Meet Dr Leigh Davidson, a New Zealand born veterinarian breaking down the barriers between vets and animal owners with Your Vet Online – Australia’s only online, on-demand, 24/7, 365 days of the year, veterinary advice service for pet and horse owners.
Leigh admits that growing up she was never attracted to following the herd and she knew from a young age that she wanted to look after animals and people.
“Growing up in New Zealand we were always close to a farm…I think that influenced me because when I was 3 years old I announced I was going to be a vet!”
She credits persistence as one of her strongest assets. At first go, she didn’t get into veterinary school (preferring parties and boys to study!). They told her she needed to stop partying and get serious so she worked hard at study, sat at the University intakes desk day in and day out (becoming that squeaky wheel that gets too loud) and eventually they let her into veterinary university.
Never one to follow in the footsteps of other people and preferring instead to do things differently – Leigh is what could be described as the entrepreneurial vet!
“I love helping people and animals. I’ve always been independent and I’ve always admired or looked up to people who cut their own path in life, doing things their way.”
Leigh started ‘Your Vet Online’ to break down the barriers between vets and animal owners and educate people to understand what is going on with their animals. She believes that owners have a responsibility to have an interest in preventive care and it’s what can keep pets from a hospital visit.
Leigh’s passion and knowledge about her industry is obvious and she believes that vets should be doing more for people, educating them, so that as a society we treat animals with the attention and care they deserve.
Throughout the years she learnt that people were reluctant because of the perceived cost to go to a vet, so she decided to make vets more accessible to people.
In her view, using Dr Google and Facebook Forums as a source of advice for prevention and treatment is not an acceptable source or solution and it can create confusion amongst animal owners (as they don’t end up seeking professional help until it’s too late).
“Dr Google is a gamble because you don’t really know who is on the other end, the advice isn’t specific to your situation, and if people place too much trust in the wrong information that’s when things can go wrong.”
Leigh’s advice is to always talk to a qualified vet who can give you the right advice and money shouldn’t be an impediment to an animal’s health and wellness.
“I’ve created a “go to” place for people caring for animals where they can ask any question, whether it’s husbandry related, nutrition, preventative care or a behaviour issue – any question can be asked and our team of vets will give a qualified answer.”
She credits her biggest challenge as technology as it can be non-transparent and it’s hard to find genuine people in the tech space to help.
Leigh believes understanding that “not everything is about you” is the greatest lesson we can learn. And that compassion plays a huge role in what she does every day in business and life.
Leigh believes that compassion is the key to unlocking human understanding and empathy and it’s what we need more of in the world today.
For some part this is another motivation as her profession attracts high rates of suicide, especially for vets working in remote locations or alone.
Leigh moderates two large veterinary Facebook Groups whose aim is to bond vets, offer support and be a safe place for veterinarians to discuss personal feelings about work and life.
“I like to think that in a small way I’m helping fellow vets to see the value in living. I hope that by sharing compassion and empathy I can help others to become more compassionate and empathetic…particularly towards each other. It’s a tough profession…it’s the least I can do.”
If you are a vet and would like to join Leigh’s veterinary group you can find her at yourvetonline.com
Leigh’s favourite quote: “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds” – Albert Einstein
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