Meet Mint Hill Animal Hospital's newest veterinarian (Reprinted with permission of the Mint Hill Times)
By Mary Beth Foster (The Mint Hill Times )
Dr. Katrina Jiamachello began working at Mint Hill Animal Hospital this January.
Mint Hill Animal Hospital welcomed Dr. Katrina Jiamachello to their practice this January.
Dr. Jiamachello grew up in Shelby, NC. She earned her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in May of 2016 from NC State, where she also studied zoology as an undergraduate.
Jiamachello has wanted to become a veterinarian for longer than she can remember. "It was so long ago," says Jiamachello. "I was even calling it the wrong name when I was a little kid. I thought it was a 'peterinarian.'" She began looking into the human medical field in high school and continued to consider general biology even as she began her studies of zoology at NC State.
It was Jiamachello's dog Dandy that convinced her a career in veterinary medicine was for her. Jiamachello raised Dandy, who was in training to become a seeing eye dog with Guiding Eyes for the Blind, from the age of nine weeks. Her work with Dandy was time-intensive, sometimes requiring over two hours a day spent working with him on things like exposure to new environments, different walking surfaces and loud noises.
Dr. Jiamachello's dog Dandy convinced her to go into veterinary medicine.
"Seeing the bond that formed between the two of us and the impact that an animal could have on someone's life – both the impact he had on me and also how guide dogs can provide so much independence and security for people who are blind – that really sealed the deal for me," says Jiamachello. When Dandy ultimately failed to be successful in several "working dog" programs, Jiamachello chose to adopt him permanently and knew she wanted to continue working with animals.
Jiamachello shadowed vets at Mint Hill Animal Hospital while she was in college and worked at the practice as a technical assistant one summer. "I had spent a lot of time there, and they practice really good medicine," says Jiamachello. However, after completing college, she wanted wanted to branch out and explored job possibilities in several other places. "I looked at several other places," she says, "but I kept comparing it to here and it kept winning."
Jiamachello loves the support and mentorship she receives at Mint Hill Animal Hospital. "There's a lot of well-experienced vets. Being in my first year, having some form of mentorship is really important," says Jiamachello. "You learn a lot in school. You have one year of clinics, and you see as many cases as you can, but that portion is only a year. I'm not through my first year yet, but I'm learning so much. I'm really happy to have other vets I can bounce ideas off of."
Jiamachello's work at Mint Hill Animal Hospital brings her into contact with a variety of general medical concerns. "I enjoy doing it all, really," she says, "but I'm pulled toward dermatology and surgery. I like those two things a lot." Here in North Carolina, she helps to treat many cases of allergic skin disease.
One of the biggest challenges Jiamachello has experienced so far as a vet is, curiously enough, working with people. "I've been learning a lot about how to manage supporting people. Going in you're like, "Oh, it's animals, you're working on animals,' but so much of what is animal medicine is also treating the people and caring for them through their animals in a sense," says Jiamachello. "Your animals are really important to you, and keeping them healthy is huge."
When Jiamachello is not at work, she enjoys long-distance biking, and even biked across the United States with Bike & Build, a nonprofit organization that works to raise money and awareness for affordable housing. Jiamachello is interested in pursuing more volunteer work as she settles into her life in Matthews.