An Interview with... Dr. William J. Tranquilli - Veterinary Medicine
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An Interview with... Dr. William J. Tranquilli


Seabiscuit is another one of my favorites. Considered damaged goods, this small horse was able to overcome incredible odds, typifying a whole generation of Americans who had to overcome the economic deprivation of the 1930s. The inescapable message is that without selfish or greedy motives, our spirit and hope can pull us together, helping to make sense out of our collective lives, man and animal alike. This is a refreshing concept most veterinarians seem to deeply appreciate. It's also why it has been a privilege to be associated with this profession. Every day and in many ways, veterinarians find themselves working for the common good of their communities, which, in turn, enhances their lives.

What part of your work do you enjoy most?

As a professor, a life-sustaining experience for me has been to help students and veterinarians grasp new concepts and apply new knowledge to the benefit of their patients. The opportunity to discover and then share new information beneficial to patient care has been as personally rewarding as anything I've experienced in life. For example, during the last few years I have been involved in the development and safe use of multimodal analgesic therapy to better control chronic pain.

What do you consider the greatest threat to the profession?

Losing perspective on our important role in the overall health and well-being of mankind. There may well be an inappropriate use of existing resources within wealthier nations to the detriment of millions of people in less-developed countries. The bonds and dependencies between animals and man are extremely complex and often oversimplified by certain sectors within our profession with detrimental consequences to other aspects of veterinary medicine and society as a whole.

Do you have a bad habit?

My wife has a list but I can't think of any right now.

What is the greatest achievement of your career?

Advancing pain management as a major emphasis within companion-animal medicine has been my focus in recent years. To the extent that my efforts may have actually resulted in less animal suffering, I consider this a worthy career achievement.

What makes a good veterinarian?

A good person. I'm continually amazed by the talented people in our profession. They are often the most intelligent, well-educated, and caring members of their communities, driven by neither greed nor technological advances but rather concern for their community and its citizens. Perhaps it's because of our close working association with animals that veterinarians seem to intuitively know that it's not so much what or how something is said or done that makes the biggest difference in our lives but rather how one is made to feel.


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