Mary Carlson, DVM, MA, CVA, has been a physical education and science teacher, a community volunteer and school board member, a lecturer in anatomy at the Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, a guest researcher studying Yersinia pestis (plague) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and a veterinarian specializing in cats through her feline-exclusive practice. She is internationally certified in veterinary acupuncture. Mary is a rabid Chicago Cubs fan, avid horsewoman, enthusiastic dog owner, and, according to her cats, excellent support staff. She is active on Facebook and channels her love of and experience in veterinary medicine through her blog. She lives in Fort Collins, Colorado and Tucson, Arizona, where she is a volunteer with the Tucson Wildlife Center. Her work has appeared in both professional and lay publications. Drinking from the Trough is her first book.
In 2008, Mary decided to stop practicing clinical veterinary medicine. Although she loved her work and was proud of Blue Spruce Cat Clinic, the feline-exclusive practice she’d founded and operated for many years, she also faced a serious risk if she continued.
Mary fractured her hip in a fall from her young mare, Hannah, in 2004. Three surgeries, the final one for a full hip replacement, followed. The replacement hip worked well—Mary was able to ride again—but an artificial joint brings with it a new kind of risk.
Some of the physical gyrations vets have to do in order to examine a cat risk dislocating the artificial hip, a painful and serious complication. Infections can head straight to an implanted joint, and 80% of cat bites become infected.
Every vet gets bitten at least once in their career, and Mary was no exception. In 2008, a nasty bite from a feral kitten went through her fingernail. That bite was her wake-up call; she knew she had to give up day-to-day veterinary medicine in order to not compromise her hip.