As many of you know, I recently visited New Mexico and spent a good portion of my time in Albuquerque. I am a graduate of UNM and love the city, so I like to spend time there.
When I first started Floppycats, I was introduced to Emily Walker, DVM, owner and operator the Albuquerque Cat Clinic, through a reader who just loved her. The reader had recently moved from Albuquerque to the Southeastern USA and was talking about how much she had wished she could have taken Dr. Walker with her.
So, I reached out to Dr. Walker and interviewed her for the site in 2010.
This time, around, however, I asked Dr. Walker if I could come and visit her place and sit down and speak to her (secretly, I'd love to live in New Mexico some day and one of the first things to consider will be healthcare for Charlie and Trigg) and also, I am all for feline focused cat clinics. I all too often hear complaints from cat owners about all encompassing vets that make the wrong diagnosis because they really don't know cats well or that the cat was so stressed out because of all the dog barking.
Dr. Walker showed me through the clinic as well as the back room. She introduced me to her support staff and to Dr. Glenn Olah. Dr. Olah is the other vet at the Albuquerque Cat Clinic and joined the practice in 2012. After meeting the rest of the staff, Dr. Walker brought me into her office to have a chat. I felt very comfortable in Dr. Walker's presence and liked her personality and general approach as a business woman and as a vet (this is to say - I liked what she had to say - I don't really know her as a vet because my cats weren't seen as patients). I almost forgot to mention that the clinic was spotless - very, very clean.
Dr. Walker started her vet career at a high volume clinic in Oklahoma, but was frustrated with the standard of care.
She decided to open her own clinic in 2005 because she wanted to get feline focused and offer the best in feline health care. The original Albuquerque Cat Clinic resided in the same space as it does now, but it was half the size. When a next door business closed, Dr. Walker expanded the clinic to the size it is now - with three examination rooms (included herein are photos of one of the rooms. I so love the examination pedestal that Dr. Walker designed!).
To cover the cost of opening her own clinic, Dr. Walker also worked at an Emergency Vet in Santa Fe (about 45 minutes from Albuquerque) for the first three years - working long days and nights to follow her dream of providing the best feline health care. If that's not dedication, I don't know what is. Not to mention, I wouldn't mind my vet having the knowledge and expertise that an Emergency Vet situation can bring.
Dr. Walker recommends two visits a year to the vet for kitties over 7 years of age (same as my vet).
I was lucky enough to watch a routine dental be performed on a Bengal kitty while I was there - I was impressed with Dr. Walker's up-to-date equipment and digital record keeping. Dr. Walker needed to do a tooth extraction on said kitty and mentioned how very important it is that x-rays be done BEFORE and AFTER a dental with an extraction. The reason? Dr. Walker has seen so many kitties come in with horrible infections because a kitty had an extraction and the roots hadn't been fully removed. Which only causes incredible pain for a kitty and more expense for the owner.
Speaking of expense, I did ask Dr. walker what were some of her biggest struggles as a business owner. She talked about having a huge amount of overhead and always needing to justify her costs. She talked about the importance of having a support staff with surgery experience to make sure the kitties are safe - and all of that costs money. As someone that owns my own business, I can totally understand (even though I have never operated a retail location) this struggle.
The Albuquerque Cat Clinic has achieved the Gold Standard for a feline friendly Practice from the American Board of Feline Practitioners. The Gold Standard is the highest level that can be achieved.
Dr. Walker is owned by two cats - Scotchie, a flame point domestic shorthair who is two years old and one of the loves of her life, Lucky, who is 15 years old.