Pete Wedderburn, also known as Pete the Vet, is a media veterinarian in the UK and Ireland. He regularly appears on television, writes about animals, and communicates with his social media followers. His aim is to educate pet owners in a way that is engaging and entertaining. Read our Pete Wedderburn interview below for more information.
1. How did you figure out that veterinary medicine is your true calling?
I am one of those people who seemed to be born with a vocation to be a vet – by the age of five, I wanted to own a pet shop, and within a few months, that had changed to wanting to become a vet. I spent much of my childhood with pets, and reading books about animals and vets, and then as I became a teenager, I spent time seeing practice with vets to learn more about the job. So there was never any question for me about the profession that I wanted to join.
2. What are the most challenging and difficult aspects of dealing with ill pets?
The two most difficult areas are budgetary constraints and dealing with the end of life.
All vets would love to give every pet the optimal care regardless of costs, but people naturally have limited funds, and so investigations and treatments often have to be tailored to match the money available. This can be frustrating when you really want to do the best for the animal.
End of life issues are a big stress for vets – and indeed for owners. If someone has had a pet for their whole life, it is so difficult and sad to say goodbye. As vets, we often know the animal well, and we find it difficult too. On top of that, we have to guide owners through the process, which means that we witness a huge amount of human angst and grief. We may have to do this every day in a busy practice. It is definitely one of the most challenging and difficult parts of our job.
3. A few pieces of advice on keeping our pets as healthy as possible?
My best advice is to take your pet to your vet for a checkup every year – they will examine everything as well as asking you questions about your pet’s lifestyle and any issues you may have noticed. A professional and objective review of your pet’s health is the best way to ensure that you are doing the best for them.
4. Your opinion: should we buy pets or adopt them?
Ideally, taking on a rescue pet is the answer (I prefer not to use the term “adopt”, as this does not accurately describe what happens, and I heard from the mother of an adopted child that she found it difficult when her child asked her if he’d been adopted just like a rescued dog.)
However, I recognise that there are times that a purchased animal is more appropriate – if someone wants a particular type of animal that is not available from rescues. That’s a personal choice. If people do buy pets, they just need to know how to do this properly, avoiding puppy farmers and inherited diseases.
You can follow Pete on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube), and make sure to also have a look at his blog, where he posts a lot of interesting things about pets. Are you a vet? What are the biggest challenges you had to face as one? Leave us a comment!