An interview with Rory the Vet – personal and professional success at the veterinary clinic.

1 October 2021 5 min read


In our inaugural podcast episode, we explore themes around mental health, the future of veterinary practices, useful technology and sustainability.

Rory the Vet has been a vet for over six years. He has over 40,000 followers on Instagram, he’s featured on CBBC, Pet Factor and Blue Peter and has his own book- The Secret Life of a Vet. He describes himself as workaholic but is learning how to balance that and wishes to put his experience to good use for other veterinary professionals.

In our inaugural podcast episode, we explore themes around mental health, the future of veterinary practices, useful technology and sustainability. It is all in aid of helping veterinary staff in their personal and professional lives. Tune in and find out more.

Split-second decision making – how to cope

The emergency room…getting your PPE act together in a split-second… but I need to save a dog’s life?!

As we dive into what Rory feels the biggest challenge has been, we explore how insane (even that word is an understatement) it has been for frontline professionals in times of social distancing– Rory reminds us that anyone who has worked in a clinic- knows it’s not possible at times.

quotation marks in greenImagine we’re having a break, sat in a clinic and an emergency comes in – what if we don’t have PPE. How do we balance that, do we take the minute to equip ourselves or do we see to the dog?! Of course it’s the dog.
The appropriate social distancing, the PPE requirements, small spaces – put a stressed cat or dog in there, and you’re trying to take blood, you’ve got two nurses holding it etc. It’s just not doable’! He says. You cannot social distance. The knock-on effects, and when teams have been stretched over the last 18 months, you need that human interaction. That’s one of the benefits, we’ve been able to see people, but it’s been in a non-human way, we couldn’t hug our colleagues, we couldn’t have a cup of coffee normally.’ he continues. “It just didn’t feel like the profession we all know and love and that for me was the biggest challenge. quotation marks in green

But it’s understanding how to work as a group and a team. And the takeaway is that, when you’re potentially in life or death situations every day, you, the vet, the GP, the nurse, the frontline worker, are the hero. You sacrifice your life, your safety and take that risk to save another life. And that is an honor. That is something you should feel peace in. And we thank you every day for your contribution to society.

New adjustments – triage, prioritizing and claiming time back

What’s changed in behaviors, operations and processes?

quotation marks in greenThere’s a lot in the clinic, and roadside veterinary practices for example should stay in the past. In our clinic, it’s 1 person per pet, but it can be challenging and have issues. But now we can have phone calls. We have screens up, trying to be compliant. The way we’re acting, has changed. So much of our time is now on advice and giving people a helping hand – they just want peace of mind. So it might not be treating pets, but telehealth is important. People want an easy and quick, effective way to access health e.g. my dog has a limp – it doesn’t qualify for emergency health, but we can have a virtual appointment about it and a phone call perhaps,
so that it doesn’t take up so much time.quotation marks in green

Post-COVID-19 world – telehealth is the way forward

Rory feels telehealth is the way forward but cautions against over-reliance.

quotation marks in greenSomeone called me to say, hey the dog has an area of hair loss. It was half a centimeter across his head. She was concerned and wanted an emergency appointment , this is how vets can use technology and telemedicine to triage and get time back. It’s more efficient use of time. But we need to be mindful at screening the ones that cannot be done over telemedicine. If a dog has a sore eye, there’s nothing we can do over video and he’d need to be seen that day.quotation marks in green

People just want advice and reassurance, a helping hand and peace of mind, a quick way to access this. Rory reminds us that time efficiencies can be won back with telehealth and teleconsults.

quotation marks in greenThere’s a huge increase in demand in veterinary industry because of pet ownership. Behaviors from clients and vets that have changed. We’re always dealing with euthanasia’s etc., which are always serious conversations, but with telemedicine, we can have conference calls with the family.
The way that we’re acting as vets has changed. So much of what we do, is giving advice and peace of mind. I don’t think I’ve ever, in my short career, had to call as many people as I am right now. People just want advice, a helping hand and a peace of mind.quotation marks in green

