By Aimee Nielson
University of Kentucky
Veterinarians are essential and open for business in Kentucky, but the way they are interacting with clients has changed.
Regardless of practice size or whether they service large or small animals, all practitioners must limit human-to-human contact and maintain proper distancing, following all Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Kentucky Veterinary Medicine Association recommendations.
Although the University of Kentucky doesn’t have a veterinary school, many complete bachelor’s degrees in the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment prior to moving on to veterinary school. Some of those UK alumni recently shared their challenges and experiences in this “new normal.”
“Farms have been practicing biosecurity for years, so a lot of these new recommendations were already in place in our clinics and field locations,” said Natalie Heitz, field veterinarian for Hagyard Equine Medical Institute in Lexington. “Not a lot has changed for me. I’m out in the field, right in the middle of breeding season.”
Heitz is a 2012 graduate of UK’s Equine Science and Management program and a 2014 graduate of the Goldophin Flying Start program. She earned her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Auburn University in 2018 before joining Hagyard. She said the biggest change for her has been prioritizing client calls.
“I’ve been doing urgent and essential field calls,” she said. “For other needs,