Dr. Kelly Barratt graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College in 2005. She currently works as a large animal veterinarian and is a part owner of Heartland Veterinary Services, a 16 doctor mixed animal practice in Southwestern Ontario. Kelly is the past-President of the Ontario Assoc. of Bovine Practitioners and also sits on the board of directors for the Canadian Assoc. of Bovine Veterinarians. Areas of interest in include milk quality, dairy herd health, small ruminants and exploring non-traditional roles for practising veterinarians. In early 2015 Kelly began working half time for the Dairy Farmers of Ontario as an Assurance Programs Analyst specifically to assist with the implementation of the proAction program in Ontario. Outside of work Kelly enjoys travelling with her husband and competing in dressage with her horses. Recently Kelly was recognized as one of Vance Publishings “Top 40 Under 40” young leaders in agriculture in North America.

What are some of the biggest changes you have seen in food-animal veterinary practice during your career?

The biggest change I have seen in food animal vet practice since graduating 10 years ago is the use of technology - specifically my iPhone. When I graduated I was given a truck with a 2 way radio in it and a binder of township maps with lots and concessions. I didn’t even own a cell phone at the time! I used the call sign “Car 1” to communicate with my clinic receptionist after every call to find out where the next farm call was and how to get there. Today I use text messaging to communicate and Google Maps to find the short cut. I think the use of this portable technology has really helped farm vets with their day to day efficiency and communication. It has also opened the door for discussion and interaction on a much larger scale. I use social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat and Facebook to connect with vets from around the world, local clients, future vets and the general public.     

If you could take urban consumers to visit a farm, what are the first things you would show them or tell them?

The first thing I would show them is the animals - because after all, who doesn’t love a baby calf or a cow looking for a scratch? I would explain how important it is that the animals are kept clean, comfortable, well fed and healthy. Without healthy animals, the farmer will not enjoy his or her work and the animals will not be as productive. I want consumers to know how much farmers care about the well being of their stock and the role that veterinarians play in helping them achieve this.

The next thing I would show them is the farm office. In Canada every dairy farm is required to follow the Canadian Quality Milk program which requires standard operating procedures, health records and documentation of all the happenings on the farm that could impact food safety. I want consumers to know how diligently farmers and vets work to ensure that only the safest, most nutritious products reach their plates.

Find Dr. Barratt and Heartland on Twitter at @BarrattKelly and @Heartland_Vets.

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