Dr. Meg Oeller
Office of Minor Use & Minor Species Animal Drug Development
1. Why did you become a veterinarian?
I was horse crazy from birth. I wanted to have a career working with them. I like other animals, too, but horses were the big thing. I worked at stables and trained with Olympic riders. When it became clear that being an Olympian was not in my future, I went back to school.
2. What made you want to work for CVM?
Life changes things. I had my own equine practice on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. My husband, also a veterinarian, was doing small animal medicine. We had a baby. An economic recession hit our area very hard and we were going broke. My husband wanted to work for the government, so we moved back to the DC area. He worked in a small animal practice and I worked at the racetrack for over a year while he looked for a government job. I ran into a classmate at the track and he told me that Beth Luddy (also a classmate) told him about a job opening at CVM to review drugs for horses. At that point, regular hours and health insurance were looking very good. I contacted Beth, came in for an interview, and found that the job was no longer available. The interview led to me being hired as an aquaculture reviewer at CVM instead. Who knew? My husband was hired to work in CVM’s Office of Surveillance and Compliance 2 weeks later.
3. What is the best thing about being a veterinarian for CVM?
I believe that we have an important mission. Making safe and effective drugs legally available for a wide range of species is crucial for animal welfare and public health. Perhaps, the best thing is working with a wonderful group of similarly motivated people. We have interesting work and a variety of interactions with a broad range of internal and external stakeholders. I am also still grateful for the regular hours and health insurance.
4. What does the veterinary profession mean to you?
Veterinary medicine is a fascinating and very broad field. Our training prepares us for much more than clinical practice. I have a lot of pride in the profession and am humbled by the knowledge and skills of so many of my colleagues. I like to think of the profession as being one of competence and compassion that is deserving of the public trust.
5. What is your most memorable moment as a veterinarian?
It is hard to pick just one. I tell people that working for FDA vs clinical practice is a case of the highs aren’t as high and the lows aren’t as low. One memorable moment from practice was the day that I was called to a local riding stable to put down a horse that had a “broken leg”. There were about a dozen young girls crying when I arrived. I examined the horse and determined that there was no fracture, just a painful hoof abscess which I lanced and saved the day. Smiles all around.