Growing up, Chris Carmichael could not have most pets due to his father and brother’s severe allergies, but he was not discouraged and decided as a young teenager to pursue a career in caring for animals.
Carmichael and his wife, Lauren, also a veterinarian, own and operate Highland Pointe Animal Hospital in Highland Village.
The two were working as emergency veterinarians before buying the practice, formerly Dr. Doolittle’s Animal Hospital, in January 2015 from its previous owner.
Highland Pointe Animal Hospital is accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association—meaning it has passed the highest standards of animal care set by the AAHA.
The hospital offers basic wellness care, surgeries, vaccinations, dentistry work, examinations and more as it is a full-service hospital primarily serving cats and dogs. It also offers preventive and therapeutic care for aging dogs and cats.
Carmichael said he and his wife went into the field to help animals.
“It’s certainly rewarding,” he said. “For us, until they’re through with the recovery phase [after surgery]we lose sleep. You worry about them like you worry about your own pet.”
Every day at work is different, he said, just as the animals are different.
“They have their own personalities, even different dogs in the same breed.” he said.
Most people take their pets to veterinarians for vaccinations and booster shots; however, scheduling regular checkups to do blood work, teeth cleaning and other procedures is recommended for optimal health—just like for people, Carmichael said. Often, unless owners notice something physically wrong, they do not bring pets into the hospital, he said.
“That’s how a lot of things creep up health-wise, especially with cats,” he said. “Cats, they’re much closer [than dogs]to their [primitive nature], and so their instinct is to hide illness. They will hide until they are really sick.”
The biggest misconception about cats is that if they live indoors they do not need heartworm-, tick- and flea-prevention treatments, he said.
“Fleas will get in your house, and heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes,” he said. “People don’t know that, so we try to do our best to educate people.”
Carmichael said owning his own practice is different from working in emergency medicine because it allows him and his wife to get to know more of the animals they are helping as owners bring them in more regularly.
“I can see a dog walking on the street and probably know whose dog it is,” he said. “It’s nice to be able to know these people. … It’s almost like we feel much more like family to a lot of these people.”