Peter Wedderburn is one of the top three online veterinary influencers in the UK.
He’s a columnist for the Daily Telegraph, while Pete is well-known on the Irish media scene for his regular slots on TV3’s Ireland AM, the Pat Kenny Show and East Coast Radio.
Aptly known as Pete the Vet, his 4-veterinarian companion animal practice has been flourishing in Bray, County Wicklow, in Ireland since 1991.
With dogs, cats, ducks and hens at home, Pete is an advocate for the welfare of animals in the Republic of Ireland, the UK and across the world.
We spoke to Pete to learn more about his path into the veterinary world, his work in the media to increase awareness around animal welfare and his award-winning blog.
1) What interested you in the veterinary profession or did you have a eureka moment when you knew this was the job for you?
I seemed to be born with the desire to be a vet. By the age of four, I wanted to own a pet shop, and by the time I was five, I had changed my mind and decided that I wanted to be a vet. The more that I learned about the job as I grew older, the more I wanted to do it. The books written by James Herriot about his life as a vet helped to convince me even more that this was my calling.
2)What is the hardest aspect of the job?
Euthanasia of pets. This includes witnessing so much deep grief that it can be very demanding, and some days a vet may need to euthanasia two or three pets, one after the other. I have always found this emotionally very challenging even when I know it is in the best interest of the ailing animal.
3)What advice would you give to yourself starting off as a qualified vet in 1985?
Do the type of work that you find most engaging, most enjoyable and most fulfilling.
4)What’s been the most rewarding experience of your veterinary career so far?
Setting up and running my own vet clinic. This has allowed me to offer the type of care to pets that I feel is the optimal care, delivered in the best possible way.
5)Is this job better suited for someone with a specific type of personality?
It is difficult to know. You need to like animals, but you also need to like people. You should not be prone to worrying too much (otherwise you will worry deeply about every case), and you should be keen to learn new information, as there is so much new being discovered all the time about animal health and disease.
6) What motivates you to get in front of the camera or microphone to discuss animal issues?
I have an inborn mission to try to improve the world in whatever ways I can, and this makes me highly motivated to do all that I can to spread good quality information about pets. The best way to do this is to use the media which is why I am so happy to be involved.
7) What’s the most enjoyable aspect of writing Pete The Vet blog (apart from winning an award in 2018!)?
The internet has taken over from traditional media when it comes to mass communication, and that is why I am so keen to be involved in my blog and in social media.
8) What issue in the animal world would you like to see addressed in 2019?
I am appalled at the intensive pig industry’s evasion of the law by continuing to dock pigs’ tails, even though European legislation says that this should not be done routinely. The public do not realize this, and I would like free range bacon to be widely available in supermarkets to give people an alternative option to intensive bacon.
Where to find Pete the Vet: