Veterinary medicine relies on one’s ability to be a Jack – or Jill – of all trades.  Whether it is emergency, general practice, or high volume spay and neuter, Dr. Chrissy Mamone is up for the task.  She loves to challenge the dullness of daily life with a smile, is ever grateful for her mentors, and cannot wait to mentor others and pay it forward.  Those in North Carolina, Florida, and Tennessee would be lucky to meet her!


What inspired you to become a veterinarian?

Becoming a veterinarian has always been my dream, ever since I was a little girl. Every year for career day, I would dress up with a lab coat, stethoscope, and name badge titled “veterinarian”. Volunteering and eventually working at my local veterinary clinic solidified my passion for wanting to work with and help animals.


What states are you licensed in and/or states you are working to obtain licensure within?

I am actively licensed in North Carolina, Tennessee, and Florida.


What roles have you had within the veterinary profession? How about outside of this industry?

For 6 years prior to doing relief work, I engaged in a variety of full-time positions which included being a Medical Director, as well as an Associate Veterinarian and a Veterinary Consultant. I was also a rotating intern and a surgical intern for one year each.  Aside from high school jobs, I have always been in the vet med world.


What made you switch to relief practice?

Relief work provides me the independence and flexibility to create my own work schedule. I thoroughly enjoy traveling, so the freedom to take unlimited vacation days is priceless.


What are your favorite things about being a relief vet?

I really enjoy being able to experience all different varieties of clinics, staff, and animals. One day I may work in ER, see appointments in general practice the next day, and then do high volume spays and neuters later that week – there is never a dull moment. I appreciate the challenge of working in different environments, meeting new people, and being able to see veterinary medicine practiced in so many ways, learning from veterinarians with different experiences.


What are your least favorite things about being a relief vet?

One of the challenges of being a relief vet is building trust with clients that I will provide great advice and medicine for their animals. Without being a client’s full-time veterinarian and building a rapport, they are not able to become familiar with my credentials and experience, and it is often difficult to create long lasting relationships with the owners and their pets.


How do you feel that relief practice supports the veterinary profession as a whole?

Relief vets are essential to filling in the gaps in the veterinary profession and making sure animal health is always a top priority. I fill in as a relief vet when a doctor is going on maternity or paternity leave, is unexpectedly sick, wants to take a vacation or day off, or when there is an excessive amount of appointments/surgeries that warrant another doctor in the clinic.


What supplies or equipment do you bring with you on the job?

I always bring my stethoscope, a Sharpie pen, regular pens, a portable cautery pen, masks, my calculator, and my great attitude.


What do you look for in a practice when deciding to cover shifts for them?

Before I select a clinic to cover shifts, I ask about staffing and whether they have a full staff, adequate veterinary techs per shift, etc. Another important aspect when selecting a clinic is to be familiar with the type of medical equipment available at the office, as well as the computer software, diagnostics, and stocked medications. All of these are critical pieces for me to be able to practice the best medicine.


Have you picked up any unique practice tips while being a relief vet? These could be related to medicine, workflow, practice organization, or anything really.

Being a relief vet means you are always traveling to new clinics, meeting new staff and personalities, and working with different protocols.  I find it helpful to always introduce myself to all of the staff and immediately speak with the techs and team members regarding protocols and comfort levels of tasks. One tip is to always know each staff members’ qualifications and skill sets prior to making any assumptions. This has made my days go more smoothly and avoid unpleasant surprises.


What is your most memorable relief job?

Working at Tampa Bay Veterinary Emergency Service in Tampa, Florida!  I worked there for almost 5 years with amazing staff and veterinarians. They were intelligent, kind, helpful and team-oriented, which allowed us to provide efficient care and quality medicine to animals, even during the busiest of days. I gained a lot of the knowledge as a result of working with this incredible team of bright minds. I remember working extremely hard and long hours, but at the same time having the most fun in my career.


What advice would you give new relief vets? (Alternatively, what advice would you give someone who is thinking about being a relief vet?)

Have a positive and friendly attitude. Do not be afraid to ask for help. Treat all staff members equally and with respect, and always offer help.  For those thinking about becoming a relief vet, I would definitely recommend it if you are someone who enjoys freedom of time, does not mind traveling to different clinics, is comfortable working alone at times, and enjoys working with new staff regularly.


How has the global pandemic affected your relief practice?

I am grateful that the pandemic has not negatively affected my relief work. I have actually been quite busy with the option of being able to work 7 days a week. This pandemic has reminded me that even in trying times, the love for animals does not stop and people still want the best care for their pets.


What are your hobbies / passions outside of work?

My favorite daily hobby is taking care of and loving on my sweet pets: Hayley who is an 11-year-old FS Boxer from The OSU shelter, Lola who is a 7-year-old FS Boston Terrier from the Tampa Bay Humane Society, and Cheechu who is a 12-year-old FS DMH from the island of St. Kitts. I also love traveling to new places, enjoy hiking, reading, spending time with family, going to the gym, running, kayaking, spin class, and yoga.


Anything else you’d like to share?

I’m grateful to have had amazing mentors during my career that have helped my personal and professional growth. As a result, I feel especially eager to mentor others and pay it forward. I’m always available with any vet questions, so please do not hesitate to contact me at [email protected].


To learn more or contact Dr. Chrissy Mamone click here.