What do you consider the greatest threat to the profession?
Losing the trust and respect of the public. Veterinarians are still well-regarded by Americans. We can lose this respect by
placing charges first and losing sight of what we do. We must stay true to the basis of our profession, which is to relieve
suffering. It is a privilege to do what we do, not our right.
Which animal health needs are currently unmet?
There is a growing proportion of the population that cannot afford veterinary care. It will be a challenge to keep veterinary
care affordable and to avoid the quagmire of our human medicine counterparts.
What changes in veterinary medicine do you hope will occur in the next 100 years?
I hope we will see veterinarians continue to be integrally involved in the fabric of the communities they live in, to make
significant contributions to the conservation of all animal life on our planet, and to provide a voice for the voiceless creatures
we live among.
Since 2000, Dr. Fitzgerald has been placing radio transmitters in prairie rattlesnakes in a study with the Denver Zoo, examining
the biology and behavior of these animals.
What is your sci-fi prediction for veterinary medicine?
There is a big and ugly virus coming. It will be airborne and animal-transmitted . It will make the influenza outbreak of
1918 look like a pillow fight. I predict that because of our training, veterinarians will make a big contribution and help
save the day.
What is the greatest achievement of your career?
Passing the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners exam for canine and feline practice. We must continuously try to grow,
to learn, and to play above our natural skill set.
What makes a good veterinarian?
A good veterinarian is a good listener, a keen observer, and a lifelong student of the profession. Veterinary medicine is
a harsh mistress—she expects so much and sets the bar so high. But if we give into it with all of our hearts, the rewards
are unfathomable. What a privilege to do what we do!