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  1. Animal Health Literacy

Dr. Martine Hartogensis

Supervisory Veterinary Medical Officer
Office of Surveillance and Compliance

1. Why did you become a veterinarian?

I always wanted to become a veterinarian from a young age. When I was 5-years-old, my dog had hiatal hernia surgery at the University of Pennsylvania. I was amazed with the hospital and the veterinarians and staff there and how they were able to help so many sick and injured animals. I knew I wanted to grow up and help animals in the same way.

Martine Hartogensis and her daughters
Martine Hartogensis and her daughters

2. What made you want to work for CVM?

Initially, I had a colleague who worked for CVM and loved the work she did and the impact it had on the veterinary profession. My initial impression of CVM revealed a wonderful group of people who are passionate about their work and how it fits into FDA’s public health mission. When I learned more about all the products CVM regulates and the wide range of issues the center handles, I knew I wanted to be a part of it.

3. What is the best thing about being a veterinarian for CVM?

I feel that the work I do every day has an impact on public health. CVM regulates so many products that people and animals depend on every day. I am so grateful for my role at CVM and the ability to help the public better understand what we do.

4. What does the veterinary profession mean to you?

Overall, the veterinary profession is one of the most respected, trusted, and crucial professions in terms of public perception. Veterinarians play a vital role in public and animal health that is often overlooked. Although the profession certainly faces challenges, I’m looking forward to what comes next in terms of technology and the way we improve the lives of our animals.

5. What is your most memorable moment as a veterinarian?

Probably the day I was working on my own horse that had incurred a facial wound, including several small fractures in the frontal sinuses. Both my girls (then ages 3 & 5) wanted to watch me clean up the wound. I had to remove several pieces of bone from the wound before flushing out the remaining debris and loose bone fragments. It was pretty bloody! Both of my girls watched the entire time in silence. They must have thought it was pretty cool because both of their teachers later told me how much they had talked about their mom sticking her fingers inside her horse’s bloody head. That’s when they discovered it was cool to have a mom who is a veterinarian!

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