Get to know Dr. Tara Pugh, Primary Care Veterinarian

We also did a Q&A session with Dr. Tara Pugh who is a primary care veterinarian at McKnight. Read on to find out what inspired her to become a vet and what fuels her passion for this career!

What inspired you to become a veterinarian?

I am so fortunate to have had a true African experience – I grew up in Zimbabwe in the National Park and living on a game farms. There I had exposure to a large variety of animals right from the start – from playing with my bunny, dogs and cats, to the memories I have of feeding the elephants oranges and going for sunset game drives. Having had experiences such as these, one’s passion for animals grows exponentially! My family will tell you that from the tender age of 5 I said that one day I will be a veterinarian, and I did not change my mind.

Tell us about an unforgettable moment in your career that has stuck with you to this day?

I have so many unforgettable moments I cannot choose just one. I have had days of flying in a helicopter and darting and relocating rhino, to cute kitten exams and sad end of life exams and all of the memories I treasure

Do you have a favorite animal?

I love all animals but have special respect and adoration for elephants.

What advice would you give to an aspiring veterinarian?

My advice would be to spend some time with your family veterinarian to ensure it is a career path that you would like to pursue – it requires many years of hard work and studying!

What’s the #1 most common concern that you have seen in the past few years in the veterinarian world?

Mental health in the veterinary industry has taken a strain, with many colleagues developing compassion fatigue, burnout, depression and some unfortunately taking their own lives. It is important to learn from this and remember that everyone is fighting their own battles. Above all, be kind to one another.

Any advice you would give to a 1st-time pet owner?

Prevention is better than cure – build a relationship with your family veterinarian and bring your pet in for regular check-ups and routine testing (even if they seem healthy). The sooner a disease process can be detected, the better the prognosis and treatment options.

What is your daily routine to help mentally prepare you for a day at the hospital?

A hot shower and some energetic music on the drive to work!

What fuels your passion for this career?

It’s my kind and grateful clients that keep me going. You are so appreciated with your kind words and the love you have for your own pets.

What do you love most about being a veterinarian?

The wins – the patients and clients that I can help along the way and the relationships that I form.