Member Spotlight: Get To Know Dr. Cate McManus, CAWA

Catch this convo that covers everything from taking the CAWA exam and chatty, feathered dinosaurs to the advanced surgical feats that shelter veterinarians are undertaking these days.

Name: Cate McManus, VMD, MPH, DACVPM, CAWA
Member of The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement since: 2012
Title & Organization(s): 
Veterinarian, A.L. Shilling Spay & Neuter Clinic
Adds Dr. McManus, “To keep my hand in the shelter world—my true calling—I am also working with Fredericksburg SPCA and Goochland County Animal Protection.”

Q&A with Dr. Cate McManus, CAWA

The Association: Describe yourself in 3 words. 
Dr. Cate McManus: Compassion, integrity and service. I am pretty confident about my compassion for animals, but I am still a work in progress on the compassion for all people as well as myself part. That takes more thought work.

The Association: What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in shelter medicine since you started? 
Dr. Cate McManus: I have only been in shelter medicine for about 12 years. The biggest change I have seen is advanced surgical initiatives in the shelter environment.  Veterinarians are placing fish skins on burns, pulling heartworms out of pulmonary arteries, fixing diaphragmatic hernias, etc. in the shelter environment! The fact that they try, and then make it happen with the resources (staff, equipment, etc.) they have is amazing. 

The second biggest change is improved animal handling, and pharmaceutical intervention to assist with behavior modification. The fact that so many shelter vets are on board with Fear Free handling and pharmaceutical intervention gives me relief that we are doing our best by the animals in our care. We really set the example in the shelter environment, so by embracing the Fear Free initiative, we have taught and reinforced to our teams that humane handling is the proper way to care for these animals, even if it takes more time. 

The Association: You must have treated so many shelter animals throughout those 12 years. Are there any in particular who made a huge impact on you, or who remain in your heart? 
Dr. Cate McManus: Two of the highlights of my career so far have been saving a dog who suffered from heat stroke with a temperature of 109 degrees, and treating and curing an FIP kitten, in foster care. 

The Association: Do you have advice for those studying for the CAWA exam? 
Dr. Cate McManus: My advice for studying for the exam is refer to the recommended reading guidelines. I honed in on the chapters highlighted, and really focused on the topics I was weak in, like not-for-profits and boards. 

The Association: What’s the last book you read?  
Dr. Cate McManus: I read multiple books at once over a very long period. I think I have about ten on my nightstand. They all have been started within the last year or two. Soon I hope to finish The New Jim CrowWhite FragilityOrder from Chaos; Fevers, Feuds, and Diamonds, and Do Nothing.

The Association: What’s one thing you’ve done to stay healthy and resilient this past year? 
Dr. Cate McManus: The one thing I did for my sanity this year was adopt two steers and a turkey. It has been a dream for decades to have some land and pet bovines, so the pandemic “pushed” me to make it happen. I am still waiting for a Holstein, my dream cow, but my current boys are great. And if you have never felt the love of a turkey, you are missing out. You cannot be upset or sad when you spend time with a chatty, feathered dinosaur. 

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The Association is the only international society of leaders actively leading and managing community animal shelters/animal control agencies.


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