Meet the NorthStar VETS Team: Raphael Vezina-Audette, DVM, MSc


Raphael Vezina-Audette, DVM, MSc (practice limited to anesthesia) is a doctor in the Anesthesiology service at NorthStar VETS. In this video and blog post below, he talks about his international training in veterinary medicine, how what he does makes pets safer, and the challenges of working in a busy hospital.

Dr. Vezina’s International Path to Veterinary Anesthesiology
We caught up with Dr. Vezina, who was helping in a few surgeries. Dr. Vezina works with the Anesthesiology team at NorthStar VETS, and he has experience practicing medicine at a variety of different places. “Before pursuing my degree in veterinary medicine, I did undergraduate and master’s studies at McGill University in Montreal. During my master’s degree, I volunteered part time at an Exotics animal hospital in Montreal. That’s where I ultimately decided I wanted to become a veterinarian. I started veterinary school at the University College in Dublin, Ireland. After a year, I transferred into the second-year class at the University of Montreal and finished my veterinary training there. I worked for about a year as a general practitioner in Montreal, and then after that I started a residency in anesthesia at the University of Pennsylvania.”

_MG_1008How Anesthesiologists Make Pets Safer
Veterinary anesthesiology is the administering and monitoring of anesthesia to patients, and Dr. Vezina’s job requires him to consult on multiple cases throughout the hospital. “I go around from one case to the next and help the veterinary nurses with their cases that are undergoing anesthesia. That includes surgical procedures, imaging procedures and even diagnostic procedures that may be done on a veterinary patient. I help them elaborate anesthetic protocols based on the specific patient’s needs, so as to offer the safest anesthetic possible. I also help guide our nurses who are learning the practice of veterinary anesthesia as to what the best practices are and help them practice veterinary anesthesia according to the state of the art.”

The Challenges of Working in a Busy Hospital
NorthStar VETS can often have three or more surgeries being performed simultaneously, and Dr. Vezina must work closely with nurses to ensure that all patients are well cared for. “The nurses keep me informed on the developments during a case from one minute to the next, and we also have all of the cases of the day displayed on an Operating Room board that is continuously updated. With the help of the anesthesia nurses and the surgeons, we keep track of all the cases that are going simultaneously, but it definitely is one of the main challenges for veterinary anesthesiologists in a busy hospital like NorthStar VETS. With that said, we are able to keep a pulse on everything that is going on.” Dr. Vezina looks forward to working more with the team at NorthStar VETS to help provide world-class care to his patients. “Emergency doctors and the specialists have all been really nice to work with. The intensity of the caseload is something with which I am quite happy. There is never a boring day here at NorthStar VETS! I am constantly busy with cases and the medicine evolves practically on a daily basis. There is new research that comes out that we have to keep up to date with, and that’s very important to me.”

Learn more about the pain management clinical trial in which Dr. Vezina is participating.

Raphael Vezina-Audette, DVM, MSc (practice limited to anesthesia)
Raphael Vezina was born in Montreal, Quebec and lived in Mexico, Brazil and Ireland. Dr. Vezina attended McGill University and graduated in 2007 with a Bachelors of Science degree (Anatomy and Cell Biology) and in 2009 with a Masters of Science degree (Biology). He attended the University of Montreal, School of Veterinary Medicine from 2010-2014. Immediately after graduating veterinary school, Dr. Vezina worked in private practice in Montreal for a year. Then, Dr. Vezina pursued a residency veterinary anesthesia in Philadelphia, PA at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Veterinary Medicine with Dr. Bernd Driessen as his program director. Dr. Vezina completed his residency before joining Northstar VETS in August of 2018.

Dr. Vezina’s professional interests include pain management and locoregional anesthesia.

Dr. Vezina currently lives in Philadelphia with his fiance Eva, their dog Henri and their cat Edouard. In his free time, Dr. Vezina enjoys trail hiking, traveling and playing board games with friends and family.

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