You can explore more about our Rapport, our communication tool here

Mental health and coping mechanisms

quotation marks in greenI’ve got friends who are leaving their jobs. It’s a dire time right now.
There’s a backlog of emergency appointments of routine stuff that we’re trying to fit in around our emergencies and even neutering’s vaccines which have been ignored in the last 12 months. There’s a huge strain on time and hard to see an end to it.
Personally I feel strongly about talking to someone. Most vets know someone personally who has taken their life. It’s a horrible statistic.
But that’s why – talking as a step one. Each person needs to identify what that coping mechanism is, because it’s each to their own. It could be baking, it could be dog walking, going to the pub with mates. Whatever it is – identify it and use that to your advantage.
The big thing we’re guilty of as vets, particularly when we’re so stretched, is actually addressing what we’ve seen on a day-to-day basis. Registering those emotions and addressing them. I struggled with that in my first years of practice. I was so stressed. It took that for me to realize I wasn’t using my support network appropriately. Since then, I’ve been focused on taking time for me. It’s easy for us to throw ourselves into it, oh yes I’ll miss my lunch, I’ll do that extra consult, and seeing to the emergencies.quotation marks in green

Learn the power of saying no and offload to VetLife

To address that, Rory reminds us the power of learning to say no sometimes. That is critical too because it gives you the balance back and you simply cannot pour from an empty cup.

quotation marks in greenIt sounds niche and arrogant, but vets understand vets. We should talk to each other big shoutout to VetLife are incredible. They are run by vets and are there to listen.quotation marks in green

Consumption habits at your vet clinic – learn to adapt

quotation marks in greenPet parent generation has changed. They get their pet in place of a child or before a child as it’s a dry run. And it changes attitudes. It increases anxiety amongst pet parents – but they do lots of research and so much knowledge about their pets and pet health. This is a great opportunity . They want to know as much as possible. They’re interested pet owners and this is key. As vets, we should be educating them.quotation marks in green

Don’t view monetization as evil.

Being commercial and business-minded doesn’t take away your status as a passionate-animal-loving human being. And at the end of the day, you have a life to live, bills to pay and a desire to run a successful clinic.

quotation marks in greenI hate to monetize it, but they’re there to spend money. Whether it be the organic dog treats on the shelves or veterinary care, they’ll do anything for their pets. We cannot criticize them, and we need to support them and want the best for their pets. The downside is that they expect more. Sometimes we’ll struggle to show our care, especially under the stress, but we should be invested in every patient.
I see a surge in consumption of pet health. They want insurance and support on telehealth services as well. It’s becoming much more of a thing, and I’m seeing it more in clinic. People are looking for advice and teleconsults before even thinking about a vet appointment. They know they might not get that until the next day and as an industry, we need to learn how that can work together, because for whatever reason, some vet clinics don’t provide that telehealth option and it might be an insurance company who does. It must be integrated. There shouldn’t be this competitive nature- it needs to be integrated. Working together. Teleheath providers have to make it clear they’re not there to replace in-person veterinary service, but rather it is complimentary to the services we offer.quotation marks in green

Using technology to your advantage.

Again Rory tells it like it is.

quotation marks in greenThe veterinary industry are very guilty of not using technology that’s out there. We’re inherently cautious and new things scare us.quotation marks in green

He agrees that clinics need to be the trailblazers.

quotation marks in greenClinic that are marketing themselves as modern, high-tech, we should trial the new tech and lead the way. Proper app-based flows such as accessing pet medical notes on an app – that’s the future of veterinary care- I don’t think we’re there yet, but also pet parents have to adopt to that too.
We’re moving there, we’re just trying to get our way around telehealth. We’re very traditional, and are rubbish business people and so focused on healing and treating them. We are worried with new bits of tech, that It might not look after the pet as well. For example, telehealth, how many vets trust what their owners say? We have to back ourselves up with a physical exam, blood work and so on, we have to trust that technology and something else. And that falls on us at the end of the day.quotation marks in green

And yet we also know the advantages of technology from app-based access to clinical notes, appointment scheduling, client communication, telemedicine and more. Rory agrees, where he sees how it can offer much better efficiencies, admitting how the industry has to be more willing, and coming from the millennial generation, is tech saavy himself, so despite the traditional vs modern clash, sees the benefits.

