How long have you been a Veterinarian, and tell us a little about your background.
"I have been a veterinarian for almost 16 years. I received my Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences with honors in 2003. Prior to that, I received a Master’s in Anatomy from CSU. I was lucky enough to be able to stay at CSU’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital the year after graduation as an intern in Small Animal Medicine and Surgery. After my internship, I worked in specialty and emergency small animal practice until becoming the Medical Director of Windan’ Sea Veterinary Clinic in 2011. "
What are the top 3 questions to ask when deciding on a Veterinarian?
"My top 3 questions would be 1 – Education/experience - Are they internship trained? If not did they get well-rounded experience including emergency work after veterinary school? There is so much to learn in veterinary school that additional training/mentorship is vital for a new veterinarian. 2 – Are they exceeding the standard of care? – this means full monitoring during any anesthetic procedure, IV catheter placement and fluids with surgery, dental radiographs with dental procedures, and pain management is a REQUIREMENT (it should never, ever be optional with surgery). 3 – Stress-free hospital environment – do they make sure to limit stress? Stress can have many negative effects on the body. Care of patients in the hospital should reduce stress as much as possible. Not only is it good medicine, but it makes visits more pleasant for everyone involved."
What’s the most common question you receive from a dog owner?
" I’d say one of the most common questions I get is about nutrition. There is a lot of misinformation out there about what to look for in pet foods. The pet food industry is big business, and unfortunately just because a food has a big price tag doesn’t mean it is any better than another food. There are a lot of pets that need certain types of food (like prescription diets), but some do not and would do very well on a good, balanced maintenance diet."
What is the most common reason a dog comes to see you?
"I think the most common reason we see a dog is for routine wellness exams – which is a GOOD thing! Preventative medicine is very important, so we recommend yearly exams for healthy pets under 7 years of age, and twice yearly after 7. It’s so important because we can catch problems early before they become bigger problems. Everything from dental, cardiac, renal, and other diseases which affect our older pets are best caught in the early stages.
How often should you bathe your dog?
"It’s hard to give a good guideline on how often a dog should be bathed – it depends on the dog! A good guideline is once monthly, however some dermatologic problems might require more frequent bathing. Obviously if your dog likes to get muddy at the park, rolls in that inviting smell they found, or tangles with a skunk bathing sooner might be needed!"
What is your number one piece of advice to give a client when getting a brand new puppy?
"My biggest recommendation for new puppies is telling people to do their homework! The more time spent with socialization and training in those important first few months the better companion they will have for a lifetime! I tell people the first 100 days your new puppy should meet 100 people, and after they are done with their vaccine series they should meet 100 dogs. The more positive the experiences they have the better! Have treats ready for new visitors if needed too."
Thank you to Dr. Raichel for participating in this week's Zen Veterinarian feature, Nessa for helping put it all together, and the fantastic team at WindanSea Veterinary Clinic!