Alicen Tracey, DVM
Started at Den Herder Vet: 2019
Where I’m from: Monticello, Minnesota
Family: My husband, Jacob and I share our home with four fluffy family members! We’ve been married since 2017, and started dating in high school.
Past pets: I grew up on a hobby farm, and had a variety of different pets including horses, chickens, bunnies, cats, dogs, guinea pigs, a variety of different birds, gerbils, and hamsters! Each one has taught me a lot about the human-animal bond!
- Coda: Our rescued Husky-Pointer mix keeps us on our toes as an adventurer who loves to suck on his blanket, and jump in the bathtub!
- Eileen: Our rescued 3-legged kitty isn’t slowed down at all by her congenital limb deformity!
- Jefferson: Our Old English Sheepdog keeps us laughing every day.
- Weasley: Our sweet orange kitten with a love for Jefferson, and bothering Eileen.
One piece of pet advice: Remember to take photos with you and your furry friend! One day the photo may mean more to you than you remembered when taking it.
Afraid of any animals? Although I grew up on a hobby farm, I’ve had little experience with cows! I’m not truly afraid – but would love more experience with them.
Where is the farthest away from Waterloo you have ever been? Throughout vet school I had the chance to learn and teach through travel to both Belize and my furthest destination to date – Costa Rica!
How did you get interested in veterinary medicine?
I share a passion story similar to many others in the field of veterinary medicine – I’ve wanted to be a vet as long as I can remember! My mom has a story of me asking for a band-aid for a ‘friend’ when I was about eight years old – to her surprise my ‘friend’ was actually a frog!
What is the biggest lesson you have learned so far from being in practice?
Throughout school one of my greatest lessons was to “treat the animal, not the disease”. This meaning each animal is an individual, and should be seen as one–medicine, and their health care plan, should be catered to their specific needs.
What’s an unforgettable case for you and why?
When I was a student in Costa Rica, we held a free community clinic for a deserving area near a rainforest. We had a family come to us with a chihuahua who’s one eye was sticking out of his head! They were devastated, but couldn’t afford to take him to a vet or provide him with any other care – their alternative was to ‘throw him away’. And so they traveled a bit of a ways to come to our free clinic. We were able to perform an enucleation (or surgical removal of the the eye) free of charge, and were able to return him to his family with ample pain medication. I’ll never forget how grateful the family was to be able to have a few more years with their beloved little family member.
Where do you see the field going in ten years?
I’m so excited to see where veterinary medicine goes in the future! The field has already changed so much in terms of the animals that we cater to, the people engaging in this type of career, and the technological advancements that help us do our job. I see veterinary medicine becoming more similar to human medicine in that we will have more technology available to us, and more financial options available to owners (insurance, etc.).
Ever have any challenges as a pet owner?
When we adopted our big guy, Coda, he had a hard time listening outside. We graduated from ‘puppy kindergarten’ about a year ago with him, and have been a part of other dog behavior classes since then. We’re proud to say that we’ve made a lot of progress – but it’s still a learning process for our whole family!
If you weren’t a veterinarian, what job would you like to have?
I’ve never wanted to be anything else! Well, maybe Jane Goodall.
What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?
I used to be fluent in American Sign Language! I’ve become a bit rusty over the years, but have a passion with connecting with people in the deaf/hard of hearing community.
What’s something new you’ve learned recently?
I just learned how to prepare couscous!