Letter to dvm360: A great carpenter makes a great surgeon

August 4, 2017
Gary D. Norsworthy, DVM, DABVP
Gary D. Norsworthy, DVM, DABVP

Dr. Gary D. Norsworthy is a 1972 graduate of Texas A&M University. He practiced for two years at the Cat Clinic of Seattle, Washington. He practiced small-animal medicine from 1974 to 1999 in San Antonio, Texas, and then opened a feline-only practice in San Antonio in early 2000. Dr. Norsworthy is also an accomplished author, editor, and lecturer. He has presented more than 300 lectures at veterinary conferences across the country.

Dr. Brock's July column stirs up fond memories for this fellow practitioner.

Regarding Dr. Bo Brock's recent column on his experiences with wood shop and veterinary surgery: I have a Mr. Howle in my past as well. His name was Joe Carlat. He taught me wood shop at Richardson High School in the 1964-65 school year.

My grandfather was a carpenter, so I guess I got the carpenter gene from him. It is pretty much the only explanation for why I took wood shop. It opened a whole new world for me that continues to this day and that has allowed me to develop my philosophy of what constitutes a “good project.” A “good project” is one that requires that you purchase a new tool. I love tools and have a plethora of them because of that philosophy. It is also notable that my grandfather told me, “If you take care of your tools, they will take care of you.” I share that with all of my newly employed veterinarians.

I love surgery and believe that I am fairly accomplished in the art and science of it. Although I only practice on cats, I have mastered and even pioneered several surgical procedures including frontal sinus obliteration, rhinotomy, bulla osteotomy, total ear canal ablation, thyroidectomy (parathyroid transplant technique), nasopharyngotomy, ACL repair, luxating patella repair, hemimandibulectomy, colectomy, perineal urethrostomy and perivulvoplasty. As you, I attribute much of my surgical success to my shop teacher. I have told many externs who have visited my practice that “a great carpenter makes a great surgeon.”

Thanks for bringing up some great memories.

Gary D. Norsworthy, DVM, DABVP (feline)

Alamo Feline Health Center

San Antonio