Editor’s Note: Elizabeth Hodgkins is responsible for overseeing the veterinary services managers who provide technical support to Ceva Animal Health’s sales and marketing groups nationwide. She is an accomplished veterinarian, attorney, author, expert and media spokesperson who has served in both a technical and public outreach role for veterinary companies in pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, pet insurance and pet foods. She has conducted dozens of trade and consumer media interviews on a variety of topics and key issues of concern to both veterinarians and pet owners. She is a member of the American Association of Feline Practitioners and the Southern California Veterinary Medical Association.
- You’ve had so many interesting roles in veterinary medicine. Can you tell us how you first got interested in veterinary medicine?
Like so many young girls, I was animal crazy as a youngster. I kept everything from seahorses to Quarter horses (and most critters in between) as pets when I was a child and don’t remember ever wanting any other career.
- You not only have a veterinary degree, but you have a law degree as well. What inspired you to go back and get a law degree?
I was in mid-career when I made this decision and I think I was just getting professionally restless at that point in my life. Having a midlife crisis, so to speak. After weighing all my options, I decided that getting another graduate degree was a more sensible choice than the little red sports car I had my eye on!
- How do you use your law degree today?
A sturdy knowledge of the law, and legal thinking processes, is an excellent foundation for so many activities of modern, everyday life. I find that legal considerations touch just about every activity of my lifestyle, from my work with Ceva to the way I deal with my credit card companies. Someone once said that a legal education is the last great liberal arts degree, and I think there is a lot of truth to that.
- Can you tell us a bit about your present job and the company you work for?
Ceva is the 9th largest animal health company in the world, and one of the very few such companies that limits its portfolio of products to only those addressing animal health. Ceva and its products are relatively new to North America, but the company has a presence in 40 countries world-wide.
My job as Director of Veterinary Services is to work with Ceva’s US veterinarians (Veterinary Services Managers) to provide technical support to all groups in the company, but particularly the sales and marketing departments. In this role, we train and maintain technical competency within Ceva’s rapidly expanding salesforce on an ongoing basis and serve as the professional arm of the company’s customer service support to its veterinary customers for all products. We are proud to be an important part of Ceva’s unqualified commitment to the veterinary profession.
- What is the most interesting thing about your job now?
What I find most interesting personally is the increasing focus of the company on the problem of inadequate veterinary attention for cats in the US. Even though cats are the most numerous pet species in the US today, and deserve the same preventive care and therapeutic options for disease management as their canine counterparts, cats are not receiving that same level of medical attention. This is in part because pet owners struggle with problems of transport to the veterinarian as well as stress for their felines once they arrive at their veterinary hospital.
- One of the new initiatives Ceva is sponsoring, the AAFP Cat Friendly Initiative, is focused on behavior in cats. Can you tell us why that topic is important to Ceva?
Because of the issues of cat care I just described, and because I have owned and operated my own feline-exclusive veterinary practice in the past, I am passionate about this problem. I am excited about the opportunity to partner with AAFP to improve the “cat-friendliness” of veterinary facilities and services available to this underserved species.
- The company is sponsoring Ceva, the Future Leader Dog. Can you tell us why that initiative is important to Ceva as a company?
Little “Ceva” the Leader Dog is emblematic of the commitment of the company to enriching the lives of dogs and the people who love them. In the case of this wonderful service dog, this commitment may mean the difference between a life of limitation or independence for a visually-impaired person. Ceva believes that its role in improving animal health has broad implications for humankind, and no where is that more evident than in this initiative. This Leader Dog will journey from puppyhood to its destiny as a life-changing companion and helpmate for some deserving man or woman and that will be an unqualified success!
- Are there other new programs or products at Ceva you’d like to talk about?
Parasite control products are very important. For example, the number of diseases fleas and ticks transmit continues to increase, placing both people and pets at risk. Ceva will be conducting an important consumer outreach campaign about this issue and also highlight Ceva’s Vectra brand flea and tick product, available exclusively through veterinarians, to control these parasites.
- Ceva has a corporate slogan, “Together, Beyond Animal Health.” What does that mean?
Ceva believes that to serve animals is to serve humankind. When we increase the health and welfare of the animal species that are important to the welfare of people around the globe, we fulfill the highest calling imaginable. Ceva has a vision which recognizes this interdependence of all life on this small planet, and the importance of serving the interconnected needs of the creatures that live there.
- One more question, are you a cat or a dog person " and does every veterinarian tell!
As mentioned in question #1, I have owned and enjoyed the companionship of a great many animals throughout my life. I love them all, even snakes! I have worked professionally with dogs and cats primarily, so have the most medical knowledge about those species. If pushed hard to choose one species to share my life as a shipwrecked human on a deserted island, however, I suppose I would have to choose cats. I presently have 8 of them sharing my life in Yorba Linda California. And if I behave, they have promised to let me stay!