An Interview with... Dr. Mary Beth Leininger - Veterinary Medicine
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An Interview with... Dr. Mary Beth Leininger


What do you consider the greatest threat to the profession?

Our profession is on the verge of fragmentation. Species specialties are starting to take the place of state and national umbrella organizations, and busy practitioners often don't make the time to be active in professional associations. This brings the risk of our becoming isolated and not seeing the broader issues that face our profession—issues that can only be resolved by working together.

Which animal health needs are currently unmet?

First, the tragedy of the millions of healthy animals that are euthanized every year in our nation. Second, the tendency of companion-animal practitioners to focus on disease or illness (fixing something) and to overlook the broader need for wellness care and prevention. For example, providing proper nutrition has greater potential to improve pet health than almost anything else we do in our practices, yet we easily overlook it.

What is your sci-fi prediction for veterinary medicine?

Gene therapy will prevent and eliminate diseases. Can you imagine manipulating the genetic makeup of large-breed dogs to prevent hip dysplasia? Or identifying and eliminating the gene in boxers that makes them prone to cancers? And what is most amazing is this has actually already started: an ingredient in Prescription Diet Canine j/d (Hill's Pet Nutrition) actually turns off the gene that makes the enzyme that degrades canine cartilage. That's a wow!


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