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Every now and then, we all could use some good advice.

Whether it’s because we’re going through a rough period, or because we’re at a crossroads in our life, a sound piece of advice can be transformative. 

In this article, we asked 10 veterinary professionals at various stages of their careers what the best piece of advice they’ve ever received is. To read their words of wisdom, scroll below.

Dr. Fabian Rivers (The Dready Vet)

A small wildlife vet, presenter of the Real Pets Factor/Britain’s Puppy Boom, and the BVA’s Young Vet of the year winner 2020. Check out his Instagram here.

veterinary advice

‘Your mental health is more important than absolutely everything else- My Mom.’

Dr. Gary Marshall

The Founder of Island Cats Veterinary Hospital, the former president of WSVMA, the alternate delegate for the AVMA & the North American mentor for VetX International. Check out his Instagram here.

‘I think the best advice I’ve gotten (maybe because it’s so fresh in my mind) was: go wash your hands!’

‘Ok, so I can explain. My tech and I were working with a very spicy cat. That’s our specialty and 99% of the time we can calmly coax them to allow me to get what I need to be done for an exam. The 1% happened yesterday and I got a bit pretty bad.’

‘My instinct was to finish what I was doing and to keep focusing on the cat and my job. My tech (nurse) told me: go wash your hand (wound). The patient could wait. She knew that if I didn’t take care of myself then, I may not be able to take care of more cats tomorrow or the next day because of a nasty infection.’

‘Another bit of great advice I’ve received was: go home, get some lunch and breathe. It goes even deeper than just advice because when my co-workers implore me to take care of myself (probably because I’m bad at it on my own), it shows me how much they care. Because when I’m off taking a breather, they are carrying more of the load.’

‘I like to hope that’s the behavior I have modeled for them along the way. It’s so appreciated and so necessary for us all to be able to keep doing this.’

Dr. Tannetje Crocker

An ER veterinarian, speaker, mentor, and social media personality. Check out her Instagram here.

‘Train yourself to recognize the difference between TRASH and the TRUTH. Meaning, if a client says something hurtful, realize that it is TRASH and don’t accept it as your TRUTH. Then you throw it out like the trash it is.’

‘Another great piece of advice I’ve received goes along the lines of: people will always take as much as you will give them, and they will keep taking. It’s human nature. You have to set boundaries so you don’t become empty inside.’

Dr. Dave Nicol, BVMS Cert Mgmt MRCVS

An author, speaker (winner of VMX speaker of the year), veterinarian & CEO of VetX International. To check out his Instagram, click here.

veterinary advice

‘Work up to a standard, not down to a price. Also- don’t look down on those you depend on but don’t always see or appreciate’. 

‘This advice came from my first boss. What he was getting at was to be proud and conscientious as a professional to do a good job. Rather than take the easy route and work down to what a client might think is a good price. The latter rarely results in the best outcome for the pets.’

‘The second piece came from my grandfather who I think was referring to the cooks, cleaners, dustbin men, and other people who get taken for granted in life. I took this to mean everyone who enables me to do my job. The ego is a killer of relationships and hence happiness. As a doctor, it has not always been an easy piece to remember, and my biggest failures have happened when I forgot. My biggest wins were when everyone was held in the same high regard.’

Dr. Matt McGlasson

A KVMA Executive Board Member, Chief Medical Officer at Noah’s Ark Animal Clinic, and social media personality. Check out his Instagram here.

‘First, focus ONLY on what you can control. Second, celebrate your wins- at work and home. Write down three good things that happened to you every day and celebrate with your team. I.e, if a case goes well, or an employee does something awesome.’

‘Third, have a growth mindset and be very intentional with your day. If you don’t make plans for yourself, you’ll end up falling into someone else’s.’

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    Okeke Valentine

    A vet student at Michael Okpara’s University of Agriculture Umudike and a wildlife/conservationist educator. 

    ‘Share your passion and don’t forget to associate with people who share the same vision as you.’

    Dr. Melody Winterhalter

    A small animal/aspiring fish vet and social media personality. To check out her Instagram, click here


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    ‘A vet I worked with on placement once said to me, do whatever you need to do so you can go to your tea break and enjoy it.’ ⁣

    ‘At the time, he was doing a deep-chested dog spey and put a few more ligatures in so he knew that his ties would stay put. It took him just a couple of extra minutes, but it meant that he could close up that surgery and not worry about ligatures slipping and causing a post-op bleed.⁣’

    ‘I think about this advice every day and tell it to all the vet students I work with. If something takes you an extra 10 minutes or 30 minutes, it is worth it if you can finish what you’re doing and not have to worry about it when you are finished. Sure, you may go to lunch a little later, but this is worth the peace of mind.’

    Legend Thurman

    An aspiring government vet and president of RVC SAVMA. To check her out on Instagram, click here.

    ‘May you be proud of the work you do, the person you are, and the difference you make according to your terms. You are in charge of your agenda and can alter it in any fashion you see fit without receiving external permission. Aim to be a person of value, not simply success.’

    Dr. Samyra-Stuart Altman

    A Veterinarian, artist, and owner of Central Veterinary Services in Winnipeg, Canada. To check out her Instagram, click here.

    veterinary advice

    ‘As I fumbled through my first cat neuter, my mentor could tell I was being hard on myself and said: first you get good, then you get fast. And I have remembered that anytime I feel flustered or impatient with myself. We all need to allow ourselves the kindness and the space to learn.’

    Dr. Katie Ford

    A veterinarian, speaker, and founder of Vet Empowered. To check out her Instagram, click here. 

    ‘Permit yourself to find out what you want from your career- not what anyone else or society wants or expects you to do. We each have a different version of what makes us happy. You are valuable and worthy. Embrace the idea that your degree is a passport to so many different destinations- try new things, visit new places, meet new people and do more of the bits that light you up.’


    • A great piece of advice can completely transform the way you look at the world. 
    • Putting yourself first, having patience, and being kind (to yourself and others) are all fantastic words of wisdom we can all live by.

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