An Interview with Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald


An Interview with Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald

Oct 01, 2007

Kevin T. Fitzgerald, PhD, DVM, DABVP (canine and feline practice), practices at VCA Alameda East Veterinary Hospital in Denver. Besides being featured on Animal Planet's Emergency Vets and E-Vet Interns, Dr. Fitzgerald is an adjunct professor at the University of Denver, has written numerous articles and textbook chapters on topics ranging from emergency medicine to reptile medicine, and performs as a stand-up comedian.

What is the most exciting change you've seen in veterinary medicine?

Dr. Fitzgerald with Caesar Jr., a kitten rescued from Hurricane Katrina that has now been adopted.
The blossoming of the specialties and their availability to the pet-owning American public. Also, the development and use of new technologies such as ultrasound, CT, and MRI, which have added tremendously to our accuracy.

Who inspired you most in your career?

Dr. Robert A. Taylor influenced me the most because of his work ethic and his vision for the profession—and because he expects so much of you.

What was the best professional advice you ever received?

Never underestimate the power of a good physical exam.

Who was your most memorable patient?

All of our patients are memorable, but the working animals have always been special to me: Jack, the guide dog, who was so kind, gentle, and patient with his blind owner; little Erik who visits the sick every week; or Freckles, the bunny, who sits with the dying at my mother's hospice.

What would you advise new graduates?

Spend their first year with the heaviest caseload so they can broaden their skills. Get a hobby that has nothing to do with veterinary medicine. And, my personal motto, "Don't fight the mountain, slide on the snow."

What would you have liked to do if you hadn't become a veterinarian?

If I hadn't become a veterinarian, I would still be bouncing for bands and thumping heads. Thank God I don't have to!

Are you a cat person or a dog person?

Anything with a heartbeat.

What book would you recommend?

Dr. Fitzgeralds thoughts on the euthanasia problem
E.O. Wilson's new book The Creation is a plea at one minute to midnight for the endangered species of our planet. The future generations will not thank us if we sit by and do nothing.

What favorite musicians or songs would be in your jukebox?

Music should inspire us and lift us. It should make you want to get up and shake it. My personal jukebox would have plenty of the Rolling Stones, The Flying Burrito Brothers, James Brown, The Meters—if you fake the funk, your nose is going to grow! Also, Irish music—my name is Fitzgerald—like The Saw Doctors or the Young Dubliners.

What part of your work do you enjoy most?

I enjoy the science and variety of general practice—one day a new puppy exam and the next day placing tracking radio transmitters in rattlesnakes.