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Veterinary Vitals

Author: Texas Veterinary Medical Association

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Veterinary Vitals is a show produced by the Texas Veterinary Medical Association that examines the veterinary industry, explores the experiences of veterinary professionals and offers advice for navigating the evolving profession.
56 Episodes
A Recap of SWVS 2021

A Recap of SWVS 2021


In this episode, immerse yourself in the sounds of Southwest Veterinary Symposium and find out what you missed.  The event was a huge success, beginning with the meeting of the TVMA Board of Directors and ending with the VPAC Denim and Diamonds event.Support the show (
Executive Director Chris Copeland will retire from TVMA in June 2022 after 24 years at the association. Listen in as he shares TVMA's accomplishments, his hopes for the future and why he's retiring before 60. Support the show (
Dr. Kirk Esmond, founder of Josey Ranch Pet Hospital in Carrollton, TX, is the recipient of the TVMA Companion Animal Practitioner of the year award. He received his Bachelors of Science in Animal Science from TAMU in 1983, his B.S. in Veterinary Science in 1985, and his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in 1987. He has been involved with the breeding and showing of AKC registered dogs for the last 40 years. He offers full diagnostic reproduction services for canines and His interest in reproduction has spanned his 30 year career. Dr. Esmond is also currently employed by Zoetis as their reproductive technical consultant and the national trainer for all new semen freezing centers. Support the show (
In this episode of Vital News, we hear about Southwest Veterinary Symposium (September 23-26, 2021 in San Antonio, Texas). From how it all began to what you can expect this year, Ellen Forsythe, CMP, answers all of your questions. Support the show (
“I started treating monkeys 30 years ago and it all started with one out of the Helping Hands program.”In this episode, we hear from Dr. Jed Ford of Family Pet Clinic about the only patient he ever had tell him what was wrong. Dr. Ford practices on small animals and exotics in the Greater Fort Worth area. Support the show (
In this episode of Vital News, we hear from Elizabeth Choate, JD, the Director of Government Relations and General Counsel for TVMA, on the legislation passed in the Texas House. Support the show (
“Even though my friends and family were supportive, having someone that knew exactly what I was going through was just invaluable throughout this.”In this episode, we hear from recent graduate Dr. Connor Rethman on her journey through vet school with a mentor. We also get to see what it's like for her mentor, Dr. Ann Macfarland. She shares why mentorship is important to her and what she got out of it. Support the show (
“What has been produced here is the best agricultural facilities outside of College Station that exist in this state.”Dr. Bruce Akey, the Director of the Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostics Lab and Dr. Susan Eades, the Associate Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, give us an inside look on the grand opening of the new facilities.Support the show (
“That technology is just beginning to become affordable for more specialty centers to be able to provide that to their clients. So that's a huge breakthrough in the way we treat cancer. But it hasn't happened overnight. It's been a gradual process over the last decade or so.”In the first episode of season two, Dr. Zachary Wright of VCA Animal Diagnostic Clinic in Dallas, Texas shares the latest breakthroughs in veterinary oncology, the ability to create custom treatment plans and the importance of client education.Support the show (
This episode marks the final one with Dena Goldstein as your host. If you’d like to keep in touch, email Dena at“Veterinary medicine, as we talked about before, is very underrepresented, and this is where I can potentially channel this energy into making that change within this profession.”Having conversations about race in veterinary medicine can be uncomfortable and far from easy. However, to Dr. Niccole Bruno of Companion Animal Hospital, it’s vital in order to create change in the profession. In this episode, Dr. Bruno shares the barriers people of color face when attempting to enter veterinary school, why representation in the profession matters and how allies are crucial in creating change.References the show (
“And that’s the nice thing about being solo…is it’s my decision.”Dr. Tamra Walthall, who is TVMA’s President Elect, has been a solo practitioner for more than 35 years. She opened La Vega Veterinary Clinic in Waco when she was just 28 years old. She didn’t plan on being a solo veterinarian, but it just worked out that way. In this episode, she discusses the challenges she’s faced over the course of her veterinary career, the benefits of working solo, and the lessons she’s learned along the way. She also talks about how she met her husband and their travels around the world.Would you like to get in touch with the host? Email Dena at DenaGoldsteinSTL@gmail.comSupport the show (
