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Dr. Malaika: A Compassionate Advocate for Animal Care and Well-being

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Table of content

Meet Dr. Malaika, a compassionate veterinarian whose lifelong passion for animals has shaped her remarkable journey in veterinary medicine. With a deep-rooted love for furry companions and a desire to make a meaningful difference in their lives, Dr. Malaika embarked on a path dedicated to providing exceptional care and advocating for their well-being. From her early encounters with kittens and cats to her experiences as a clinician and educator, Dr. Malaika's commitment to her patients and their devoted pet parents shines through. Join us as we gain insights from Dr. Malaika's wealth of knowledge and explore the world of veterinary medicine through the eyes of Dr. Malaika.

Dr. Malaika:
Hi! I’m Dr. Malaika, I was inspired to become a vet since I was little. it’s a little cliche and I think a lot of people say this but I have loved animals since I could remember. Whenever I would see kittens and cats when we were out, I would always want to pet them and pick them up. In addition to that, I have had pets all my life and my parents have always encouraged my love for animals. As I grew older, I knew that I wanted to be in a field where I could help animals and work with them. I then learned that I had two choices - either zoology or veterinary. I then decided to become a vet when I realised that I would be able to treat animals and that was what inspired me to become a veterinarian.

What does being a vet mean to you?

Dr. Malaika:
It's the culmination of my lifelong passion for animals and the ability to turn that passion into a meaningful profession. We also often see strays that are neglected and who need attention, knowing that I am a vet and that I can make a difference to their lives by providing medical care and rehabilitation. Being able to do all that and helping those in need, there is definitely a sense of satisfaction.

What do you consider the most rewarding experience that you have had as a vet?

Dr. Malaika:
It’s hard to pinpoint one specific occasion or situation but for me, there are two prongs; since I have been in the academic line for a while, I think there is a lot of satisfaction in seeing your students excel after you do your best to teach them. On another hand, as a clinician, for example, recently I was handling a case where I have been seeing this cat for months. Its condition was stable but his health suddenly took a turn and because I have been seeing this patient for months, I have become attached. When I saw him in that condition, I was devastated and I thought I was going to lose him. But, miraculously, he pulled through. These were the kind of instances where I realised that I should never give up and to just do whatever it takes, go the extra mile because you never know - you just might be able to save a life. And once you do, that sense of relief and gratitude, that is very rewarding.

That all sounds great! On the flip side, could you share a stressful event that you had to go through as a vet?

Dr. Malaika:
One particular situation that stands out is when a patient's condition worsens despite our best efforts to provide care. It's incredibly challenging and distressing to witness a patient's health deteriorate despite our extensive medical knowledge and dedicated treatments. Not only does it cause immense stress for the veterinary team, but it also weighs heavily on the pet parents who are emotionally invested in their furry companions' well-being. Communicating with upset and angry pet parents during these difficult times adds an extra layer of emotional burden. 

Building upon that, how do you communicate with distressed pet owners?

Dr. Malaika:
First and foremost, empathy. Secondly, putting myself in their shoes. Pet parents with sick pets are going through a very hard time, we have to understand that their pets are like children to them. It is only natural for them to be aggravated, frustrated and angry when it comes to their pets falling sick. But, I have learned that empathy goes a long way when communicating with upset pet parents. Trying to understand how they are feeling as well as explaining what steps you are taking to treat their pet helps tremendously. I think those are the most important when communicating with distressed pet owners.

What is your perspective on pet insurance?

Dr. Malaika:
I believe pet insurance is a fantastic resource, and its availability in Malaysia is a positive development. Veterinary bills can often be expensive, making it challenging for some pet owners to afford necessary care. Pet insurance provides a solution by making veterinary care more accessible, allowing pet owners to provide better care for their pets.

With the availability of insurance, pet owners are more likely to proceed with recommended diagnostic workups and treatments. This leads to better outcomes as veterinarians can conduct thorough examinations and implement appropriate treatment plans. In turn, the field of veterinary medicine has advanced significantly, with parallel progress to human medicine.

Pet insurance has facilitated the accessibility of veterinary care, enabling veterinarians to provide a higher level of service and push the boundaries of veterinary medicine. It has played a crucial role in the progression of small animal medicine and has positively impacted the well-being of pets.

Overall, pet insurance has been instrumental in making veterinary care more affordable and allowing veterinarians to deliver advanced and comprehensive care, elevating the field of veterinary medicine.

What is one message that you would like to give pet owners in Malaysia?

Dr. Malaika:
One message I would like to convey to pet owners in Malaysia is the importance of prevention over cure. It is crucial to start early with routine checkups, regular veterinary visits, and preventive care measures. By staying ahead of potential health issues, you can address them early on and provide appropriate treatments or interventions. Investing in preventive measures and maintaining a proactive approach to your pet's health can significantly enhance their overall well-being and quality of life. Remember, prevention is key, and it is far easier and more beneficial to prevent diseases than to treat them once they have already taken hold.

By prioritizing preventive care for your pets, you can ensure they live long, happy, and healthy lives by your side.

Lastly, to wrap things up, what is your favourite animal?

Dr. Malaika:
My favorite animal is the cat. Whether it's domestic cats or majestic big cats like tigers. However, horses hold a special place in my heart as well. I used to ride horses when I was younger until I was bitten by a horse twice. Cats remain at the top of my list, followed closely by horses!