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News and Events

MU CVM is Veterinarian’s Final Stop
in Quest for Certification

After spending five years yo-yoing between six states, Dr. Signe Plunkett says she has settled on a personal theme song – Jimmy Buffet’s “Changes in Latitude, Changes in Attitude.”

Plunkett completed a nontraditional residency May 9 after training at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine. She must still undergo a three-day exam in September, publish a paper and submit her case logs. If all goes well, she will then be board certified in veterinary emergency and critical care.

When she started down this road it was with the expectation that she would complete her residency in three years. However, when her mentor relocated from Texas A&M to a veterinary school that had no approved program, Plunkett found herself without anybody to directly supervise her residency. Refusing to give up her goal of becoming board certified, she pursued her education by spending time at multiple veterinary practices in her hometown of Phoenix, Ariz., the University of California-Davis, Texas A&M, Colorado State and a Virginia practice that specializes in cardiology. After another unexpected delay during the past year, she was able to make Columbia the last stop on her quest.

“Doctors (Tony) Mann and (Marie) Kerl were kind enough to take me for the final 11 weeks of the program and let me work with the other residents here,” she said of the MU CVM faculty who oversaw her studies while here.

Plunkett earned her DVM in 1985 at Oregon State University. She has spent the past 22 years in Phoenix, where she is the director of medicine for Emergency Animal Clinic, a 24-hour practice that includes four facilities, 20 full-time veterinarians and 85 support staff members. The 260 shareholders, including MU CVM alumnus Dr. Chris Snodgrass, are planning to expand the booming practice with three more offices.

Despite already being a seasoned emergency care veterinarian and the author of the veterinary textbook Emergency Procedures for the Small Animal Veterinarian, Plunkett said it was important to her to learn how to do her job even better.

“I thought, maybe I can make more of a difference in more people’s lives,” she said. “My main drive was gaining the additional knowledge and being able to share that knowledge with others and potentially run residency programs myself.”

And even though she experienced Missouri’s particular latitudes during a time of year that required her to learn to drive in the snow, scrape ice and buy a parka, Plunkett said she will return to Arizona with nothing but warm feelings for the Show-Me State.

“What really surprised me was how nice people are – at the stores, the airports, and at MU they are so into teaching and helping people. I had a three-week break in April and I was surprised by how much I really wanted to come back here.”

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Last Update: February 29, 2012