Caring for Animal Companions
Wednesday, October 09, 2013 11:00 AM
A childhood curiosity and love for animals eventually grew into a career for a veterinarian new to the Madison area.
Madison Animal Clinic veterinarian Logan Botzman checks on a dog that had been brought in with multiple issues. Though the dog is lined with sutures, Botzman said she is on the mend and should be fine now that her wounds are closed. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchiefirstname.lastname@example.org)
Logan Botzman's interest in animal medicine began by caring for wildlife and domestic animals while growing up in Somerset, Ky. Sometimes he'd find an animal that needed a safe place to stay while being nursed back to health, and sometimes he just wanted to see wildlife up close.
"I was out catching snakes in pillow cases since I was 6," Botzman, 27, said.
His love of animals - and skills to care for them - grew from there. Since his days of catching snakes and turtles, he's cared for and treated almost any animal from geckos and lizards to large farm animals as a veterinarian.
"I'm pretty much willing to see anything in general," he said. "People grapevine that real quick."
While there's not really a "normal" day for Botzman at the Madison Animal Clinic, he usually sees dogs, cats and birds for a wide variety of reasons. His patients' ailments can vary from a routine check-up and preventative medicine to dental work and surgeries to remove items that shouldn't have been ingested - like socks.
"The cool thing is you get to do everything," he said of the Madison Animal Clinic.
Instead of working in specialties like human medicine, Botzman takes his knowledge of animals and medical procedures to treat a range of symptoms in a variety of animals. In very few cases are pet owners referred to a specialist for treatment, he said.
And unlike human medicine, Botzman often relies on the pet's owner to describe the ailment instead of asking the patient.
"I like the challenge of it," he said.
Sometimes a medical issue is evident whenever an animal is brought in for treatment. But finding the cause of a problem can be a bit more of a challenge.
Botzman often begins by asking about a pet's abnormal behaviors to figure out the problem. Usually the minor details can help to shape a diagnosis, he said. Even a minor symptom an owner might not consider to be a issue can prove to be most significant to a veterinarian.
Sometimes, pet owners Google their pet's symptoms online as a way to diagnose a condition before going to the clinic. More often than not, Google's results give pet owners reason to believe their pet has a severe - or terminal - diagnosis.
"Now, Dr. Google has complicated my life," Botzman said. "Usually (pet owners are) looking at the worst case scenarios."
Part of a visit to the veterinary office is diagnosing and fixing an issue, Botzman said, but another part is education.
"The education part is way more fun for me," he said.
In fact, it was one of the reasons Botzman chose to take a job at the Madison Animal Clinic in August. After studying at Auburn University in Alabama, Botzman joined a walk-in clinic in Tennessee. But he wanted to work more closely with his patients and their owners than just one time.
Botzman enjoys spending time getting to know the pets he works with, as well as their habits and attitudes.
"You usually know which ones are going to be a problem child," he said, noting attitudes often mean more than a pet's displeasure over a visit to the vet.
He also likes to share new preventative care techniques while a pet is in for a visit. While treatments are often similar for different animals, new ailments have been surfacing in pets because of extended life expectancies.
In recent years, arthritis, cancer, diabetes and other issues have become more common in pets. New treatments have become available to combat those pet health concerns.
"We've come a long way in the last 20 years," he said of animal medicine. "The game just keeps changing for us."