Photography by Lindsey Potter
Wade Veterinary Services operates unlike any other animal-care practice on the Treasure Coast.
“I really liked the idea of doing farm calls,” says Dr. Wade, whose patients include goats, pigs, rabbits and sheep in addition to cats and dogs. “I see patients for annual wellness exams and vaccinations, various medical concerns and herd health examinations, among other things.”
She recently worked on a great horned owl whose injuries required the removal of its eye.
“The great horned owl is doing wonderfully,” she says. “It was very sad because owls rely so much on their eyes, but she will hopefully be released back into the wild.”
The 29-year-old University of Florida graduate knew she wanted to be a vet at a young age. Growing up in West Palm Beach, she kept a variety of creatures at home, including a chicken named Jojo.
In college, Dr. Wade could not decide whether to specialize in large or small animals, so she studied both.
“I still couldn’t pick one,” she says.
After graduating, she became a mobile, mixed-animal vet and now drives around town in her supply-stocked Ford F-150.
“Instead of the hassle of loading your pets and taking them into a clinic, everything is done in the comfort of home or on the farm,” she says. “The stress that you see in animals in an office visit is usually not present. That’s part of the reason I love doing this so much, because I get to be with the animals in their own environment.”
How does your bachelor’s degree in wildlife ecology and conservation help you as a veterinarian?
It instilled in me the value of wildlife and their habitats and how I can help promote the conservation of those species and our natural resources. It also helped me better understand the importance and power of observation, which I use every single day. I may look like I’m simply petting an animal or talking with an owner, but I am really soaking in every detail I can about my patients and their environment to better care for them.
There is never a dull moment. I have had the opportunity to work with a Florida panther, showed clients how to do physical therapy on a baby peacock with limb paralysis and treated a famous feline you might have seen in TV commercials before.
Have you ever been injured treating one of your patients?
Thankfully, I have never been seriously injured while treating an animal, but we always have to be careful in this line of work. There have been lots of scrapes, bruises and sore muscles, though.
As a fourth-generation Floridian, you must have lots of extended family in the area.
Yes, I am very fortunate to have my big extended family. They have taught me that you should never take life too seriously and that everyone is welcome (we’ve had our Publix bagger at Thanksgiving more than once).