Dr. Sarah Kuhlo loves taking care of animals, big and small
Here’s something that won’t surprise you much: Banfield’s Dr. Sarah Kuhlo, DVM RDCS, really likes animals. Dogs, cats, horses… definitely horses. A graduate of the University of Tennessee veterinary program, Dr. Kuhlo also completed an internship at Tennessee Equine Hospital. She’s now chief of staff at Banfield’s Madison, Tennessee location. We spoke with her recently about her career path, work philosophies, and hobbies. Fun fact: Her last name is pronounced “Q-Lo,” and she tells her clients, “It’s like J Lo but with a Q!”
What inspired you to get into veterinary medicine?
I’ve had a passion for animals since I was a little girl, as most veterinarians do. I would always tell my mom to go the back, back way so I could see horses on my way to school in the morning. I always knew I wanted to take care of animals and also help people. The human-animal bond is very important and I love being able to nurture that for both pets and clients.
I thought I was going to be a horse vet, but I figured out pretty quickly that I didn’t want to do large animal medicine and be on call 24/7. I decided to focus more on the small animal side and finally joined Banfield, where I found my happiness and my career.
Did you have mentors who supported your passion?
Oh yes, I had two really good ones. One of them was Dr. Mike Morgan. He was my family veterinarian and he really encouraged me in veterinary school to not just focus on the large animals, so I could explore every option I had. And then there was Dr. Siverio, who inspired me before I even got into veterinary school. She was a travelling veterinarian and did ultrasounds and surgery. She encouraged me to go to ultrasound school first and use that as a stepping stone to get to vet school and so that’s what I did. I got my certificate in ultrasound and worked on humans and then I worked my way through undergrad and got into vet school.
What is your philosophy about working with people and their animals and building those relationships?
You have to have that veterinarian-client-patient relationship, so just getting to know my clients and talking to them: “How are you doing? What’s going on with your life?” You try to touch base with them on their lives and then incorporate that with what’s going on with their pet. Having that open line of communication with your clients is important.
What do you do when you’re not working?
I told my husband we couldn’t have a child until I had a barn, so we got our farm in 2015, and I had my daughter in 2016. We have a lovely eight-acre farm and I have four horses that I love to play with, and my two dogs. We do a lot of farm work. We go hiking. My husband does photography on the side and sometimes I help him with that, but most days are spent playing with the horses.
What might you be doing if you weren’t a veterinarian?
I always said if I didn’t make it in veterinary medicine I would go back and become a veterinary radiologist because I love radiology and ultrasound so much. That’s probably what I would do so I could sit in an office and read radiographs and still be happy.