World Veterinary Day: Honouring the Heroes of Animal Health

Every year on the last Saturday of April, the veterinary community come together to celebrate World Veterinary Day. A day dedicated to honouring all veterinary professionals and the vital roles they each play in safeguarding the health and well-being of animals worldwide. From beloved pets to majestic wildlife, veterinary teams the globe over are dedicated to making the world a better place for all creatures, great and small.

To kick off celebrations as we approach the last weekend of April, we want to share with you a selection of stories from within our wider community. From nurses to surgeons, influencers and customer success managers let's represent all lines within veterinary, even the squiggliest!

Cat's Story

Influencer, Cat the Vet

I have always wanted to be a vet, I was one of those precocious and irritating children who would tell anyone who listened what I wanted to be when I grew up! I come from a long line of doctors but I preferred animals to people, so vetting was an obvious career choice for me and, thankfully, I have never changed my mind. I was fortunate to be supported in my ambitions by my family and my school and was never made to feel like it was an impossible dream.

It can be a challenging job but it is also fantastically rewarding and fulfilling. I love working with teams of likeminded colleagues and pet owners dedicated to their animals.

Ebony's Story

Ebony's Story

A veterinary degree is a passport to a heap of incredible destinations. My squiggly career has taken me from ambulatory work to referral hospitals, research labs to NGOs, community and conference building to education and hosting. It has enabled me to travel the world and work with and learn from people in Guatemala to the streets of London. I have never particularly planned my career but followed my "nose" with things that make me curious. The world needs more vetty types - empathetic, problem-solving, evidence-based leaders and team players. We need veterinary professionals in the clinic, making the vaccines, researching diseases, informing the government and more! I always think it is the best plan A and B, as you can always locum if you want to try out new things. You can take a look at my squiggly career here Through I am now helping others to diversify their careers.

Thom's Story

Dr. Thom Jenkins

I remember being asked why I wanted to be a vet at vet school and I was momentarily stomped because I just always wanted to be a vet and I could give some kind response about the inspiration that Diane Fossey provided me throughout my childhood through her work advocating for Mountain gorillas but I think fundamentally it's just the multitude of perspectives you get being a veterinary professional on just different ways of being and so you get to break through all of this anthropocentricity and an obsession with the human world and see that there's actually more to life in that.

I try and start the day with breakfast with my wife and I've got four kids and the dog and the cat and then it might move into a sync with the PetsApp pack where we talk about all the latest initiatives that we're working on, what product is delivering how we're going to communicate those product improvements to the 550 clinics that use PetsApp. Then it might be moving into talking to some of those veterinary team members getting their feedback on how they're using the app, how to best advocate for their patients. I might be talking to some pet owners about what their experiences are on the app or I might be doing some marketing initiatives like a webinar and so I could be writing a talk or delivering a talk or writing segments and answers for community collaborations much like this one! Every day is different.

Nicky's Story

Nicky Driver Clarke

On a cold January morning I hopped onto my bicycle, heading to Greenwich, for my first shift at Medivet. I was overjoyed to have landed the job of my dreams at age 25, after years spent drifting and uncertain of where life would take me.

