We recently did a Q&A session with one of our primary care veterinarians, Dr. Shauna Gavin. Read on to get a peek into the veterinary world!
What inspired you to become a veterinarian?
I’ve always loved animals, ever since I was young. That along with loving the science subjects in school and a desire to help others, made veterinary my dream job from the beginning.
Tell us about an unforgettable moment in your career that has stuck with you to this day?
The first euthanasia I did as a qualified veterinarian was very meaningful to me. It was difficult emotionally but being able to relieve a patient’s suffering and provide comfort to the owners through such a distressing time is very rewarding. It’s a unique privilege that we, as veterinarians have, and I think the first time I experienced that and had these realisations was truly unforgettable for me.
Do you have a favorite animal?
I’m very boring and my favourite animals are cats and dogs. Both to treat as patients and just in general. Just don’t ask me to choose between them, because that’s impossible!
What advice would you give to an aspiring veterinarian?
I would say that choosing to be a veterinarian is not a decision that should be taken lightly. It’s a tough job that is emotionally, physically and mentally demanding, so you must make sure you’re ready for that. Spend as much time in clinics and hospitals as you can, to get a sense for the job and try to have good basic knowledge on husbandry and behaviour because that will make your life a lot easier. I would also say that you need to be sure you’re happy to work with people as well as animals because that’s a big part of our work.
What’s the #1 most common concern that you have seen in the past few years in the veterinarian world?
I think mental health in the veterinary world is our biggest concern now. There’s a big problem with burnout and compassion fatigue. I think a lot of this stems from a lack of understanding from the general public about what we do here! Things are improving and although the pandemic has been hard, I know that this wonderful profession is going to bounce back stronger than ever.
Any advice you would give to a 1st -time pet owner?
Trust the advice from your veterinary professionals and start as you mean to go on. Behaviours that are very cute as a puppy/kitten can very quickly turn into problems if not dealt with asap. Get insurance for your little one so you have peace of mind and if anything does go wrong, we can do our job to the best of our ability.
What is your daily routine to help mentally prepare you for a day at the hospital?
I like to make sure I have some sort of breakfast, even if I’m eating on the go and I certainly can’t function without a big mug of tea!
What fuels your passion for this career?
Seeing the improvements that we can make in the lives of people’s pets and then witnessing in turn the joy that pets bring to people’s lives. Essentially being able to help and make a difference for good in the world.
What do you love most about being a veterinarian?
The variety the job brings, how no two days are the same, and working with animals.