Patterson Cos. produced solid growth in the first ­fiscal quarter with contributions from the animal health ­business the company acquired last year.

On Thursday, the Mendota Heights-based distributor of dental, pet and farm animal supplies reported sales that jumped 17 percent to $1.3 ­billion during the quarter ended July 30.

The growth came from the animal supplies unit, which now makes up about 57 ­percent of the company. The 2015 acquisition of Animal Health International helped Patterson overcome sales slippage from the dental supplies division during the quarter.

Total first-quarter profits from continuing operations nearly doubled to $38.9 million or 40 cents per share.

Excluding one-time costs, adjusted net income from continuing operations was $48.8 million, or 51 cents a share, which met the average consensus forecast of Wall Street analysts. Results do not include last year's divestiture of Patterson's longtime, but slow-growing, medical supply business.

Patterson CEO Scott Anderson said in a statement Thursday that Patterson is investing for long-term growth, and is installing a new supply-tracking ERP computer system as it integrates Animal Health into its operations. "With this in mind, we reiterate our adjusted earnings guidance for fiscal 2017 in the range of $2.60 to $2.70 per diluted share," Anderson said.

He told analysts during a conference call Thursday that Patterson wants to maximize efficiencies and customer ­service so it can compete well.

Patterson is a vastly different company from years ago when it toiled mainly in dental, medical and pet supplies. Last year, Patterson not only bought the behemoth Animal Health International for $1.1 billion, it also sold its rehab and medical products division to Chicago-based Madison Dearborn ­Partners for $715 million.

The deals propelled Patterson out of human-rehabilitation products and further into animal supplies, especially those used on farms and ranches.

Patterson expects to maintain its prowess in the dental supply industry, but that business has suffered several quarters of slowing or declining sales growth.

Patterson's stock rose 25 cents a share to close at $45.99 Thursday.