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Assistance Dogs and the Veterinarian's Role
5 Tips for Improving Our Human Relationships
Dr. Doug Mader
Photo by Christopher Gillette
April / May 2023
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Copyright April 2023. PetVet Magazine is published bimonthly by Barkleigh Productions, Inc, 970 West Trindle Road, Mechanicsburg PA 17055. Postmaster: Send change of address to Pet Vet Magazine c/o Barkleigh Productions, Inc., 970 West Trindle Road, Mechanicsburg PA 17055. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission of the publisher. Editorial offices: 970 West Trindle Road, Mechanicsburg PA 17055. (717) 691–3388 FAX (717) 691–3381 Email:
Dr. Doug Mader: "The Vet At Noah's Ark"
From Victim to Victorious: My Journey to American Humane Hero Veterinary Nurse of the Year
PetVet’s advisory board is here to help ensure quality content to motivate & educate Veterinarians and their staff.
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Courtney A. Campbell
“My passions ultimately drove me towards becoming a veterinarian, but when I was growing up I briefly flirted with the idea of becoming a magician. As a veterinarian, the ability to save lives, keep animals healthy, and strengthen the human–animal bond makes me realize there’s nothing more magical than that.”
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Jenifer Chatfield
DVM, Dipl. ACZM, Dipl. ACVPM

“People should be so lucky as to get to be a veterinarian. The broad-based education empowers us to be successful in multiple fields and affords us the opportunity to choose how we spend our professional time.”
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Julie Legred
“I have worked in many areas of veterinary medicine and veterinary technology over the last thirty five years, and it is amazing how far our profession has grown and paved the way for the betterment of animals’ lives and happiness, as well as improving public health issues. It is an honor for me to be a part of this advisory board to offer additional education and opportunities to grow in our profession.”
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Lisa Powell
“I have had the privilege of working with a variety of animals in my career and my passion has allowed me to be involved in teaching veterinary students, interns, residents and other veterinarians. I continue to enjoy going to work every day to help critically ill dogs and cats, and love the client interactions as well. I am proud to be a part of this advisory board to help teach and spread my love for this profession to others in the veterinary community.”
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Kathryn Primm,
“Animals mean so much to the human condition. It is my privilege to make lives better every day! I cannot imagine myself in any other career.”
"Just as veterinary medicine isn't constantly playing with puppies and kittens all day, the human-animal bond is not soley happiness and love.
It’s a hopelessly complex mix of individual
experiences, beliefs and emotions, and somehow
also simultaneously wonderful.”
– Dr. Patrick Flynn,
President of the Human Animal Bond Association
5 Tips for Improving Our Human Relationships
By Renee Machel

he science of relationships is a topic that has fascinated me for a very long time. Most people don’t have a game plan that they consciously apply to enhance the quality of their relationships, thus often being left with subpar connections.

Emotional responsiveness is the most important thing that has emerged from the research over the last 30-plus years, according to Sue Johnson, Clinical psychologist and author. That means, when there is a cue delivered, the other person responds.

petvet profile
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Dr. Doug Mader: "The Vet at Noah's Ark" title
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white polka dots
Dr.Doug Mader working with a turtle in a shallow pool
blue silhouette of an alligator
Dr. Doug Mader: "The Vet at Noah's Ark" title
By Jen Phillips April

Photos provided by Dr. Doug Mader


t’s not every veterinarian who shares a photo posing with a mouth-wide-open alligator. But, the critically acclaimed lecturer, author, triple-board certified and multi-award-winning veterinarian of over four decades, Dr. Doug Mader, says matter-of-factly, “That’s Casper, the alligator. I’ve been taking care of him for over 25 years.”

Casper spends his days swimming in the pond at a rehabilitation center in Homestead, Florida. Dr. Mader says, “That animal knows me. He can hear me call his name and swims across the pond to say ‘hi.’ I visit him every time I’m there.”

Like most veterinarians, Dr. Mader was an animal-loving child. However, unlike many veterinarians, he started his animal career as a blacksmith.

gentle nurse petting german shepard
 How To Take Your Veterinary Business From Acceptable To... in red circle
Outstanding! in red bold letters
By Dr. Audrey Wystrach

.S. Eliot once said, “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”

There is no question that building your own veterinary practice comes with a multitude of challenges, new responsibilities and risks you will certainly take along the way. Experiencing a global pandemic forced the veterinary industry to think outside the box with how we provide pet care and, as a result, we’ve seen fundamental changes put into practice that benefit pets, pet owners, and vets and their care teams alike.

