Dr. Magnifico Had a Non-Traditional Path Before and After Vet School!

It is rare to find a veterinarian that started a blog 8+ years ago and sticks with it. Dr. Magnifico is one of those veterinarians. Not only is she a writer and contributor for many veterinary publications, but she also owns her own practice, and founded Pawbly. Pawbly is an online site that allows users to get answers from veterinary professionals about their pet.

Dr. Magnifico had a non-traditional path to vet med. Graduating from the merchant marine academy and being a merchant marine for 10 years, helped prepare Dr. Krista Magnifico for the rigorous course load that veterinary students carry. You can find all of the social media ways to get in touch with Dr. Magnifico at the end of the interview.


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If you are thinking about applying to one of the 30 US veterinary schools, they all have different requirements. Some schools require microbiology and some nutrition but a few don’t require either. This book will lay it all out for you in a comprehensive guide.  Check it out here: Veterinary Medical School Admission Requirements (VMSAR)


Name, Veterinary School attended, and year that you started.

Krista Magnifico, VMRCVM, 2001

What was your major in undergraduate college?


At what age did you first apply to vet school? 


How many schools did you apply to?


How many application cycles did you apply to, before being accepted? 


How many schools invited you for an interview? 


How many of those gave you an acceptance letter?


What was your GPA (in undergraduate)?


What was your GRE score?

I don’t recall? It was competitive with the published averages.


Did you attend grad school?


Did you have large and small animal experience, if so what kind?

I grew up with horses and worked for a mixed animal practitioner for many years. 


What types of paying jobs did you have before going to veterinary school? 

All sorts, this question is too ambiguous.  I worked for other vets. I had a career before vet school.

What was your career before attending vet school?

I was a merchant mariner officer for a private company that laid and repaired fiber-optic submarine cable in the Atlantic Ocean. I spent 10 years at sea and worked up to second in command. It was a hard life. I left it after 10 years to follow my passion and go to vet school. I had always wanted to be a vet. I just got a little sidetracked 😉

How many people read your personal statement before submitting it?


Did you volunteer? If so, where? 

Yes, lab research, wildlife rehab, vet office.


When did you decide to become a vet?

When I was 10, or so.


Did you interview any vets before starting the application process? If so how did you approach them? 

I had spent years working in the field. I knew what I was getting into. I had also applied to multiple schools before and been interviewed multiple times. I was confident in the process.


Were you a member of the pre-vet club at your school?.


Did you join student clubs in your DVM program?

No. I was an older student.


Did you apply for vet school after, or during your Bachelor’s education?

Yes.. but it was my second BS


Where did you attend your undergraduate for the first and second BS degree?

I attended the United States Merchant Marine Academy and VPI (Virginia Tech) for undergrad.  

Are you happy that you chose this career?



What makes you most happy about this career choice?

My favorite parts of being a vet are: witnessing and assisting as my patients grow through their lives. Being a part of these families and helping through both the good times and bad. Solving medical puzzles regardless of initial presentation or available resources. Making happy endings for my patients and their families even when every other option has been exhausted. Sitting with the clinic cats and dogs who wouldn’t be here if we didn’t care more than their original families did. It’s the little things of my day to day life that remind me why I chose this path and live this life. I never lose sight of what I came here to do. 


Do you have any advice for students, once accepted?

I hope they know what they are getting themselves into. The stats on this field are abysmal. There is a reason for these. Don’t be delusional and end up a statistic.

My last statement was about our suicide rate and what a terrible financial investment vet school is. Almost all vet students go in with blind ambition. They end up 10 years later still in debt and often burnt out. Many leave the profession bitter or emotionally bankrupt. I write a lot on it at my blog kmdvm.blogspot.com


Any study tips? 

Be healthy and be balanced. And for god’s sake realize you are a human. You can fail and be ok. You cannot, however, get back those four years you put your life on hold to get that A.

Have there been any classes, within your DVM program that are especially relatable to your current position?

Umm, almost all.. you need to know what they are teaching to be a good vet.

What was the most challenging class, in your DVM program?

Statistics.. pharmacology, gi, they were all challenging.

Do you have a specialty or are you working towards one?

Yes, to be kinder, more patient, more generous, and less judgemental. Which is the truth. I also want to be better and better at feline pediatrics and orthopedics.

What has been your most challenging case?

The case where I had to decide whether I was going to do what the client wanted and the law allowed, or where my patient would be best served. I knew it was a choice that might cost me my license and I did what I felt was best for my patient. I know almost every other vet who had chosen the easy path. Never surrender your heart and soul for easy. Do what you believe is right and kind. And if you don’t know which to pick between chose kind. At some point in your life, you will be tested.

Do you frequently have to research cases, on off hours?

Yes, and yes. We are all always a student of medicine.

Have you read or listened to anything worth sharing?

I am listening to MLK Jr. His sermons were provocative, inspiring, insightful, and moving. I would like to pitch a client about preventatives the way he motivated a nation.

Do you have any last words of wisdom?

Think about the long game.. the very long game… who do you want to be when you are 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, etc.

Be the vet you wanted to be at 13. Never ever make excuses as to why you cannot. You can be an advocate, a healer, and pay the bills. You just have to think outside of the box, dream bigger, and have courage. Say no almost as often as you say yes.

How can people find you?

I am everywhere.. twitter @FreePetAdvice, Facebook at Jarrettsville Vet, blog KMDVM.blogspot.com, YouTube.