DAFVM Spotlight Employee: Katie Cooley-Locke

Katie Cooley-Locke

When Katie Cooley-Locke was a veterinary medical student, she faced a hardship that would shape her life: Her dog was diagnosed with cancer. Enduring her pet’s disease inspired her to pursue a position as an internal medicine resident in the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Cooley-Locke performs a variety of tasks, from overseeing clinical cases to working hand in hand with clients. She gives classroom lectures on hematology and other topics, but she also advises 10 students on rotation in the CVM.

“We’re a teaching hospital, so everything is a new experience for students and for us,” Cooley-Locke said.

One aspect of being a teaching hospital is accepting patients with advanced illnesses so that students benefit from the opportunity to give life-saving medical care to real pets.

“People come to us knowing that their animal has a severe disease like cancer, and knowing that we’re their last chance to recover,” Cooley-Locke said. “And it’s nice to help an animal survive and get home to its owners, because that’s rare.”

When an animal does overcome a disease like cancer, Cooley-Locke and her colleagues throw a celebration for its owners.

“We do balloons, flowers and decorations to show that their pet is not only in remission, but they’ve also survived a round of chemo,” Cooley-Locke said. “We approach chemo very differently than doctors do for humans, so it often surprises owners how good their pet feels. Our When Cooley-Locke is not teaching students or saving lives, she can be found helping with Homeward Bound, a shelter program that helps local pets find “forever homes.”

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