An Interview with... Dr. Stephen J. Ettinger - Veterinary Medicine
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An Interview with... Dr. Stephen J. Ettinger


Which animal health needs are currently unmet?

Large-animal medicine has been given away, and we need to recover it. We are still all animal vets, and we need to pay attention to all aspects of the profession, not only to what specifically interests us.

And veterinary medicine has a big problem in small animals because costs are skyrocketing and the lower and middle classes are being squeezed. This problem needs attention. Young veterinarians come out of school with no training in psychology, and they sometimes approach clients with an attitude—they fail to recognize how much money they are asking people to spend and how hard it is to come by. Young veterinarians need to be aware of clients' needs and how to make clients feel they're getting what they're paying for. Veterinary medicine is not an obligation—it remains a choice for the client.

What changes in veterinary medicine do you hope will occur in the next 100 years?

Full medical care for all pets. But it will still be the owner's responsibility to secure that care for his or her pet. We cannot give it away; we must be able to charge for what we do, and we must be able to continue to do it well.

Medical genetics is rapidly developing. I suspect someone looking at the new edition of Ettinger and Feldman a hundred years from now will laugh at what we all had to say. We must remain alert to growth and the changing paradigms in medicine.

My prediction for veterinary medicine: More growth, more good science and medicine, better use of alternative medicines and tools, and an even more compassionate approach to the way we handle the sick.


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