Characters, traits and skills- how to be a successful veterinarian

Communication. Is. The. Key.

“…they will think you are god…” What is Rory talking about? Read on to find out more

Seems common sense right? Of course you have to be a good communicator, how else would you be able to do the job?

Rory dives into the secrets of being a good communicator and why we should invest more of our time in it. He sees it as the most useful trait and skill to work on.

quotation marks in greenEvery single thing we do is about communication. Whether it be with a client, colleague, pet, management or a specialist. It is all communication based. Becoming an effective communicator is the biggest thing, both as a new grad or experienced clinician. You might not be the best GP in the world, but If you can communicate well with a client and explain a condition to an owner, they will think you are God. It’s crazy, because I’m a good vet, don’t get me wrong, but am I going to set the world alight clinically – no. I’m a bog-standard GP. But I really do believe in my communication skills, and that is what I believe, going back to millennial pet parents- that is what want- good communication.
Do a reach out email. Do a check in with them in 5 days’ time to check in with their new puppy. Talk them through the x-ray and send them follow up information on that, whether you have templates or get them online. There’s so many good resources. And all it takes, is that little bit extra. Attach that fact sheet as a follow up, and they think you’ve gone above and beyond for them.

And that’s what makes the difference.quotation marks in green


It’s not just the veterinary industry – as a human being – we know about global warming, being concerned with plastics, waste, land-use, greenhouses, all of it – everyone should be concerned.

quotation marks in greenAs an industry, we’re in a tricky position. We’re an inherently wasteful industry. We use PPE like it’s going out of fashion. We use plastic syringes and packaging. We have bins overflowing with waste and it’s not good. I often wonder how we would overcome it. But I think all we can do is make small steps to be move towards where we want to be. There are already companies making syringes with less plastic. There are already companies doing cardboard wastebins rather than plastic ones. As a clinic, we just cut our wholesale deliveries from 5 times a week to 2 times a week, by over a half. So there’s things you can do as a clinic to make those changes and if a every clinic did that, we can make a big impact.quotation marks in green

Vet Sustain is a fantastic resource to help clinics and professionals implement those behaviours. Assign advocates at your work, get champions. Rory and his clinic have formed a Green Team at work. You can also check out our Q&A with Gudun Ravetz at Vet Sustain who can help you take those steps and even a very practical Greener practice checklist which you can view and download.

quotation marks in greenJust because we’re at work, doesn’t mean we can’t do the same things at home. Recycling, reusing, collecting water. All those things. And now we have Green Team at work which is amazing. Every clinic should do this. Start to question things e.g. if you don’t recycle, start that or try and repurpose things, cycle to work, there’s lots of things we can do….quotation marks in green


quotation marks in greenNo 1:remember who you are. I’m so passionate about this and huge for mental health. We get so bogged down in being a vet and being there for the animals. We forget to take 5 minutes for yourself every day. Things like using the calm app and find whatever works for you.
No 2:digest your emotions, we can go from elated in seeing a new puppy to absolutely devastated, borderlines tears or even crying over a patient and the stress. If we don’t take the time to digest emotions, I think if we don’t take our time to think about how we felt, they can eat us up on the inside.
No 3:Remember we’re all in it together. We are very lucky to be part of an amazing profession. Whether it be, people like you in Covetrus, in a supporting tech environment and veterinary role. Whether it be vets themselves, vet nurse, vet receptions, or delivering the wholesale. You are part of the veterinary community. And that is a special place to be. It’s full of amazing people and we’re there for the animals, all looking out for each other. And of course, we will get through this Covid-tunnel. I promisequotation marks in green

For resources mentioned in this podcast:


The Neighbourhood Vet

Vet Sustain