"I always laughed in the past like, 'You could never do vet school online. You have to do labs multiple times a week, we need to learn to suture, we need to learn to do surgery…' And I just remember having this moment of fear when they were like, 'online vet school.' And I wasn’t sure what that was going to look like." Being a veterinary student is hard enough with keeping up with coursework, attending labs, gaining surgical skills and securing externships. When Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine closed its physical campus in the spring semester of 2020 due to the pandemic, students were faced with additional challenges and forced to adapt to these changes. Second-year veterinary student Morgan Gunn and third-year veterinary student Carley Johnson discuss how they adjusted, honed their surgical skills at home, stayed connected with their peers and networked with future employers.Support the show (
“Every month was kind of a beatdown. I swear I would never pee on a stick ever, ever again.”Drs. Lori Teller and Nancy Turner knew they wanted to have children, respectively, but the journey to get there wasn’t easy. Both experienced infertility and ended up going down different paths. Dr. Turner eventually got pregnant and gave birth to her son, Sterling, whereas Dr. Teller pursued adoption and welcomed her son, Austin. In this episode, Dr. Turner shares what it was like being pregnant, experiencing postpartum depression, and balancing motherhood with her career. Dr. Teller discusses the process of adopting Austin and the maternity leave that followed. While their journeys may be different, they both deeply love being mothers.Dr. Lori Teller works at Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine as the Clinical Associate Professor of Telehealth. Dr. Nancy Turner works for ReadiVet, an in-home health care provider.Sources: the show (
“I like doing the forensics work and I like working at the grocery store and I really think that blend could work.”The pandemic has significantly impacted the way people live, work, and interact with loved ones. Our guest today, Melinda Merck, DVM, who is a veterinary forensics expert, had to find a second job. While she is still the owner of Veterinary Forensics Consulting, she also works at her community grocery store, Randall’s. There, she has formed tight-knit relationships with employees and customers.Her need to take on this additional role indicates that veterinary forensics on a broader scale has been impacted. In this episode, she delves into the pandemic’s impact on interpersonal violence and animal abuse, what working at the grocery store means to her, and how she and her team coped with the extreme winter storm last month. To learn more about Dr. Merck’s work, please visit you’re enjoying this podcast, please rate the show and write a review. Support the show (
“It’s more than just providing this little stuffed animal for a survivor. It’s about keeping their family intact and letting them know that they got out and everybody is safe.” Dr. Katie Luke is the Chief Operations Officer at the Austin Humane Society (AHS), the “largest no-kill, non-profit pet and adoption center in Austin, Texas.” Their mission is to “offer comprehensive, humane, life-saving animal services, transforming the lives of animals and those who love them.” In this episode, Dr. Luke delves into all of these inspirational programs offered by AHS, her role in facilitating the programs, and the impact they have on survivors of domestic violence and others in crisis. AHS truly helps keep people and their pets together during and following unimaginable circumstances. To learn more about the Austin Humane Society, please visit If you have any questions about their pet food pantry, please email or call their events line at 512-685-0118.We love receiving story ideas, comments, and Apple Podcast reviews, so feel free to email Dena Goldstein at or write a review below! Support the show (
Veterinary medicine has evolved significantly over the past 50 to 60 years. Dr. Doyle “Bud” Cooper, who graduated from Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1964, speaks to this evolution, from the emergence of specialists in the profession to pet owners considering their dogs and cats a part of the family. As he outlines these changes, he also shares his story of becoming a veterinarian; building, buying and selling multiple clinics during his 56 years in the profession; and how the people in his life shaped him.Dr. Cooper works at Northside Animal Hospital in Waco, Texas. He has owned and operated veterinary practices in Garland, Brownwood, San Antonio, and Waco, Texas.If you’re enjoying this podcast, we would love to hear from you. Write a review on Apple Podcasts. We love reading them, and if you have a minute to spare, we would love to read yours too. And if you have a story idea, email Dena Goldstein at the show (
