Kate Heatherton


Hometown: Plattsburgh, NY

Age: 43

Education: Union College, Ross University in St. Kitts/Texas A&M

Community Involvement: Northern New York Veterinary Medical Society president, 4-H

Kate Heatherton grew up in Plattsburgh, attended college in Schenectady and then left the country to attend veterinary school in the Caribbean. With her diploma in hand she returned to New York in 2004 to find an opportunity with a veterinary practice in Saratoga Springs. Two years later she found her way back home again to work for Dr. George Palmer, practicing small animal medicine and doing surgeries.

Who are your favorite influencers?

My parents continue to be very positive influences in my life and my grandmother’s strength and determination continues to amaze and inspire me.

What is the single most important characteristic for success?

I’m frequently asked this question by our middle school job shadows. I tell them that I feel being an effective communicator is extremely important in this field. So much of my job is talking to people (owners, coworkers and specialists). These conversations can be personal and often sensitive. It can be emotionally exhausting at times, but our clients really appreciate the extra time and effort spent with them.

What are you doing to make a difference in your profession?

I mentor students who are interested in veterinary medicine. Some are middle school age kids just getting their feet wet, and others are college/veterinary students completing externship requirements. This job is definitely not all puppies and kittens and I want students to be aware of the challenges that can lie ahead.

What is your dream job?

I already have my dream job, which is being a mother. But I am also really interested in epidemiology, and have always thought it would be fun to work at the Center for Disease Control.

What important lesson have you learned in your career?

The most important lesson I have learned is to really listen to people. Our clients know their pets best, and I am amazed by how in tune to their animals they are. Their information is so valuable in making an accurate diagnosis since the pets cannot tell us what is wrong.

What is the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?

The biggest risk I have taken was to leave the country to attend veterinary school. I moved to St. Kitts in 2000 knowing it was, essentially, a third world country. That truly was an eye opening and amazing experience.