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Welcome to the Vet Vault

Do you simply work in veterinary science, or could you make veterinary science work for you?

There are key people from every part of the veterinary profession who just seem to get it right, who have conquered the elusive “balance”. How do they do it? How do they stay motivated and passionate in an industry that is plagued with burnout and fatigue. In the Vet Vault we dive deep with some of the most inspiring and energised vets from around the world to unlock the tips, tools and inspiration for making veterinary science work for you.  Gerardo and Hubert are on a mission to unstitch the veterinary profession and all of it’s quirks in this provoking, stimulating and entertaining podcast.

About the Vet Vault 

The Vet Vault is a space where we talk to high performing individuals from varying niches of the veterinary profession who have found ways to thrive in their careers and make veterinary science work for them. From cutting edge specialists to inspired new graduates – we unlock knowledge and passion through open and honest conversations to reveal the thoughts, beliefs and habits that will launch your veterinary career sky high.

Each guest brings with them unique insights. Our conversations cover important topics like mindset, confidence and competence, career pathways, mental health, wellness, resilience, thought patterns, dealing with fear and uncertainty and having the right values, goals and attitude to succeed. Regardless where you are in your career, you’re bound to uncover something useful in each episode.  We sure did! 

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Recent Podcasts...

#Urethral Stones! Yes its a thing! with Dr Dave Collins

Episode Downloads:

Welcome back to another one of our clinical episodes. I decided to share this one today because of a case I dealt with just this morning. We had a cat in hospital with what was thought to be acute renal failure, but what turned out to be a ureteral obstruction. That’s ureTEral, not urethral. Seeing this case reminded me how dangerous this disease is, and how easily it can be missed. So I thought I’d share this episode that we recently did on the topic with our resident medicine specialist, Dr Dave Collins. The thing is – until we did this interview with Dave, ureteral obstructions just wasn’t on my radar, but we’re learning that it’s apparently more common than we think it is. Probably because we’ve been missing them. 

If this comes as a surprise to you then I recommend you plug in and let Dave tell you everything you need to know about ureteral obstructions: from spotting them, to diagnosing them, and all the way to how to fix them. 

If you found this episode useful then you’ll love our clinical podcast series. We have a bunch of other free clinical content at, or subscribe at for weekly short and sharp high-value clinical updates that you can consume on the go. 

#43: Integrative practice, with Dr Gary Richter

What do you think when you hear the words ‘holistic’, or ‘alternative’. What about “complimentary”? These are terms that can evoke quite strong opinions and responses in many vets one way or another, right?
100% honest – I was a bit apprehensive about doing this interview. I’m a natural skeptic, and I was worried that our guest was going to be a bit  ‘out there” in his ideas, but I’m very glad that we took the time for this conversation. Turns out that, like me, and like you, Dr Gary Richter is a vet who cares about his patients and wants to find as many ways as he can to help them. He just happened to have found his niche in offering treatments that are a bit outside of the norm. And I must admit, it’s made me very curious.  

In our conversation, we dig up and chew on a few of the old bones on contention in our profession, like the role of alternative or complementary medicine in veterinary science, and the processed foods vs whole foods debate. Gary talks about integrative medicine as a practice model and as a business model, and he tells us about a few of his favourite and most useful therapeutic discoveries that he’s made on his explorations.   And of course we can’t talk about alternatives to a Californian vet without talking about cannibis!

#42: Burnout: The Bigger Picture with Dr Ivan Zakharenkov

Our guest for today Is Dr Ivan Zakharenkov, or Ivan Zak as he’s better known. Ivan is a veterinarian and an entrepreneur committed to creating products that empower healthcare teams to live their passion.

If you haven’t heard of Ivan then there’s a fair chance that you have heard of, or possibly use his brainchild on a daily basis in your hospital: Ivan was the founder of the now-ubiquitous veterinary software Smartflow. It was Ivan’s personal journey as a practicing veterinarian for 12 years that led to the development of Smartflow, and eventually to his current mission.

Early in his career, Ivan experienced severe burnout, and it was that experience that has led him to explore the psychological triggers of burnout and business methodologies that veterinary organizations can apply to work against them. Researching this topic, Ivan obtained an MBA degree in International Healthcare Management and wrote a dissertation “Implementation of lean thinking to improve employee experience.” Today Ivan is leading Veterinary Integration Solutions, a technology company helping veterinary groups implement an operating framework for sustainable integration of practices with a special focus on burnout prevention.

Our conversation covers some of the highlights of the findings of the burnout study and his thinking about solutions to burnout. 

#41: The Yin & Yang of Emergency Practice with Dr Lorna O’Dowd

We’re back today with another full-length vet interview, and it’s a corker!  We’re exploring the ins and outs, the ups and downs and the and the joys and struggles of a career in emergency practice, with Dr Lorna O’Dowd.

You’ll pick where Lorna cut her teeth in mixed practice from her lovely Irish accent. Since her early career in Ireland, Lorna did stints of smallies locum work interspersed with volunteering in all sorts of exotic locations around the world. She finally put down her roots here in Australia, where she followed a path that saw her working and teaching in the emergency department at the University of Melbourne for the past decade.

At the time of recording this episode, she’d just started a new ECC job in a private specialist clinic, which leads us straight into a great conversation about change, dealing with new jobs and teams and the associated stresses, how to pick a team that fits with your values, and how to add value to your team. We talk about imposter syndrome, burnout, being a good mentee, and… death – when our patients die, with or without our help – a very important topic that we haven’t really touched on before on the podcast. And of course, we couldn’t talk to a fellow ECC geek without asking her for her best tips on how to survive a career in emergency practice with shift work and high-stress situations. Enjoy!

#40: Niche Practice and Rubbery Numbers with Dr Randolph Baral

This episdoe is a bit of a hybrid between our standard performance episodes and a clinical one. We speak to Dr Randolph Baral, who owns and works in a feline-only practice in Sydney, Australia. But Randolph doesn’t just like staying up to date with what’s new for his patients – he prefers to stay at the forefront by doing his own research. This has led to him gaining his memberships feline medicine, a pHD in clinical pathology, being a regular contributor on VIN, and authoring a string of publications and articles on all things clin path.

We talk to Randolph about the benefits of niche practice and about being a researcher while also being a clinician and practice owner, but the bulk of our conversation is around Randolph’s insights around his pet topic: variation in blood results, how we interpret our blood results, and more specifically BETTER ways of thinking about our results.

This episode is supported by Heska Australia. 
Heska is the most exciting new player in the in-house lab equipment market in Australia. They offer top of the line machines and proven reliable results, but with significantly reduced spend on consumables, with savings of 30% or more compared to other dry-slide analysers. Pay less, get more, no tricks. 

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