20 years ago, I made the decision to buy my own clinic. This allowed me the freedom to make the choices about how I wanted to practice veterinary medicine. Being able to shape the identity of our clinic based on my philosophy of veterinary medicine has been the highlight of my career. I knew I wanted to adopt a minimal vaccination protocol, so in 1997, we were the first clinic in Orillia to offer 3 year vaccines. I firmly believed that taking the time to talk to clients about their pets is just as important as the examinations. I started our half hour appointments, allowing me plenty of time to do just that. I implemented short office visits for patients that need multiple recheck visits, so they could be done in an economical manner. We use cat friendly rabies vaccines, much less likely to form a vaccine associated tumor. Those are just some of the ways we evolve that are not always evident to the public. Every decision about medications, diagnostics, surgery and the overall running of the hospital has always been made with the best interests of the patients in mind. I can look back at these past 20 years with pride and see all that we have accomplished.
So, what’s next? My current focus is trying to increase awareness of feline health issues. Part of that is getting owners to bring their cats in for annual exams, not only so we can screen for disease early, but also to have some important talking time about the basics – feeding, enrichment, litter care, etc. I am a bit of a crusader about this. I have five cats of my own, and I love seeing cat patients at the clinic. I know that if I can get more clients educated about cat health, we will be able to avoid many preventable diseases. It is a win-win situation. I get to see more cats, and the owners get to have their beloved kitty for a long time.