Vet Spotlight: Dr. Fitzgerald combines her passion with using Vetster

Vet Spotlight: Dr. Fitzgerald combines her passion with using Vetster - Vetster

Meet Dr. Bethan Fitzgerald, a veterinary surgeon in Elgin, Scotland has been a vet for 12 years, with special interest in sled dogs! She has been the head vet at many British races and World and European Championships, where she has learned much about the dog as an athlete.

“I was also a race vet for the International and National races in the UK and working as an online vet has allowed me to continue my relationships with the sled dog mushers.”

vet holding an orange cat

Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you get started as a veterinarian?

I have always wanted to follow my grandad’s footsteps since I was 7 years old. It wasn’t easy as I needed to follow the path of a zoologist first because I didn’t make the grades. I now pinch myself every day feeling blessed to be working as a vet - it’s the best job ever! I am married to my high school sweetheart and have two girls aged 9 and 11, two mini shetlands, two dogs and a cat. For the last few years I have developed joint pain and have trouble with my hands so I’ve sadly had to work less. Vester has allowed me to keep doing what I love and also look after myself too. I used to race sled dogs at a high level, racing over 14 years and 21 dogs. My biggest achievement is winning silver at the World Championships in Canada and gold in the European championships. I was also a race vet for the International and National races in the UK and working as an online vet has allowed me to continue my relationships with the sled dog mushers. I love to utilize my vet knowledge alongside my mushing experience to help people get the best results.

racing with four dogs

What would you say are the top challenges vets are facing right now in the industry. Does Vetster help with any of these challenges?

The top challenges would be trying to get a good work life balance. Never getting home on time and having to do extra work. This ends up with many vets leaving the profession, the table below says 60% leave due to work conditions and experiences, such as poor work-life balance. Working online is a great way to control your hours and work in the comfort of your own home, keeping vets as vets. This is my experience as at one time I had to work 5 weekends in a row due to a lack of vets!!! Other reasons for vets leaving the profession is not feeling rewarded, chronic stress and long and unsocial hours. Vester allows vets to work when they want. Another issue would be pay. They don’t get paid half as much as people think, especially after calculating all the missed lunch breaks and the times they have to stay late to see to an emergency.

table with stats statistical table chart

Tell us about a time when you saw a client who was relieved and pleased to have spoken to you virtually.

I had a veterinary nurse who booked an appointment with me as she had an old diabetic dog that suffered diarrhea on a regular basis. I was surprised that she needed my help as she worked alongside vets but then remembered how hard it is to get time to sit with clients and talk things through thoroughly. It was nice to start from scratch and have time to obtain the whole history. I explained how diabetes is monitored and what to do when certain things happen. We talked about diet and what the best options and treatments were. She ended the consult feeling in control of her pets illness and had a short term and long term plan. I was very happy that she had good service.

a couple holding their dog in the snow

What is your most memorable case you handled on Vetster?

The most memorable case was a chicken who was struggling to lay an egg! Practices weren’t seeing birds because of bird flu and it was in the evening. I had to guide these amazing owners to remove the egg gently without causing damage! It was like watching “call the midwife” on telly! It was done like a pro using Vaseline and tweezers.

vet on bike with dog leading the way

How do you envision the future of telehealth?

I can see online vet work becoming more popular as owners discover how convenient it is for certain conditions. Lots of vets in practice have 15 minutes to discuss, examine and diagnose your pet which is a very small amount of time and probably not enough for the client to absorb the information and ask questions. Once a diagnosis is made, you can use online vets to discuss the diagnosis and become more educated about the condition to know that their pet is getting the best treatment and if there is a good relationship made then this can be life long support.

What do you enjoy most about Vetster and would you recommend this platform to your colleagues and peers?

I love that you can download attachments which the owners can view. Also, I really like that owners can download all the consultation notes to read through and take to their local vets if required. I would recommend Vetster. It’s so neat! I have done other online work and this is far superior! I can see that Vetster is always looking at ways to improve too. (Note: Vetster customers can now share their medical records with their brick-and-mortar clinic from within the app.)

If you're interested in being featured in our blog, please contact Jennifer, our Manager of Veterinary Success by emailing

The Vetster Editorial Team is comprised of seasoned writers and communicators dedicated to elevating stories about Vetster, pets and their owners.
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