Women in Veterinary Medicine – Part 4 (An Emergency Vet)

Dr. MargaretFor part 4 of our Expanding Girls’ Horizons in Science and Engineering series, we will focus on Dr. Margaret Trumble, an emergency vet who oversees Metairie Small Animal Hospital’s emergency services.

Many of our regular clients are familiar with our daytime veterinary services, but did you know that MSAH has a veterinarian on staff 24-hours a day, including weekends and holidays when most veterinary clinics are closed? Dr. Margaret Trumble has been working at MSAH for 9 years and she enjoys emergency medicine because of the surprises and challenges that it presents. “You always have to think on your toes,” said Dr. Margaret. “You never know what’s going to come in, so you have to be prepared for anything.”

Growing up, Dr. Margaret was surrounded by successful women, and was raised by a single mother who worked in research medicine. She always knew she wanted to pursue a career in medicine, as it combined her interest in math and science; however, she didn’t realize her path would lead her to a career in veterinary medicine. In college, she studied Latin and Biology, which she then taught at Ursuline Academy.

It wasn’t until she and her roommate adopted a cat that she considered pursuing a career in veterinary medicine. When they took the cat to the clinic for vaccinations, Dr. Margaret took the opportunity to ask the veterinarian about his career. His biggest advice was for her to get involved in the profession as quickly as possible. She heeded the advice and immersed herself in the animal world by working as an assistant at MSAH, volunteering with a nature center, and spending time at a friend’s farm working with different types of animals. Because there are so many aspects of veterinary medicine, it was important for her to see what parts of it that she was the most attracted to. Since she was teaching at the time, the evening and weekend hours were the most convenient for her to get experience in the field. That led to her seeing more emergency cases at the hospital where she had the opportunity to work hands-on, assisting the veterinarians with treating many types of cases.

Dr. Margaret attended veterinary school at LSU, and after graduation worked as an emergency vet in Florida for two years. When she moved back to her hometown of New Orleans, the experience of practicing emergency medicine and working night shifts made the transition to MSAH’s emergency practice a logical one.

Dr. Margaret Trumble in surgery.It was the variety that attracted Dr. Margaret to practicing emergency medicine. One of the most memorable cases that she treated involved an injured police dog. The dog went through barbed wire while pursuing a suspect. It wasn’t just the treatment of the injuries that made the case interesting. “It was unique to see the bond that the officer and his dog shared,” she said. “I had never worked with a service animal like that before.”

Trauma, including lacerations and hit-by-car cases, are the most common emergency situations that Dr. Margaret treats. Illnesses that manifest quickly are also routinely treated during emergency hours. These patients can be hospitalized for a few days while diagnostic testing is performed and a successful treatment plan put together. Animals are frequently brought in during emergency hours by good Samaritans and rescue groups. Working with these cases requires a different set of skills than treating routine patients. “As veterinarians, we are taking care of the pets AND the people caring for the pets,” said Dr. Margaret. “We interact as much with the clients as the patients.”

Dr. Margaret splits emergency shifts with MSAH’s other emergency vet, Dr. Billie Barrett, working 7 nights in a row followed by 7 nights off. When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with her husband and pets, an English Bulldog named Omar and a domestic shorthair cat named Wahoo. She also enjoys traveling, fishing and sailing, and going to Baton Rouge for LSU football games.

Hopefully, you won’t need to utilize MSAH’s emergency services, but you can rest easy knowing that Dr. Margaret and the rest of our highly trained emergency team are here to treat your pet whatever time of the night. Visit our website to learn more about our emergency vets and services.