VSA Career Stories - Dr Izzy McEwan - Veterinary Specialists Aotearoa | Veterinary Specialist and Animal Referral Services in NZ with 3 specialist animal hospitals in Auckland and Christchurch


At VSA, we are extremely passionate about the care of our patients and their families, and just as passionate about looking after our team. 

Working at VSA means being a part of the VSA family, a supportive and encouraging environment where your career aspirations can be achieved. We pride ourselves on our high level of standards and care and it is through supportive training from our experienced team members that we are able to develop our people. At VSA, we believe that every member of our team, whether they are clinical, admin or support staff, can achieve their career goals with us.

For the right people, there is nothing that can’t be achieved working at VSA. Our staff dream big, and with the right amount of hard work and determination are able to achieve any goal they set themselves. 

Dr Izzy MacEwan - Registered Vet at VSA - Veterinary Specialists Aotearoa

Dr Izzy McEwan

Izzy is a qualified Veterinarian and graduated with a Bachelor of Veterinary Science from Massey University in 2017.

Izzy always envisioned becoming a Vet as being a doctor for animals and wanted to provide a level of care that matches what human hospitals provide for their patients. 

She joined VSA in 2019 and has been in her role as Emergency Vet ever since. Exciting changes are happening in 2022 for Izzy as she joins our VSA/ Zoetis Veterinary Intern Programme and starts her journey towards specialising in Diagnostic Imaging.  

We asked Izzy a few questions about what it’s like to be a vet at VSA

Did you always want to work in the veterinary field? What other career ambitions did you have?

No! To be completely honest, I never thought I would be able to become a vet because I had always been quite squeamish with blood and guts! In high school I was leaning towards a physics or maths degree as I really enjoyed both of those topics. 

I had always loved animals and was a real science nerd so people were always telling me I should become a vet, however I didn’t like the idea of the gruesome bits. It was only after a dissection class in Biology that I realised that maybe I could do it.

Tell us a bit about how you qualified?

When researching how to qualify I found most of the information I needed through the Massey University website. I then travelled down to Palmerston North for their open day. I completed my ‘pre-vet’ semester at the Albany campus and lived at home during this time. It was nice to have the family support and not have to stress about moving to a new city. Once I was accepted I moved to Palmy where I lived for the next 5 and a half years, 4.5 for my degree and then worked there for another year. 

I really enjoyed my uni years and made lots of like-minded friends. In my first year of work I was also able to have my semi-retired pony and young thoroughbred to keep me busy.

What is it about the Veterinary Industry that you love?

I think the sheer diversity of careers that it opens you up to is amazing. Everyone finds their own niche and passion which often isn’t where they initially imagined it would be.

How did you learn about VSA and what was it that attracted you to our hospital?

My joining VSA was very serendipitous really. I knew of VSA through uni and had recommended to my mum that we get a referral to the Surgery Department for our older Weimaraner who had ruptured his cruciate ligament.  The specialist care was exactly what we wanted for Jagger as he hadn’t done well with his previous surgery and needed round-the-clock care post operatively.

Dr Alastair Coomer was Jagger’s surgeon and he spoke to me on the phone as I was still in Palmerston North at this time. My mum had mentioned to him that I was thinking of moving back up to Auckland and so he put me in touch with Dr Rosemary Price, who leads the A&E team.

Next thing I knew, I was a full time VS A&E Vet.

How has your career evolved in your time at VSA?

I have been an emergency vet for three years now. The first two were largely night shift based and this past 12 months has been a bit of a mix as A&E has progressed from and out of hours only service to a 24/7 hospital. 

I will be moving onto the next stage of my veterinary journey in February 2022, joining the VSA/ Zoetis Intern Programme. At the moment I am considering specialisation in Imaging and being able to spend a year in a focused internship is an amazing opportunity to truly determine if this is what I want to progress into.

What do you enjoy most about what you do? Describe a typical day

Work as an emergency vet is so varied. A typical day includes a mixture of looking after the specialist’s patients with post operative recovery and monitoring medical cases. I see new cases that may need admission for further work up and also consulting on everyday cases that just can’t get into their regular vet. 

I really enjoy being involved in the work up of complex cases, particularly if they need an ultrasound or CT.

What advice would you give to someone looking to be a vet ?

Spend as much time as you can seeing clinical practice, talking to vets and make sure you have researched the entry requirements, study and career prospect well. Being a veterinarian is extremely rewarding but it is just as much a ‘people’ job as it is about the animals. Vets have to be excellent communicators, often work long hours and deal with some very emotional situations. 

What would you say to encourage someone to think about career paths at VSA?

I have watched VSA grow exponentially in just the short time I have been here, into a multi-discipline hospital that caters to every aspect of veterinary care. This model allows each person to find their niche and progress within that area. Also the wealth of knowledge amongst all the staff here means there won’t be a single day that you don’t learn something new!

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