Get new episode alerts and updates direct to your inbox, subscribe today. PLUS GET A FREE DOWNLOAD!

#96: The Day You Didn't Die. With Dr Doug Mader

Dr Doug Mader is a triple board-certified veterinary specialist and has been a veterinarian for nearly four decades. He is an internationally recognised speaker, has written three best-selling medical textbooks, and numerous scientific publications. He has had long-standing columns in multiple media outlets, and he is the recipient of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Conservation Award, the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine Alumni Achievement Award, and the Fred L. Frye Lifetime Achievement Award for Veterinary Medicine. He’s a seven-time winner of the North American Veterinary Community Speaker of the Year award and a four-time winner of the Western Veterinary Conference Educator of the Year award. He is also a fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine in the United Kingdom and is Human Animal Bond Certified. He co-founded and ran highly successful practice in California for many years, then did it again in the Florida Keys, and can now add author to his list of achievements with the release of his recent book ⁠The Vet At Noah’s Ark⁠. Step aside James Herriot – the man has a few stories and more than just a few bits of wisdom to share. 

In this episode, we discuss both planned and unplanned career changes, trauma (the big T and the small-t kinds), working as an exotics vet, creating your own luck, and following your own star. Dr Doug discusses the human-animal animal bond, specifically how to effectively deal with the ‘human’ part of that relationship, lessons he learned from years of building the best practice in the worst neighbourhood, what it was like to treat Michael Jackson’s pets, and much more. 

Topic list:

04:37 Dr Doug’s triple board certifications.

13:04 The day Dr Doug didn’t die, and how this lead to a career in exotic animals. 

21:55 From exotic residency to buying a smallies clinic.

29:55 The role of the human-animal bond and money’s place in it.

35:38 Dealing with the human aspect of the human-animal bond.

42:20 Dr Doug’s experience treating celebrity pets.

43:53 More of Dr Doug’s story and his book – The Vet At Noah’s Ark.

46:47 Big traumas vs small traumas – the preparation for the hurricanes in life (literally and metaphoric!)

52:45 Why Dr Doug doesn’t celebrate his birthday anymore.

55:04 Getting back up after you’ve been knocked down.

56:22 Dr Doug’s next chapter – more books to come!

60:17 What advice does 85-year-old Doug give current Doug? 

62:37 Dr Doug’s favourite podcasts.

63:54 Dr Doug’s piece of advice to new grads – a lesson on balance.


Book – All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot: 

Podcast – VETgirl: 


“I’m not dealing with the client on a person-to-person basis. I’m dealing with the client because I’m sticking up for the animal. And I’ve always been the type that wants to stand up for the underdog and undercat, undersnake, whatever you wanna call it.”

“If you treat people with respect, even the ones that are not the nicest people, eventually they will come around.”

“You should never feel guilty for asking for help, because we all need it. Even Superman needs it every once in a while.”


Join our community of Vet Vault Nerds to lift your clinical game and get your groove back with our up to date easy-to-consume clinical episodes at

Connect with us through our online Vet Vault Network. for episode highlights, discussions, questions and support.

Join us in at Vets on Tour in Wanaka, New Zealand on 13 – 18 August 2023 for great CE, live podcasting and snow… lots of snow! 

Send in a voice message: 

Join our community of likeminded veterinary professionals for resources, case and industry discussions, connection and more.

Coming soon: Live podcasting, Q&A, practical sessions, and group discussions