Dr. Adam Christman has been making waves in the veterinary industry for years. As the Chief Veterinary Officer at MJH Life Sciences, the largest multimedia company for healthcare professionals, he is helping providers and pet owners develop deeper bonds with their furry friends, so they can provide the best possible care.
He also runs a popular YouTube channel where he gives tips on just about everything you need to know about caring for a pet. He believes having fun is the best way to educate, so you won’t find any boring CE videos here!
We recently sat down for an interview with Dr. Christman to talk about his work, his relationship with his four adorable dogs, and what we can all learn from our animals.
Scrubs Mag: You’re the Chief Vet Officer at MJH Life Sciences, overseeing a few divisions. What does a typical day look like for you?
Adam Christman: It’s a busy day in a different way! I oversee the content development, webinar creation, live event strategies, conference planning, interviewing fellow veterinary professionals and a boat load of networking calls. Our goal is to provide education to all veterinary professionals to everyone both in veterinary and tech schools and beyond.
It’s an incredible position to literally provide change to a profession that needs change and to listen to my colleagues from all over the world. Sometimes it feels like the equivalent of being in 3 exam rooms at the same time while a procedure is going on. I love it! We all have the same mission—to help animals and to savor the human-animal bond.
SM: You’re very passionate about the human-animal bond. Tell us more.
AC: I am! I truly mean that no child should be deprived of the human-animal bond. This could be a hamster, bird, dog, cat, horse, goat, etc. It teaches us to love something unconditionally and to provide a voice to the voiceless. Animals provide such joy and emotional wellbeing to humans. They protect, serve, and keep us safe from harm on so many different levels.
The human-animal bond is a connection to an animal that provides us with compassion, empathy, and heart. If we can all learn something from our pets, the world would be in an even better place!
SM: We’ve heard of animals saving human lives, or cases where the emotional bond and connection has almost been telepathic, what extraordinary cases have you seen in your career?
AC: I have worked with service dogs for years and the amount of work they do for people is incredible. One of my clients suffered a severe seizure, fell to the floor (lived by herself) and her golden retriever was able to recognize it and press the life alert button to provide the care she needed. She lived and is doing great because of her dog.
I also have been a part of children reading books to dogs. I think this is INCREDIBLE and extraordinary. Some children feel intimidated reading to other kids and people. But reading to a dog just changes everything. They don’t judge and they enjoy the attention! I have worked with the canine police dogs for years. One of my patients suffered a broken tooth from being punched by the robber. Our team performed root canal surgery on him, gave him a fancy gold tooth, and now he’s strutting around like a boss!
SM: What are some common signs your pet is trying to communicate with you?
AC: It’s all in the eyes—the window to their soul. Of course, there are other body movements such as stature, tail movement, whiskers, etc. But the eyes really tell it. Whimpering, howling, grunting, moaning can all be signs of discomfort, stress, fear, anxiety or even happiness. It all varies from the overall body position. The paw on the hand or arm gets me every time. Every now and then your dog or cat will just place their paw on you, look at you and essentially say, “I love you”. And that just does it for me.
We are their whole world. Though they may be a part of our world for a short period of time unfortunately, we literally are their whole world. We have to be able to recognize their signs of communication.
SM: A lot of healthcare workers love pets, but don’t have the time to dedicate to owning or nurturing one. What advice would you give here?
AC: Be fiscally and emotionally responsible. If they don’t have the time, then don’t get one. I strongly discourage it. It’s not fair to anyone. Do your research on breeds and types of pets. Understand their wants and needs and veterinary care. Get pet insurance. It’s non-negotiable to me.
SM: Animals can’t talk, but they communicate in other ways, what are some key ways your puppers communicate with you?
AC: My UPS driver would tell you it sounds like I have 4 great Danes living here lol. Barking, crying to go out, looking at their tail wagging to see what they need, pawing to go outside, rolling over in submissive mode, downward dog to play fetch, the list goes on.
Like I say each night on my TikTok live, if you’re a dog parent, get on the floor EVERY day with them for 5-10 minutes. It’s game on and it’s play time! It’s so much fun!
SM: What’s your favorite story ever working with an animal?
AC: That’s like asking me who’s my favorite dog lol. There are SO many. I had a 2-year-old long haired Dachshund named Cosmo that had paralysis of the back end. This is something unfortunately common in this breed, but his owners were unaware of it and failed to bring him in at the time of his initial insult.
Three days later, covered in fecal matter, with a full urinary bladder and severe pain, he came back in. His owners were unable to afford his medical care, MRI, surgery, etc. The look Cosmo gave me was a combination of “Help me, Doc” and “Rescue me, Doc”. And I couldn’t let anything happen to him. I had the owners sign him over to the hospital. I realized we had the perfect home for him… me.
Cosmo was permanently paralyzed and lived until he was 14 years of age where I expressed his bladder manually, every day, 3-4 times a day, had a cart for him, stroller and even had a custom built inground swimming pool for him to do his rehabilitation. He had the life but so did we. I learned how to never give up on my patients. Animals with disabilities are just as able to do anything else. Cosmo started my dachshund obsession. And with 4 dachshunds later, there is a little bit of Cosmo’s spirit in all of them. He was my world and my favorite patient.
Be sure to follow Dr. Christman on Instagram to get the latest updates. Not to mention all the adorable pet photos!