Taking a veterinary business from “meets standards” to “exceeds expectations” requires focusing on three key areas: the human-animal bond, pet care consumerization, and technology utilization. Each of these areas requires a different approach and mindset, but all are crucial to a future veterinary business’s success. Let’s unpack these three best practices a little further to uncover how you can take your business from good to great…

Why it Matters
From Victim
Cheri Herschell smiles wearing a purple gown and holding a glass award while a presenter reaches to place an medal around her neck

Photo by American Humane/Capehart Photography

to Victorious
My Journey to American Humane Hero Veterinary Nurse of the Year

By Cheri Herschell, CVT
Photos by Crisis Center North


ow does one go from being a lifelong victim of abuse to an advocate for victims of domestic violence and the 2022 American Humane Hero Veterinary Nurse of the Year? It’s a journey that I could not have made without amazing friends, terrible experiences and good grace…lots and lots of good grace.

Suffice to say, I was a victim of domestic violence for most of my life. My last experience, only ending in 2016, prompted me to become a staunch advocate for other victims. My journey began as a volunteer for Crisis Center North, a domestic violence organization in Pittsburgh, PA, on the first PAWS for Empowerment committee, with the goal of putting animals into a position of healing and strength for victims.

Vets examining a puppy
"Assistance Dogs"
and The Veterinarian’s Role
By Martin Atkin

Lead photo: © Karen Addy |


ith the number of assistance dogs increasing every year, veterinarians are more likely to be consulted either by assistance dog users or the organization which trained them—and that means understanding the particular challenges faced by both dogs and their users.

Globally, there are more than 28,000 dogs officially certified by Assistance Dogs International (ADI), including guide dogs, hearing dogs and service dogs. For both veterinarians and assistance dog users, these highly valuable animals (each one costing up to $50,000 to train) come with a special responsibility and may present with specific needs.

Something to Talk About: Understanding Communication Styles Within Your Team
By Elycia Degenhardt, BA, CVT

sk any veterinary professional why they chose a career in this field and it is very likely you will receive some version of this response: “I like animals more than people.”

While loving animals is certainly at the heart of our profession, the fact is, we spend all day, every day communicating with people around us. Whether with co-workers or clients, good communication is essential to sustainable success in the workplace.

Veterinary businesses often find themselves putting animals first, placing interpersonal interactions and communication training on the back burner. This can contribute to high turnover, low morale, and tension or conflict between employees. As a result, patient and client care suffer, compromising the primary goal of veterinary medicine.

"Are Your Clients"
"Their Pets to Death?"
By Kara M. Burns, MS, MEd,
LVT, VTS (Nutrition)

o ensure good health and a long life, pets depend on their caregivers for appropriate health care, proper nutrition and love. This is the bond—the unspoken love and affection between people and pets. But what happens when the bond leads to health issues such as obesity?

Veterinary healthcare team members understand that pet owners love their pets; however, too often, the veterinary team uncovers pet owners loving their pets too much…with food.

One study found that pet owners show affection toward their dog or cat with food, with 71% of dog owners stating they showed affection by giving treats and 42% stating they show affection by giving human food. Additionally, 44% of cat owners said they gave treats and 25% gave human food to their cat as a way of showing affection,1 thus proving owners believe that to show their pets love is to give them food, especially treats.

Pet Obesity
Pet obesity has reached epidemic proportions in the U.S. and other industrialized countries, which parallels the epidemic in the human population. Obesity can be defined as an increase in fat tissue mass sufficient to contribute to disease. Dogs and cats weighing 10-19% more than the optimal weight for their breed are considered overweight; those weighing 20% or more above the optimum weight are considered obese.2 A combination of excessive caloric intake, decreased physical activity and genetic susceptibility are associated with most cases of obesity. The primary treatment for obesity is reduced caloric intake and increased physical activity.
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Go All In!
May 8-11, 2023
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left: cover of Groomer to Groomer Vol. 30 Ed. 12; right: cover of Pet Boarding and Daycare Magazine Vol. 7 Ed. 3
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