Louise is one of the senior vets in Kilmacud and has been with the team since 2011.
We thought you might be interested to find out more about Louise’s background, what her job involves, what interesting trends she’s seen lately and to get her No. 1 top tip for new pet owners –here’s the low down….
Louise, tell us about your background and where you studied to become a vet?
Sure, I’m originally from Roscrea in County Tipperary. I moved to the UK to go to uni. Initially I studied Bio Veterinary Science at the University of Liverpool before I went on to study Veterinary Science, and I qualified back in 2009 – it feels like a lifetime ago!
Once the studies were over, I moved back to Ireland and for about three months I worked in a mixed practice where we cared for both companion and farm animals. It was enjoyable work and a great experience, but I really wanted to pursue my passion for small animal veterinary. I soon moved to Wexford where I worked in a great small animal clinic for a year and a half.
In August 2011, an opportunity to move to Dublin and work in Ark Vetcare Kilmacud came up and I jumped at the chance. I love working at Ark Vetcare here in Kilmacud with Kevin, Brid and the rest of the team. It’s a really friendly practice.
I suppose what I like most about it is that I have gotten to know the clients that come in really well and of course most importantly I get to know all the patients. The team here work hard to build up a good relationship with our clients and I think that’s a very important aspect of being a vet. After all our clients put their trust in us to care for their beloved pets.
How do you keep your skills current, and upskill as a busy, working vet?
Well like every profession – you can always learn more. It’s essential to keep an eye on the latest developments and pick up new skills. In 2014 I decided to start a two-year Post Graduate Certificate in Small Animal Medicine.This is a European wide level qualification that covers all the major body systems within small animals. It’s basically a GP certification in small animal medicine.
There was a bit of travelling back and forth to the UK for lectures and exams but I’m really glad that I did the course because it has greatly improved my depth of knowledge.
It opened a lot of options for our clients, as we can now do a lot of further diagnostics here at the clinic in Kilmacud. We are able to take the really challenging medicine cases to the next level – with our expertise and of course the equipment here at the Clinic.
“Medicine cases” is a term used to describe when an animal has a problem with a major system in their body. Like a dog with a heart problem, kidney issues or respiratory difficulties for example. We now do lots of in-house diagnosis for these type of issues and come up with treatments and a management plan for the patient – to get them back on the road to recovery as quickly as possible.
So, what does your day to day job involve?
Well the first thing to say is that no two days are ever the same. My day generally involves a mix of both consultations and surgeries. Consultations include meeting people with their pets for vaccinations and other routine visits as well as seeing sick and injured patients.
As part of the health check, I’ll conduct an extensive clinical examination to find out what the problem might be. We would run blood tests or perhaps conduct imaging with x-rays and ultrasound scans. We have all the equipment in-house to complete these types of investigations so we are able to get to the root of most problems pretty quickly.
Another example, I suppose something that’s quite seasonal right now and we see a lot of it, is when pets have skin problems and itchy skin. This often happens in the summer, when the weather is warm, so we will investigate what is causing the problem and find a way to alleviate the skin problem – which can cause a lot of discomfort.
We also provide dental care for pets and review pet diet and weight management where necessary. When it comes to weight management, we’ll do a weight analysis and have a good chat with the pet owner about the results. If we all think it’s necessary, we can then book pets in with one of the nurses who looks after weight management clinics to monitor these patients.
I also carry out surgeries – these can vary a lot – it could be something quite routine but very important such as neutering, or perhaps lump removals or taking care of any wounds or injuries our patients have suffered.
A lot of what I do each day also revolves around preventative care – to help pet owners keep their pets fit and healthy. I will give advice on vaccines, anti-parasitic treatment to keep away any passengers such as worms and fleas dependent on the pets lifestyle. And of course I often discuss the benefits of a good diet.
Another aspect of what I do is keeping an eye on any guests we have staying in our cattery. It’s always pretty busy in the summer months.
We also love to get involved in lots of local community activities and we help to organise local events. Whether it’s getting up to Maxi Zoo in Sandyford to chat with local pet owners or visit some local schools to talk with the kids and bring along some animals!
Have you come across any interesting trends in the vet clinic recently?
Yes, pet owners have become so much more involved and interested in their pet’s health. I think this is an amazing trend.
People really love their pets and want to do the what’s right for them, so they are really interested in preventative health care. For example, brushing their teeth, making sure they get the right level of exercise or as we’ve already mentioned, ensuring that their vaccines are up-to-date and that we keep away fleas and worms.
They also really want to understand their pets health, if their pet is ill owners are really keen to understand what is happening and it’s great to be then able to discuss all possible treatment options and come up with a management plan together that will suit them best to allow them live a happy life. I think people are much more in tune with their pets these days and therefore are picking up on any subtle changes much quicker therefore allowing us to diagnose conditions in time to make a difference.
As a vet, it’s wonderful to see this level of engagement and ultimately it impacts their pets lives for the better.
What would be your top tip for a new pet owner
I think people should really enjoy their pets. They play such an important role in our lives and become a big part of the family so my top tip is to love and cherish them. They mean something different to everybody and they are so special to us all.
So, that’s my top tip – it’s simple really!