I studied fashion and textiles at college, but my love of science, animals and service weren’t fulfilled in these roles. Our careers advisor was clearly rubbish! I remember that cycle so perfectly, reflecting on my journey—not as a clear chosen path, but as a calculated jump. I lived a nomadic life as a "floating nurse" for years, soaking up every lesson, every challenge, and every skill that I could. But it wasn't until I decided to start a family and journeyed into motherhood, whilst also starting my nursing diploma amidst the chaos of full-time work that I truly began to appreciate the depths of my own resilience. It was a crazy few years, to say the least! But once I was qualified, I quickly became disenchanted. This word, disenchanted, swam around in my head for a long while. I was acutely aware, as a sensitive person, that nursing required a constant navigation of team conflict, workplace toxicity, compassion fatigue and a compromise on my own wellbeing. I often found myself reflecting in those quiet moments of my journey to and from work. It was during one such moment in 2017 that I found myself at a crossroads and facing a unique opportunity to adjust my path. And so, with the words "life begins outside your comfort zone!" echoing in my mind, I decided to follow my heart and took the deliberate and strategic step of launching my own small business— a mobile nursing service in my local community. Supporting elderly, vulnerable, and disabled pet owners, by reconnecting them with routine veterinary services and visits to the vet clinic. But as fate would have it, the arrival of a global pandemic just a few years in brought my blossoming business to a sad halt, presenting me with another opportunity to redress my career compass and I was catapulted on a journey of self-discovery. I did some deep soul searching during this time, while home schooling my daughters and training to be a COVID vaccinator. I unearthed an unacknowledged passion for communication, rekindled my love for writing and found power in words again, as I leaned into my skills for compassion and connection. This gave me a renewed sense of purpose; I embraced my wiggly journey as a unique strength and within a few days of setting up a profile on LinkedIn I had secured an interview for a marketing role at a veterinary digital client communication company, it felt like it was meant to be! I progressed quickly, leveraging my skills and expertise to ascend to the role of marketing manager.Executing strategic marketing plans, aligning with commercial objectives, navigating emerging trends and understanding consumer preferences. I was overseeing national advertising and promotional campaigns, managing budgets, analysing campaign performance metrics, and networking with colleagues and peers at industry events.

Today, I work as a Veterinary Medical Analyst, copywriter, and strategist for Inizio Evoke, a global award-winning communications agency, where I get to blend my years of experience in the profession with an obsession for innovation, creativity, and compassion, daily.

In my spare moments, you'll find me embracing my introspective nature, seeking solace in the pages of a good book, walking on the beach, or watching sunrise over the west hill in Hastings. I believe in the power of positivity, the strength of vulnerability, and the importance of continuous growth and development. If this resonates with you, evoking memories of your own challenges, this is your reminder that each journey is unique, and every ending brings an opportunity for a new beginning.

Pete's Story

Pete Wedderburn: Pete the Vet

I was one of those "born to be a vet" people: I always knew that I wanted to be a vet, and I expressed that wish from around the age of five. There was no family connection, no background in animal keeping, so it was unusual. After qualifying in Scotland, I worked in Africa for a year (research on tick-borne diseases), then I went into mixed practice (cattle, sheep, horses, pets) for five years before going backpacking for 15 months. After this, I moved to Ireland, where I have worked in 100% companion animal practice for over thirty years.

I love my job: the combination of helping animals and people, while being part of a team of like-minded animal-lovers. However, a full time clinical job became emotionally exhausting after fifteen years or so, so I moved to a three day clinical week, spending two days each week doing media work; a combination of writing, tv, radio and latterly social media, as a type of veterinary-science-communicator. This type of portfolio career (clinical work mixed with media work) has suited my personality well, and I continue to love what I do.

Liv's Story

Liv Oginska

Sometimes what we think we want isn’t what is going to make us thrive. Liv spent many years immersed in the world of surgery, following this passion and completing multiple career steps in the pursuit of specialisation. In the same time, she placed on a back burner her real interest and area of strength - human connection. It took a lot of experience of incivility, burnout, interpersonal and internal conflict, as well as stepping outside of the comfort zone for her to finally re-discover what she has always been meant to be: speak Human and help others to do it. Another 2 degrees and multiple certificates later, here she is - helping veterinary organisations around the world create an environment where communication, dignity, respect, psychological safety and understanding of the of human behaviour build healthy, human-savvy culture. Out of clinic now Liv leads Thriving Culture & Communication Team Workshops to help enrich the lives of others in the veterinary community.

Jess' Story

Dr. Jessica May

Qualifying 12 years ago, Jess had dreamt of being a vet for as long as she could remember. Growing up on a farm, it was the only thing that she wanted to be. After qualifying she worked in equine for 7 years before developing an interest in combining technology with veterinary. The idea of using the two to enhance a teams capabilities really began sparked her curiosity.

Jess helped Swedish start up, FirstVet become established in the UK, before joining the PetsApp Pack just over a year ago. Helping educate the community, Jess' role is to help onboard clinics to PetsApp and then train them and help them optimise their performance depending on their needs and focus.

As a member of the VVCA (Virtual Veterinary Care Association) one of Jess' favourite elements of PetsApp is its video sharing capabilities. She would really love the veterinary community to embrace vet/pet conferencing more.

