An Interview with Dr. Mike McMenomy
Dr. Mike McMenomy at the MVMA Annual Convention in 2010
Dr. Mike McMenomy, class of 1969, has practiced at the Kitty Klinic in Minneapolis for 41 years. He was president of the Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association in 2010. A resident of St. Paul, Minnesota, he and his wife, Dianne, have five grown children. In his leisure time, he enjoys outdoor activities such as hunting, fishing, and working on the McMenomy family farm in Rosemount.
Born and raised
St. Paul, Minnesota
How is the College different today from when you were a student?
The facilities are much better, of course, but the most obvious difference is in the proportion of men to women. When I was a student, our class had 58 guys and one woman, Sharon Wachs. And we had only one female instructor, Bee Hanlon. Now, about 85 percent of the students are women.
When did you first know you wanted to be a veterinarian?
Well, I always liked animals, and I really enjoyed spending time on my family’s dairy farm in Rosemount – getting out in the country and milking cows. Then in high school, I took an aptitude test that indicated that I would do well in veterinary medicine or mortuary science. I chose veterinary medicine.
What was your first veterinary job after you graduated?
I joined a small animal practice in St. Petersburg, Florida.
What made you decide to join the Kitty Klinic? Did you always like cats?
Actually, feline medicine was not part of my plan when I graduated; I had never even owned a cat! Lee McDonald, a friend and fellow member of the class of 1969, opened Kitty Klinic after he graduated – with plans to start a national chain of Kitty Klinics. But shortly thereafter, Lee was diagnosed with malignant melanoma. He wasn’t doing well, and he called to ask if I would come help him out. He died about a year later. So I came to Kitty Klinic to help out a friend 39 years ago, discovered that I enjoyed it, and have been there ever since.
What three qualities do you think are most important in a veterinarian?
You should love animals, love people, and have a positive personality. It has to be something you enjoy.
If you had to choose one feline health issue that needs more research, what would it be?
Aortic thrombosis, an emergency condition in which a clot breaks loose from the heart and lodges where the aorta divides to supply blood to the rear legs. It causes pain and paralysis in the hind legs. It’s really tragic, because the prognosis is very poor and we have very few options for treatment or prevention.
What do you enjoy most about being a veterinarian?
The educational component – the fact that we’re always learning new things. We’ve seen great progress with some diseases that we could do little or nothing for in the past, such a urinary tract problems and feline leukemia – which we now have a vaccine for. You don’t get bored!
As a Minnesota veterinarian, I’m also grateful to have a great resource like the University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center, which enables me to offer my clients the absolute best in veterinary care. It’s so comforting to know I can send difficult cases to the VMC to get the treatment they need; It’s like an extension of my own practice. The VMC is a tremendous asset to the veterinary community.
What are your goals as MVMA president and for the organization?
It is an honor to serve such a great organization. We have an excellent staff in the home office and a board of directors that truly represents a cross section of our profession from all across the state of Minnesota. My role is to serve our members as best I can, to be open to their concerns and suggestions, and respond to them in a timely manner.
What advice would you give current veterinary students?
Enjoy college as best you can. You are preparing to enter a tremendous profession which has so much to offer, and you have so much to offer it. I would encourage you to keep an open mind on what area of veterinary medicine you will eventually end up in. It is amazing how often it changes.With modern technology, the world is just a computer mouse-click away. No generation has ever had the potential to do so much good for mankind. I challenge you to take that opportunity to reach out to the far corners of the world and use your knowledge and expertise to be a source of information that will make our world a better place. For example, the student chapter of AVMA could become a sister chapter to a veterinary college somewhere in Africa. Or consider becoming a Facebook fan of a Peace Corps volunteer in a remote part of the world. Wow! What opportunities. What challenges. What fun.