Meet the NorthStar VETS team: Tammy Anderson, DVM, DACVIM


Dr. Tammy Anderson is a Veterinary Internist at NorthStar VETS. In this blog post and video below, she talks about how she got into veterinary medicine, the kinds of things she does most commonly for pets and the words her mother said to her that changed her life.

How Dr. Anderson got into Veterinary Medicine
We caught up with Dr. Anderson while she was checking on her patients. Dr. Vygantas was originally a nurse, before she found a passion for working with animals. Here is how she tells her story. “I wanted to be a veterinarian since I was a little child. People used to tease me because I would gather any kind of animals that I could. I think I’m a thwarted biologist. I went to nursing school because I admired my mother, and I was wild when I was quite young (Dr. Anderson gives a mischievous wink) and couldn’t get through vet school. After doing nursing for about five years, I decided that I really needed to go back to school. I listened to Tracy Chapman’s song, ‘If Not Now, When?’ and had my epiphany of my lifetime which was to go back to school. I went back to school while doing nursing, which was great. I still love nursing. I like working with people, and as an internist, we get to do that all the time. As corny as it sounds, I still do like helping the animals.”

“I went to school at Ohio State, then did my internship at Michigan State, then did my residency in Internal Medicine in Tennessee. New Jersey is my home, I graduated from Wall High School, so I love the people here in New Jersey.”



DSC_4379The words Dr. Anderson’s mother said to her that changed her life
Dr. Anderson has been practicing medicine for more than twenty years, specializing in Internal Medicine. She went on to tell us a powerful personal story that really touched us. “My mother became a nurse in 1959 because she wanted to work for a veterinarian down the road and she found out that he would hire a nurse in his office. She always wanted to be a veterinarian, but back then, women didn’t really go to vet school. When I graduated, during the white coat ceremony where we give our oath, I was walking down the aisle and I saw that she was weeping like a baby. Afterwards, I said, ‘Mom, what was that about?’ and she said, ‘I always wanted to be a veterinarian.’ and she never told me until I graduated. That was the first time that she told me. “

What it takes to be a veterinary internist
Dr. Anderson gave us some background on the kind of training it takes to become a veterinary internist. “Internists are people who are trained for an additional three-to-four years specifically in medicine where we deal with difficult cases. My first year of vet school, Dean Fenner said to us students, ‘Some of you are going to want to do medicine, some of you are going to want to do surgery’ and the minute he said ‘medicine,’ (medicine referring to the type of cases that are puzzles and interesting to work with) I knew I was going to be away from home longer than four years. It took me about ten because I stayed at Tennessee and did some teaching, which I very much enjoyed, but I was home-sick and wanted to spend time with my family.”

NorthStar VETS sees more than 400 cases each week. Dr. Anderson and the team at NorthStar VETS are always available to help you and your pets 24/7. Dr. Anderson gave us her final thoughts. “Here we do more than just the medicine. We do a lot of outreach, a lot of continuing education, and to me, it isn’t just a career, it’s a calling. I know that sounds very corny, but I really think it’s true. One of the benefits for me is that I really enjoy people. So being able to help pets allows us to help people. And even in a case where the outcome is terrible, you can be gentle with people, and be knowlegeable, give them information, and help them feel good about their decisions.”

“The people here are really easy to work with. My clients are great, but by the time they see me, they are really devoted to their pets as I am to mine and so I really respect the group of people that we have. Most people respect the job that we do, and I really love working with other veterinarians. I count some of them as friends and almost all of them as fond acquaintances (she gives a big smile) and that’s really important to me as well.” Dr. Anderson will continue to provide world-class veterinary care to her patients.


Learn more about the Internal Medicine service at NorthStar VETS

Tammy Anderson, DVM, DACVIMTammy Anderson, DVM, DACVIM
Dr. Anderson is a New Jersey native who received her veterinary medical degree from Ohio State University in 1995. She completed her small animal internship at Michigan State University in 1996, and her residency in small animal internal medicine at the University of Tennessee in 1999. She remained at UT as an assistant professor of small animal medicine until 2001, when she returned to New Jersey and entered private practice. Dr. Anderson joined NorthStar VETS in 2004.

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