Cats or dogs: What's your preference?

Cats or dogs: What's your preference?

The lowdown on which species veterinarians and veterinary team members prefer to work with, why—and if it matters.
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Aug 01, 2010
By dvm360.com staff
Conventional wisdom holds that when it comes to the veterinary business, it’s a dog’s world. Meaning that the majority of veterinarians and their staff prefer to work with dogs over cats. (Visit dvm360.com/catsvsdogs to read colleagues’ reasons for why that is.) But how accurate is that belief? And if true, what does it mean for your clients and patients?



Data source: 2010 Firstline Team Trends Study

The complete package:
Do you prefer to work with dogs or cats in your practice?
Doctors prefer to work with...
Is bias a bad thing?
Cats may be gaining ground
Cast your vote: Cats vs. dogs
Is bias a bad thing?


Not according to Dr. Gary Norsworthy, DABVP, a San Antonio-based feline practitioner. “You need to work with the species that you feel most comfortable with,” he says. Doing so will not only make your own work more enjoyable, it will also better serve your clients and patients.

Canine and feline practice varies significantly, Dr. Norsworthy says, from restraint methods to understanding and treating disease. “Even diseases with the same name will behave differently in dogs and cats,” he says. When you focus on one species, you develop a better set of skills for treating that group. Plus, clients will appreciate your devotion.

So go ahead and stake your claim as the dog whisperer or the go-to cat guru at your practice if you prefer working with one species over the other. But avoid being pigeonholed in that role or labeled as a dog hater or cat hater. Just because you prefer to work with one species over another right now doesn’t mean you always will or that you dislike the other species. And you might not always have the option.

The complete package:
Do you prefer to work with dogs or cats in your practice?
Doctors prefer to work with...
Is bias a bad thing?
Cats may be gaining ground
Cast your vote: Cats vs. dogs
Cats may be beginning to gain ground


“When I graduated from Texas A&M in 1972, most of my classmates came from a rural background where cats were barn creatures and largely disposable. My colleagues couldn’t justify spending money on a cat because they could get a dozen more, and many took that attitude in practice.

But over time, a new generation of veterinarians came into the profession. They were more positive toward cats, probably because they had urban backgrounds and grew up with cats in their households. You can see the shift. When I graduated, there were three feline-only practices in the country. Now there are more than 300.” —Dr. Gary Norsworthy, DABVP

The complete package:
Do you prefer to work with dogs or cats in your practice?
Doctors prefer to work with...
Is bias a bad thing?
Cats may be gaining ground
Cast your vote: Cats vs. dogs

Proceedings papers for techs

The very best behavior advice for new puppy owners (Proceedings)

CVC IN SAN DIEGO PROCEEDINGS

The entire hospital staff should play a role in the counseling of new puppy owners.

The technician's role creating a behavior centered veterinary practice (Proceedings)

CVC IN SAN DIEGO PROCEEDINGS

A focus on pet behavior in the veterinary clinic is an excellent practice builder.

Trying times--dealing with canine adolescent dog (Proceedings)

CVC IN SAN DIEGO PROCEEDINGS

A behavior wellness exam is an opportunity to check up on a pet’s behavioral health and answer any related questions a client may have.

Enriching geriatric patients' lives (Proceedings)

CVC IN SAN DIEGO PROCEEDINGS

An important time for practices to include a behavioral exam is when a pet becomes a senior.

Tubes and tracheas--all about endotracheal tubes and lesions in difficult intubations (Proceedings)

CVC IN SAN DIEGO PROCEEDINGS

Endotracheal tubes are usually made from silicone, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic or red rubber.