Angela's Story

Dr, Angela Jones

I graduated from the University of Bristol in 2009 and have been in equine practice ever since. After completing an internship, I worked in a large equine practice in The Home Counties for 6 years where I was the clinical lead in their Berkshire based hospital. From there, I moved to The Cotswolds, completed a Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Practice in Equine Medicine and advanced to the role of Clinical Director.

After the birth of my second baby (who incidentally was born in the front seat of a moving car, but that’s another story) my ambulatory role wasn’t offering me the flexibility or professional fulfilment I needed. So I started work for an equine out of hours provider in 2023 allowing me to gain back some balance with family life, clinical practice and other interests.

I now also write digital content for Flexee, am an elected member of the BEVA council and am now on the path of growing my own start up. - Variety is the spice of life after all!

Claire's Story

Claire Cameron RVN

Ever since I was a child I knew I wanted to be a Veterinary Nurse, and at the age of 13, my journey in veterinary practice began. I devoted my weekends and school holidays as an unofficial kennel assistant grabbing every opportunity I could to spend in practice. This early immersion fuelled my passion, leading me to qualify as a Registered Veterinary Nurse in 2008. Throughout my career, I've worked in diverse settings, from pioneering start-up clinics to specialised cat only practices and multi disciplinary referral hospitals. Transitioning into the realm of industry in 2019 and I then discovered a fascination with veterinary software, recognising its potential to enhance patient advocacy efforts. as a Customer Success Manager, I've cultivated a love and appreciation for the ways in which software can revolutionise the care we provide to our animal companions.

Olivia's Story

Olivia Ana Bester

As with many veterinary professionals, I was introduced to the veterinary world at a very young age.

I left school once I passed my GCSEs and went to Plumpton College in Lewes, Sussex to get more experience handling domestic animals. In June 2020, I completed my BTEC level 3 and extended diploma in Animal Management with Science which I enjoyed immensely plus I got the clinical experience that I needed to get into university. I applied to many veterinary colleges and universities, I got into my first option, the most prestigious veterinary university in the UK, the Royal Veterinary College.

In September 2020 during the Covid pandemic, I started studying! One day, I had a lecture with the Head of Vet nursing at the RVC, the legendary vet nurse, Hilary Orpet, which was about the interesting history of my profession; Veterinary Nursing. From then, that inspired me to create something interesting! During my studies at RVC, I became a published book author in March 2022 which was incredible thing to happen to me as it has been my dream to become a published book author! I graduated from the RVC in July 2023 and I got a job as a RVN in a small animal general practice in Caterham, Surrey. After I graduated from university and got a job, I started to think about the problems RVNs keep on facing every day and I created a TV show that will help educate the public and UK pet owners to have a better understanding of our profession whilst also giving the RVNs a voice in the veterinary industry. Hopefully one day, I will get my TV show out there on UK streaming platforms and show the world and the UK nation how important Registered Veterinary Nurses are in the veterinary industry.

As well as being a RVN and book author, I am also a brass player playing in a local brass band and I used to teach treble brass instruments and music theory to some students which I really enjoyed doing. The challenges that I faced was having the nerves and thoughts of not being good enough or being able to pass my exams. The highlights of my career were being able to get into the Royal Veterinary College and meeting incredible vet nurse legends at the London Vet Show in 2023! It was an honour to meet Lou Northway and Sam the vet med CPR coach all in one day!

I hope my story helps to inspire the next generation of RVNs to achieve your dreams and passions in the vet nursing profession.

Celebrating Veterinary Excellence

On World Veterinary Day, let us take a moment to express our gratitude and appreciation for the veterinary professional who dedicate their lives to caring for animals and protecting the health of our planet. Whether they're working in private practices, research institutions, government agencies, or non-profit organizations, veterinarians are the backbone of global efforts to promote animal health, welfare, and conservation.

As we celebrate World Veterinary Day, let us also reaffirm our commitment to supporting and empowering veterinarians in their mission to create a world where animals thrive, and their contributions are recognised and valued. Together, let us honour the heroes of animal health and celebrate the extraordinary impact of veterinary medicine on our lives and the world we share.

Latest from the blog