"All of those curveballs that life throws us are trying to derail us, and you’ve got to have a real good sense of yourself and what’s important to you to continue to navigate that path."For Dr. Jennifer Lavender, those curveballs are compassion fatigue—something many veterinarians cope with—the devastating loss of her sister, a battle with substance abuse, and her attempt to balance her personal and professional commitments. She is the owner and practitioner of MetroPaws Animal Hospital in Dallas and the Medical Director of the Oak Cliff Location. Beyond her full-time roles, she’s a volunteer surgeon of the Spay Neuter Network, President of its Board of Directors and the mother of two. She also practices yoga.In this episode, she talks about how she juggles these activities, copes with the loss of her sister, and remains sober. She’s been through a lot and has come out on the other side with resilience, strength and positivity.If you’re enjoying this podcast, we would love to hear from you. Write a review on Apple Podcasts. We love reading them, and if you have a minute to spare, we would love to read yours too.Support the show (
“With the emergence of corporate, the whole game has changed. I mean, with corporates coming in and buying practices, veterinarians are becoming multimillionaires.”Dr. Randy Carsch, the President of Veterinary Sales and Consulting, helps those veterinarians  determine the true value of their clinics, get them ready to sell and make a meaningful, well-earned profit. He is a veterinarian, practice consultant and licensed real estate agent. To learn more about him and work with him, please visit If you’re enjoying this podcast, we would love to hear from you. Write a review on Apple Podcasts. We love reading them, and if you have a minute to spare, we would love to read yours too. Support the show (
“To be a student in that first class is, quite honestly, bragging rights for that student. They were apart of the first class at Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine.” -Dean Guy Loneragan, DVMTexas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine (TTU-SVM) in Amarillo, Texas, welcomes its first class of students in the fall of 2021. This will make TTU-SVM the second veterinary school in Texas with Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine being the first and only for more than 100 years. The idea to open a second a veterinary school emerged in the 1970s, but it took  50 years for it to come to fruition. After receiving funding in 2019 from the Texas Legislature, the school broke ground and began constructing its state-of-the-art facilities. Our guest Dean Guy Loneragan, DVM, shares what it took to get to this moment, why there was a need for a second veterinary school and how it will benefit the veterinary medicine profession in Texas. To learn more about Texas Tech University College of Veterinary Medicine, please visit You can learn more about Dean Guy Loneragan by visiting If you’re enjoying this podcast, we would love to hear from you. Write a review on Apple Podcasts. And if you have a story or guest idea, please contact host Dena Goldstein at Support the show (
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted so many aspects of our daily lives. In the veterinary medicine profession, many veterinarians and their staff are doing curbside service. But this isn’t the first time the veterinary community has faced a pandemic. In the late 1970s to 1980s, parvovirus— a highly contagious virus that affects the gastrointestinal tract in dogs—emerged. It eventually was considered a pandemic because it reached dogs across the world. Our two guests from Dallas—Dr. Tony Myers and Kelly Richardson—take us back to that time: a time when veterinarians waited for a safe, effective vaccine to become available and scrambled to figure out what the virus was and how to treat it.A big thank you goes to TVMA member Dr. Geoff Bratton from Dallas for this episode idea! Sources:Texas A&M Veterinary Lab Testing People For COVID-19, Physicians Preferred Laboratory, Ltd. establish partnership to increase human COVID-19 testing of SARS-CoV-2 in Animals in the United States COVID-19 Vaccines“The Covid-19 Vaccine: When Will It Be Available for You? First U.S. rollouts of doses could start in December, but health-care workers, older Americans likely to take priority over general population” parvovirus the show (
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