animal dentistry, is among an estimated 10 percent of veterinarians in the nation who practice laser surgery, at an investment of more than $50,000 for the specialized equipment. Her initial expense for hearing examination scopes was about $40,000, said her husband.
“Animal care is steadily improving,” said Nossaman. “The trend is toward using high technology and it’s taking us in a good direction.”
Nossaman is a volunteer on the Phoenix Zoo’s Animal Welfare Committee and also heads The Pet Memorial Program, which raises money for the Animal Care Facility at the zoo.
The Anasazi Animal Clinic will hold an open house from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m June 23 to celebrate its 20th anniversary with tours, refreshments and door prizes
Dr. Debra Nossaman
Family: Husband, Tony Nossaman, co-owner, vice president and administrator; son, Colin Roberts, an engineer for General Motors, and daughter, Erin Roberts of Apache Junction
Company: Anasazi Animal Clinic, 425 W. Guadalupe Road, Gilbert, Suite 112
Key Achievements: Opened her animal clinic in 1987 with less than a dozen clients and today has more than 7,500, mostly in the East Valley.
Philosophy for success: Have passion for what you do.
Information: (480) 497-0505 or www.anasazivet.com