Heroes of Animal Care Recount Challenges and Advantages of Profession

ASTANA – Veterinarians dedicate their lives to rescuing and treating animals, striving to provide the best possible care. Victoria Malakhova, a veterinarian from Kazakhstan, spoke to the Astana Times about the challenges of her profession and the most common mistakes pet owners make.

Victoria Malakhova. Photo credit: The Astana Times

Malakhova has 12 years of experience, starting as a junior nurse. Over time, she became a vet doctor, finding immense satisfaction in her work.

“I always dreamed of helping and saving lives. Unfortunately, my parents did not support this path and persuaded me to choose another profession. However, after graduation, I found myself at the clinic and started working as a junior nurse. I enjoyed the atmosphere here. I was not afraid of animals and loved caring for them,” she said.

Recognizing her dedication and passion for animals, the head of the clinic offered her the opportunity to pursue education in the veterinary field. After completing her studies, she joined the clinic as a vet doctor.

“As a veterinarian, my passion lies in treating and helping animals, just as someone needs to treat people,” she said.

Malakhova is preparing material for the vaccination procedure. Photo credit: The Astana Times

Malakhova said treating animals is more challenging than treating humans because they cannot communicate when it hurts. 

“The most demanding aspect of our profession is making accurate diagnoses, as the symptoms often overlap across several diseases, leading us to rely on personal experience. We gather clinical signs, medical history, and test results, and sometimes even hold consultations as a team to establish a diagnosis,” she said.

Malakhova emphasized that common animal diseases often result from improper nutrition and untimely vaccination, leading to infectious diseases, diarrhea, vomiting, and gastrointestinal problems. Proper vaccination and a well-balanced diet can help animals stay healthy.

“Unfortunately, some animals suffer from terminal illnesses, and it is best not to prolong their suffering in such cases. I remember every moment when I had to put an animal to sleep. It is not an easy decision, but it is made for the animal’s well-being,” Malakhova said. 

In her role, she frequently receives emergency calls, including at night.  

“We often rescue animals from the streets or respond to cases where we see sick animals online. We cannot ignore their suffering and take them in, perform necessary surgeries, and find them new homes,” Malakhova said.

In her opinion, challenges also arise when they need help finding common ground with pet owners, leading to disagreements.

“Sometimes owners attempt to self-treat their pets based on information online, only to bring the animal to us when it is already in a dire condition. When we explain that they sought help too late or did not vaccinate and feed their pets properly, some owners just do not want to listen to us and follow our recommendations,” she said. 

“I cannot turn away from helping any suffering animal, but I am powerless when owners do not want to trust us,” she added.

According to Malakhova, vet doctors should be kind and maintain emotional stability.

“To approach an aggressive animal, you need to earn its trust, which demands patience. Aside from receiving grateful feedback, the most heartfelt gratitude I experience is when a healed animal looks at you with appreciation in its eyes and offers a paw or licks your hand,” said Malakhova.

“Apart from dogs and cats, we receive other animals at our clinic, including parrots, hamsters, guinea pigs, turtles, chinchillas, and sometimes other exotic creatures. I have treated snakes and monkeys during my career,” she said.

Malakhova advocates for careful treatment and love for the animals, not abandoning them, vaccinating them on time, and providing proper care for their well-being.

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