LAURA LEFKOWITZDVM, EMERGENCY VETERINARIAN
Laura Lefkowitz, DVM, joined WestVet in 2004. She earned an undergraduate degree at SUNY Binghamton in upstate New York and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Minnesota in 1993. She practiced preventative medicine in a five-doctor family practice in western Massachusetts for nine years.
The native New Yorker, who grew up on Long Island, says veterinary medicine appealed to her for many reasons. “It was a career that allowed me to combine my interest in biology with my desire to help people maintain happy and healthy relationships with their pets. I wanted to be in a profession where I felt like I was doing something positive for the world.” She adds, “Veterinary medicine was a perfect choice, after twenty years I still wholeheartedly love what I do.”
Early in life, Dr. Lefkowitz set a personal goal to travel and explore the world. She has spent extensive time in Africa, Asia, South America, and Europe. In 2001, she took a hiatus from veterinary medicine to embark on a one-year, around-the-world bicycle tour with her long-time companion, Andrew. It was a life changing experience. “Being immersed in so much poverty made me realize how fortunate I am to have so many options in my life. I knew I would never take them for granted again. It was one of the most difficult things I have ever done. When I returned home I knew that if I could make it through that, I could accomplish anything. It gave me the confidence to pursue a career in emergency medicine.”
The trip also influenced her medical philosophies. “It exposed me to the realities of third world health care and made me realize how important it is to tailor the medical needs of the pet with the needs of its family. Everyone’s situation is different and I try to take that into account when we formulate a plan for a pet’s care.”
Since then her adventures continued. “We have hiked in some very remote regions of the Andes, the Himalayas, and the Atlas mountains. We even climbed to a high ridge on the world’s third highest mountain, Mt. Khangchendzonga, located in northern India.” The pair also enjoys exploring the mountain ranges of Idaho.
How did they choose Boise as their home? It was a carefully planned decision. “After returning from our bicycle trip, Andrew and I wanted an area that provided both outdoor options and quality of life. Boise quickly topped our list,” she said. “We were charmed by the city of Boise as well as the friendly and easy going nature of Idahoans. We are continually fascinated by the wide diversity of landscapes and the outdoor activities that the state offers.”
“The most rewarding part of my job at WestVet is that I can relieve people’s worries when they arrive at our hospital, frightened for their pet. I like being able to offer them a multitude of options and make them understand that we can help their animal through this trauma or disease.”
Outside of her work, as an emergency veterinarian at WestVet, Dr. Lefkowitz offers a home euthanasia service for pets. “I think it is important that people have the option of saying goodbye to their pet in its familiar environment.” She is well known among hospital staff as a kind and generous person; this compassion is evident in her approach to her professional duties as well.
Arriving in Idaho, she fulfilled a life-long dream of owning a horse, something she was never able to do growing up in suburbia. She spends much of her free time with him and together they are learning the sport of dressage. “He gives me a tremendous amount of pleasure and the barn is a place where I can unwind. I have learned a lot of valuable life lessons from him.” In addition to her horse, she owns one mischievous poodle, two ornery birds, and two timid cats. She also enjoys backcountry and downhill skiing, backpacking, oil painting and writing.
Dr. Lefkowitz has been a wonderful addition to the WestVet team. Not only does she provide continuing education seminars for area veterinary professionals but she also volunteers to teach with Boise Schools Community Education.
She recently authored a short book entitled, “Did My Dog Eat A Sock? Did My Dog Eat A Rock?” which educates pet owners in a fun fashion about what happens when an animal ingests something that it shouldn’t.