Your Veterinary Voice Episode 10: Jenifer Chatfield, DVM, DACZM


Chatfield shares her tips on finding an alternative career in veterinary medicine, her worries about the next big zoonotic disease, and her all-American approach to pet ownership.

OK, big apologies, folks. We missed a couple months of one of our favorite projects-this podcast.

Our team was working really hard on, dvm360 magazine, Firstline, Vetted, CVC San Diego and even a fantastic dvm360 Leadership Challenge on toxic veterinary teams.

We dropped the ball for a couple months on getting you the next great audio interview with a smart, funny person in veterinary medicine. But now we've got it: Business Channel Director Brendan Howard interviews Jenifer Chatfield, DVM, DACZM, who spoke eloquently and passionately on zoonoses and public health at CVC Virginia Beach in 2016.

Wanna jump around to the highlights before you settle in for a long listen? We've got you covered:

At 00:50, Chatfield talks about her "odd career path," which is really powered by her insatiable curiosity: "You must have a broad interest [in veterinary medicine,] or you're gonna be miserable or you're gonna fail or both."

Ready to exercise your own career path? "Turn your perspective slightly askew, and you can do it," she says. We did a whole dvm360 Leadership Challenge about the wide, varied future of veterinary work. Start here: "Exploring the dazzling array of ways to use a veterinary degree."

Chatfield's big takeaway advice, if you want an "odd career path" of your own? Start getting involved in whatever movement or organization you're interested in. Don't wait for that magic unicorn of a "Help wanted" ad to appear in your local paper.


"There is almost no job you cannot do once you've graduated as a veterinarian ... because of the intensive training we get in a broad array of topics applicable in many fields."


At 08:44, Chatfield is willing to talk about controversial topics like the issue of feral or "free-roaming" cats, something that may have gotten her in trouble on the internet when she's tried to talk evidence and policy ideas. She has to be diplomatic and careful sometimes with what she says to pet owners and even other veterinarians. Find out why.

(P.S. Want to read about the article she references here on free-roaming cats and the incidence of rabies? Click here.)


On being the target of extreme Internet commenters:

"I don't care how tough you might think you are, folks putting that kind of energy out there in the universe about you is disconcerting at best."


At 16:17, Brendan talks about his YouTube addiction and the growing trend of video of cute wild animals kept as pets these days: baby owls, baby foxes, etc., etc. Find out public health-minded Chatfield's take on the issue. OK, we can't resist telling you what she says: "I'm American, and I believe you should get to do whatever you want to do as long as it doesn't bother anybody else and doesn't present an ongoing risk to public health and safety." Now listen to get her nuanced reasons.

How do YOU handle clients with "wild" pets? Here's one long-time receptionist's take.

At 24:28, Brendan finally reveals how this entire interview has really been an obvious excuse to talk about zombies and zoonotic disease. Chatfield humors him and then, after some friendly prodding, goes out on a limb to reveal what she thinks is the truly scary zoonotic disease of the future: Zika? Ebola? Nope.

(P.S. She mentions the big scare from 2014 about Ebola coming to the States. Catch up on the basics here.)


"You would be surprised what folks ask a veterinarian to weigh in on."

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