By Jessica Crabtree
At 7 a.m. every Monday morning at the local cafe in Olney, Texas, in the far back corner a group of ladies gather over breakfast. At first glance nothing seems unusual, until you overhear their conversations about farrowing piglets, pregnancy checking cattle, the most recent weekend veterinarian emergencies, and more.
That’s right—those four ladies are all veterinarians, representing the Salt Creek/Countryside Veterinarian Hospitals in Olney, Graham and Seymour.
The three veterinary clinics are managed by an all-women staff including Keelan (Anderson) Lewis, DVM; Carrie Foltyn, DVM; Brittany Thompson, DVM; and Amy Eiland, DVM. Lewis is a veterinarian’s daughter, Dr. Arn Anderson of Bowie, Texas. Never intending to follow in her father’s footsteps, the seven-year veterinarian began her own practice with her father’s support in 2011.
Dr. Lewis was a somewhat “pioneer” in her industry when she embarked seven years ago. “When I first came to Olney, no one had ever seen a young vet, let alone a female vet,” Lewis explained. “While it was a challenge, the town was welcoming, and through the years a trust developed.”
Generationally speaking, a rural mixed animal veterinary practice was typically made up of one male vet and few employees with limited to no associates. The struggles of the profession across the board are many—long days, a hefty work load demanding constant attention, as well as a high emotional, physical and mental commitment. Considering that kind of pressure, a notable change in the profession is occurring.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, as of 2017 veterinarians in the U.S. totaled 110,531. Of those 66,731 were women. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, the current ratio is 55 percent female/45 percent male in the veterinary market (private and public).
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