Meet Apryl Barton, DVM – Veterinarian at Animal Hospital of Polaris!

Dr. Apryl Barton, Veterinarian at Animal Hospital of Polaris

Apryl Barton, DVM is Associate Veterinarian at Animal Hospital of Polaris.  Apryl is extremely dedicated to her craft, and strives to provide the best possible care for pets and their owners.  She genuinely cares for every animal that comes through the door, which makes her an extremely valuable addition to the Animal Hospital of Polaris team.

Apryl, what do you like most about your job?
I love working with dogs and cats every day.  I also have the privilege of getting to work with the wonderful group of people that make up the staff at AHOP.

What is the hardest part?
There’s not a switch to turn my brain off at the end of my shift, so even though I may not be working, I’m always thinking about cases I’ve seen and trying to think of what else I need to do, what I might have forgotten, researching different diseases and treatments.

Do you have any pets?
Yes!  Kael is a four-year-old orange and white tabby cat.  He’s my first “baby.”  Bowser is a five-year-old Miniature Bulldog.  He was rescued after he ate a corncob and had an intestinal obstruction.

What is your favorite animal?
I love tigers, but if I had to choose between cats and dogs, I’m a crazy cat lady even if I only have one.

Tell us something interesting about yourself.
-I love cardiology.
-My hobbies include travel, reading, watching movies and TV.
-I would love to take piano and photography lessons.
-I loved living in Louisiana!  The culture and food were amazing. Go LSU Tigers!

When did you decide to become a veterinarian?
I always knew that I wanted to work with animals, but initially wanted to study animal behavior.  Through my undergrad coursework and after researching graduate schools for behavior, I decided to change my path to veterinary medicine.

What education/experience has brought you up to this point?
I worked with zoo and exotic animals throughout my undergraduate studies and when I decided to pursue vet med, I thought that I wanted to be a zoo vet.  After working at an excellent small animal practice before and throughout vet school, and after enjoying canine and feline medicine, I changed and decided to become a small animal practitioner.  After vet school I had the great fortune of doing a general small animal rotating internship at the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine where I got additional training in emergency and specialty medicine.

What makes a good veterinarian?
My top priority is patient care; at the end of the day, I want to know that I did everything I could to help the patient I saw.  This may be as simple as trying to get a healthy pet that is in for their annual exam to be less anxious about being at the clinic, but every patient has their own unique needs that I try to pay attention to and address.  Being able to have a conversation and help my clients understand why I’m recommending certain things is also crucial.  Our pets are members of our family, and I want my clients to go home with the knowledge they need to understand how they can best take care of their family.  I also feel it is important to keep up with current procedures and therapies so that I can offer you the most up-to-date and best service possible.

What is the most important thing a pet caretaker can do in order to have a good relationship with a veterinarian?
Communication!  If my clients don’t understand something I’m talking about, I hope they will ask me to explain things differently, or provide them with reading material or reliable websites with the information they seek.  It’s important for a veterinarian and a client to discuss a treatment plan together so that their pet gets the care they need and that the client is comfortable with the services performed.

What are some misconceptions you’ve heard about veterinarians and vet care?
I hear from people occasionally that “If you want to make a lot of money, be a veterinarian,” or “Veterinarians recommend vaccines that aren’t necessary to take our money.”  I can assure you that neither of these statements is true.  The cost of veterinary school and the subsequent monthly loan payments are higher than most people (including most of my family members!) ever imagined, and our average national salaries are not as high as people think.  This is not a field anyone should go into if their goal is to make lots of money.  There is always debate, even amongst veterinarians about how often vaccines are needed, and there is no exact answer.  We recommend them based on our individual assessment of your pets’ risk and needs.

Any advice for pet owners?
Please use caution when trying to diagnose your pets from the Internet.  Every pet is different, and many websites are not accurate or up-to-date on their recommendations.  If you have concerns and want the best for your pet, call you veterinarian.

Please say “hi” to Apryl next time you visit Animal Hospital of Polaris!

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