Krystal Price is a staff veterinarian at Seattle Humane
When Krystal Price first started working in shelters, she fell in love with every animal that came through and wanted to adopt them all.
In the eight years leading up to the completion of her veterinary degree, Price did it all, from cleaning kennels to processing adoptions. Price worked as a vet in private-practice clinics in her hometown of Pittsburgh, followed by New Orleans, before landing a staff veterinarian position at the Bellevue-based Seattle Humane.
“At this shelter in particular, I love being able to treat a lot of medical conditions,” she said. “A lot of shelters aren’t as fortunate as us, where they can’t treat diabetics or really advanced cases. We treat everything from kidney disease to hyperthyroidism.”
A good percentage of the animals that come through the shelter need medical attention, whether it’s a pre-existing condition or stress-induced symptoms from being at the shelters, she said. And all of the animals are examined by veterinarian technicians before being adopted.
Price has seen some pretty heartbreaking cases, but one that sticks out is that of her own dog, Finley. He was only a few months old when his owner surrendered him because she couldn’t afford the surgery to have two rocks removed from his intestines. Price performed the procedure and fell in love with the sweet Weimaraner puppy. Finley is a little over a year old now and full of energy.
This month, Seattle Humane is celebrating the grand opening of its expansive new building next door to its current location. It was a $30 million project that’s been in the works for about a decade. The shelter processes roughly 7,000 adoptions annually and is aiming to increase that number to 10,000. And the clinic space is much larger, Price said. The former footprint could fit into just one room of the multistory building.
Price said the Northwest has captured her heart — and she fits right in with Washington’s outdoor-loving residents. In her off-time, she likes to explore while hiking around the Pacific Northwest. Bridal Veil Falls and Lake Serene are her recent favorites.
My day starts with a trip to dog daycare to drop off my dog, Finley. Being a young dog, he needs to get his energy out while I am working all day.
First thing when I arrive at work, I examine all of our hospitalized patients to plan their treatment for the rest of the day.
Every morning, the staff meets for daily rounds. This is an hour-long trip through the entire shelter to look at every animal and plan for its pathway through the shelter.
Sometimes on rounds, I get a moment to say hello to some of my favorite patients.
Surgery is next up for my morning. Surgeries can range from spay/neuter to mass removals and eye surgeries.
We finish the morning surgeries with our dental procedures. It’s a routine procedure, and we usually have at least one a day, sometimes more.
Time for exams — pets on campus and in foster care that have medical concerns are examined by a veterinarian.
I perform an ultrasound on a foster pet’s kidneys after another doctor noted the cat had a palpably enlarged kidney. The cat’s kidney was slightly over the normal range.
Even more on-campus exams. We are looking for a spay scar to determine if she was spayed prior to coming to us. We didn’t find one, so we’re scheduling her for surgery.
It’s been a long day and I’ve seen a lot of pets, so I wrap things up by making medical notes for all of the animals I examined today.
I’m currently working on obtaining my shelter medicine master’s degree, so I grab a bite to eat while I dive into my homework.
After playing ball with my own dog, Finley is finally tuckered out. It’s time to relax and watch TV before bed.