My Story

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I have been immersed in the veterinary profession for as long as I can remember…Both of my parents are veterinarians, so I grew up working at my mom’s small animal clinic in a suburb outside of Edmonton, AB, Canada. At first, I was cleaning kennels, and then I was making vaccination reminder phone calls, until I was old enough to answer phone calls and field questions as a receptionist. As I gained more skills and experience, I became a technician assistant and then was a veterinarian assistant after I was accepted into veterinary school at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon, SK.

But despite loving general practice, I felt a calling to do something more…So, after I graduated from veterinary school in 2004, I moved to Washington State to do a rotating internship in small animal medicine and surgery and it was during that time that I developed my passion for emergency and critical care. This led me to complete a residency at North Carolina State University and ultimately become board certified (specialized) in small animal emergency and critical care in 2008.

I have always loved teaching and wanted to continue to share my knowledge with others…Therefore, I accepted a faculty position at the Ontario Veterinary College in Guelph, ON and was Assistant Professor of Emergency and Critical Care Medicine for 5 years. During that time I helped train ten emergency and critical care residents and also mentored interns, graduate students, and veterinary students in clinical research, facilitating the primary or co-authorship of more than 25 veterinary publications. My research and passion for teaching led me to speak at the International Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society (IVECCS) meeting and American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) forum, in addition to many other general practitioner and veterinary technician continuing education programs.

However, something was missing and work-life balance was becoming increasingly more elusive…Subsequently, I moved back home to Alberta in 2013 to continue to foster my passion for small animal emergency and critical care, but while living closer to family and childhood friends. Since my departure from academia, I have stayed very busy providing locum coverage in small animal intensive care units across Canada and the USA, as well as co-editing a textbook on veterinary transfusion medicine and blood banking. I also serve as an Assistant Editor for the Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care and on the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care (ACVECC) Scientific Committee.

But it has become more apparent during the last few years that the veterinary profession is in need of some help…After experiencing burnout and compassion fatigue at different times throughout my 12 years as a veterinarian, I have made it my mission to increase awareness about wellness within the veterinary profession. In doing so, I have continued to expand my speaking engagements to include lectures related to topics including the mental health and well-being of veterinary care providers.

Then again, as with so many things in life, it is one thing to talk about issues and another thing to actually solve them…Therefore, most recently I have spent my time growing my ability to be an advocate for wellness by becoming a certified yoga and meditation teacher. This has allowed me to volunteer as a yoga instructor and wellness advocate for veterinary students and to organize veterinary wellness workshops and retreats for technicians and veterinarians. I am hopeful that by supporting veterinary care providers by providing tools for relaxation and well-being that some of the mental health concerns facing our profession can be mitigated.

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You might wonder what I do when I’m not busy saving dogs and cats in the intensive care unit, traveling to speak at conferences, or promoting wellness in the profession…Well, not surprisingly, I spend a lot of time investing in my own health and wellness by staying active. I enjoy practicing yoga at different studios, running along the river valley, swimming laps at the local pool, and hiking in the beautiful Rocky Mountains, which are just a short drive from Calgary where I live with my standard poodle named Faith.

My ultimate goal is to continue to support critically ill dogs and cats, as well as their veterinary care providers…It is apparent more now than ever that if we cannot care for ourselves, veterinary care providers will not have anything left to give to our four-legged patients or their two-legged care givers.

Thank you for visiting my website – I hope that I can help you or someone you know in the veterinary world who might benefit from some of the services that I provide.

— Marie K. Holowaychuk, DVM, DACVECC (Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care), CYT (Certified Yoga Teacher)