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NAVC Perspectives, Personal/Professional Development

We Are All Simply Veterinarians

Christine Navarre

Christine Navarre, DVM, MS, Diplomate ACVIM (Large Animal Internal Medicine)
Louisiana State University Agricultural Center

I recently had the opportunity to moderate a small animal surgery session at a continuing education event. For someone who has focused almost solely on food-producing animals for over 20 years, it was an unusual experience. It brought me back to my days in private mixed practice when I not only performed small animal surgery but really enjoyed it.

While standards of care in veterinary medicine have changed over the years, for the most part, the basics that I learned in school are still applicable. It was comforting to realize that, in a pinch, I could still be a general practitioner. This realization also gave me some comfort—as I take the reins as President of the NAVC—because this very large organization’s focus, while diverse, centers mainly on companion animals.


I usually spend my days absorbed in such areas as livestock preventive health and welfare and food safety and quality. However, serving on the NAVC Board of Directors for the past several years has provided the opportunity for me to revisit the veterinary profession as a whole.

During my travels to the NAVC Conference and other events, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting veterinarians from all segments of the profession. It could be very easy to focus on what separates us and where we disagree, but what I see—rather than large or small animal, female or male, academic or private practice veterinarians—are simply veterinarians. I truly believe that we are more alike than we are different.

We all took the same Veterinary oath and, when I feel frustrated with daily details, I actually go back and read that oath. In addition to grounding me, it allows me to focus better on the big picture.


I believe that our strength and sustainability as a profession is due to our unique broad-based training. I believe that the contribution of pets to the human—animal bond is as important as food animals are to a safe, secure, and sustainable food supply. And I believe that both are necessary for human health and well-being.

While we need to understand issues that make us different, such as specialization, race, gender, and generation, we also need to be aware of our place as simply veterinarians. I should be as capable of understanding basic small animal surgery as a small animal surgeon should be capable of understanding the basics of food safety.

Our profession faces challenges. It will take unique and diverse ideas, as well as a coordinated effort among us, to solve them. But the qualities that make us cohesive as fellow professionals also allow us to bring specialized and distinctive perspectives, and ultimately improvement, to animal, human, and environmental health.


In that vein, it is my pleasure, as a food animal practitioner, to introduce you to the new peer-reviewed journal of the NAVC, Today’s Veterinary Practice, a companion animal veterinary medicine publication whose commitment to practical, timely, and high-quality content made it a natural addition to the NAVC family.

The future is bright for this new partnership, and the journal will provide a print medium that draws together, and correlates, all components of the NAVC’s offerings. And as Today’s Veterinary Practice continues its role as a leading source for practitioner information, and increases the diversity of its readership and content, the journal will always remain focused on meeting the needs of veterinarians for “all creatures great and small.”

Christine Navarre, NAVC President